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IBA Member Spotlight: Katelin George

George: Banking Is Building Community

Katelin2Katelin George had no intention of building a career in banking as she received a degree in general chemistry. “A friend of mine who worked at Malvern Bank connected me with the bank,” she said. “What ultimately drove me to fully commit to banking was my passion for building community.”

George, a graduate from Northwest Missouri State, has the role of human resources and marketing manager for Malvern Bank. Her responsibilities include talent management, benefits administration, training and development, internal relations, public relations, marketing campaigns, product implementation, and branding.

What drove you to choose a career in banking?

I had no intention of building a career in banking. Shortly after college, my husband and I moved to a small town and I quickly realized that my passion was to build and support community. I eventually left the chemistry field to work for a variety of small, locally-owned businesses and become more involved in philanthropic efforts.

I started a side-gig to assist small businesses with their social media presence and marketing efforts. A friend of mine who worked at Malvern Bank connected me with the bank, where I was initially hired as a “marketing and technology specialist.” I worked part-time at the bank for more than 2 years, during which I learned a lot about the banking industry. I learned that community banking is about so much more than credit cards and interest rates. It is about teaching youth important financial literacy lessons, helping entrepreneurs start small businesses, and partnering with local organizations who make the community a great place to live.

I eventually transitioned to full time at Malvern Bank in January of 2022 when I added HR to my title. I loved working with the various small businesses, but what ultimately drove me to fully commit to banking was my passion for building community. Malvern Bank’s tagline is literally “We Build Community.” I get to build community, both through our internal bank family and the greater Malvern community every single day, and I get paid to do it! What could be better?

Describe one life experience that taught you a lesson you apply to your banking career.

In my early 20s, I did a lot of clean water work in Haiti. This opened my eyes to the diverse perspectives we all have on the world due to our unique life experiences. I try very hard to bring that empathy with me to work every day. My interactions are primarily with fellow team members, but I believe all bankers practice empathy daily when working with a wide variety of customers.

What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?

I have been with Malvern Bank since 2019, and I still struggle to label myself as a banker because when you look at my daily responsibilities, none of them are banking specific. But then again, maybe that’s why I can speak so highly of the banking field. My skillset could transfer to almost any other industry, but I actively choose to stay at Malvern Bank because I can’t imagine having nearly the impact that I do today in any other industry. There are very few people in 2023 who do not rely on their bank every single day, multiple times a day. Knowing that our customers can rely on our services to work and make their lives easier, and being even a small part of that, truly makes me feel as though I am making a difference. And when you work at a bank whose values of giving back and building up others align with your own, it becomes a very meaningful career.

How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?

I cannot speak highly enough of the Iowa Bankers Association and how much easier my job has been thanks to the IBA. A few examples include:

  • Peer Groups — Having no experience in human resources prior to my current role, the HR Peer Group through the IBA has been absolutely crucial to my success in my first year and a half in HR. Every Malvern Bank employee who is a member of an IBA peer group can speak to how beneficial these groups are in our roles.
  • Compliance Hotline — Bank marketing and compliance requirements can be incredibly overwhelming and confusing, but the IBA compliance team answers my questions in terms that are understandable and easily implemented.
  • Continuing Education — The IBA’s conferences are second to none. Regardless of the topic, I always leave feeling motivated, educated and eager to implement what I learned. As a bank, we tend to send multiple employees to every relevant conference, forum and school. They are affordable, timely, great for networking, highly informative and truly enjoyable!
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?

I am a national parks enthusiast, a dog-lover and an avid reader. I love to travel, visit new places and try new foods. I enjoy golfing, hiking, bird-watching, gardening and simply being outdoors as often as possible.

What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

— Mahatma Gandhi