Customer Focus Drives Staines to Success
Jennifer Staines has a great appreciation for customers and works hard to make sure she provides a service they find valuable. “We work with our customers during times of celebrations, during times of trials and through everyday life, but how we treat them determines if they keep coming back and trusting us to take care of their needs,” she said.
While Staines has worked in several areas at First Bank, she says her current role as trust officer in the wealth management and trust division is her favorite. “The rewards of working in banking go beyond collecting a paycheck,” she said. “It’s humbling and rewarding to have customers who specifically ask for me and who ask about my kids and family.”
Where did you attend college/what degree(s) have you obtained?
I attended Iowa Western Community College and have an Associate of Science degree in accounting — business mid-management. I have also attended Cannon Financial Institute’s personal trust school and obtained the American Bankers Association’s Certified Trust & Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation. I enjoy attending webinars, seminars and conferences put on by both the IBA and the Iowa Trust Association as I’m a firm believer in continuing education for both professional and personal growth.
What drove you to choose a career in banking?
My career in banking began with applying for a job opening in Ida Grove, where my husband was working in engineering after we were first married. There weren’t many jobs that became available in Ida Grove at that time, so I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to work in the same town as my husband and no longer have a commute to work. After six years of working for United Bank of Iowa, we relocated to Waverly, and I have worked for First Bank for the past 21 years. Banking wasn’t anything that I pursued, but it’s a career that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve worked in several different areas of banking with wealth management and trust being my favorite as no two days are ever the same. I enjoy working with and getting to know our clients.
What is one lesson working in the banking industry has taught you, and how do you apply it to your everyday life?
Be kind and treat others as you would want to be treated. I am employed because of our customers. It is my goal to treat them with kindness, respect, compassion, honesty and understanding. I want to be sure I’m providing superior customer service so that I can continue to serve our customers’ needs but also so I can get to know them on a personal level. We work with our customers during times of celebrations, during times of trials and through everyday life, but how we treat them determines if they keep coming back and trusting us to take care of their needs.
What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?
Banking offers such a diverse range of career opportunities that are rewarding in many different ways. Our customers share with us their joys and celebrations along with trials and sorrows, but they do so because of the relationships we’ve built with them. A job is something you go to in order to collect a paycheck, but a career is something you go to because you enjoy the work, along with the relationships built with customers and co-workers. The rewards of working in banking go beyond collecting a paycheck. It’s humbling and rewarding to have customers who specifically ask for me and who ask about my kids and family. Banking is about relationships, serving others and investing in your community.
How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?
The IBA has served as a great resource for me for training, networking and education. When we take the time to educate ourselves on products, services and regulations, it makes us better employees who are able to serve our customers with the confidence and knowledge needed to get them the products and services to benefit them. The IBA is a benefit to our bank through the quality resources it provides.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?
Outside of work, I enjoy reading, gardening, listening to podcasts, spending time with family and hiking in Colorado with my husband whenever we get the chance. We have three adult kids, and I find it relaxing to spend time with them while helping with their house projects.
What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?
“There is no such thing as perfection, only improvement.”
— Marsha Hinds
“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
— Mary Tyler Moore
You will never experience personal growth if you fear taking chances.