By RITA DUCKWORTH
Amy Kempfer got a job at a bank while in college at Oregon State University. A native of Belleville, she returned home to finish her business degree at Lindenwood University. She has been in the banking industry ever since. She is now senior branch manager of Associated Bank’s Fairview Heights Branch. She also champions small-business banking for the eight Associated branches that comprise the Southern Illinois Community Market.
“I’ve been in banking for 18 years and have held pretty much every position within the bank,” Kempfer said. “I started as a teller and worked my way up.” She has been a branch manager for 11 years and joined Associated in 2016.
She has seen banking go from being a predominantly male-driven career path to one that is more inclusive to women.
“I see it in the number of female managers,” she says. “Associated holds everyone to the same standards and empowers all of us to be our best. I believe the clients benefit from the variety of personalities and viewpoints of the men and women here. It’s good to have that healthy mix.”
In her role as branch manager, Kempfer leads a team of nine employees.
“Part of my job is to help them prepare for the next steps in their banking careers,” she said.
Her role as a mentor extends to her customers, too.
“I love the educational aspect of my job,” she said. “I enjoy engaging with my clients and helping them reach their goals. We get out into the community and work with employers and their employees to help them improve their financial picture.”
Associated Bank is headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., but is dedicated to giving back to the local communities where its branches are located. Giving back is a sentiment shared by Kempfer and her colleagues.
“Volunteering is exactly how I like to spend my free time, so it’s perfect for me,” she says. “We’re able to do the things we love while getting the bank’s name out there with businesses and nonprofits in the community.”
Amy lives in Smithton, Ill., with her husband and two daughters. She is a longtime volunteer for many local events and outreach efforts. Last year, she helped chair the Alzheimer’s Walk for which Associated Bank was a major benefactor. She is the treasurer of Fairview Heights’ annual Midwest Salute to the Arts and a board member of the Metro East Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Associated Bank is serious about encouraging work/life balance for all its employees.
“It’s fantastic. All of us – women and men – benefit. Whether you coach a little league team, help at school or are involved in a charity, you are supported,” she said.