How long have you been with First Option Bank?
I have worked at First Option for 19 years!
Why did you originally join?
I had worked for a number of credit unions and was working for Cuscal* plus doing some extra casual work for First Option. My supervisor asked me if I would be interested in a full-time role with First Option and I jumped at the chance.
What changes have you seen in the banking industry?
I have seen many changes over the years since starting out! My first job was at ANZ Bank at North Melbourne as a batching clerk and teller. The computers were slow and small and everything was processed manually. I started a family and wanted to work part time and I saw an advertisement in the paper and I got a job with Piccol Credit Union. From there I haven’t looked back. I loved the philosophy of credit unions, of member owned banking and their not-for-profit goals. I worked for different credit unions, like Macaulay Credit Co-op and Advantage Credit Union (now Great Southern Bank) as my role changed from Bank Teller to Member Service Officer. Now my job involves a lot of digital work, but I am mainly on the phones; helping our members process transactions, educating them on our products and services and problem-solving with them when things go wrong. The main changes I have seen compared to when I started my career are in compliance and online security, and reporting!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being on the phone, talking to members, helping them and spending time getting to know them.
What’s the best experience you’ve had at work?
The best thing about working in financial services are the members, when I receive a call and build a rapport with them, I feel the mutual respect without judgement and the compassion which is so important at the moment when things are hard for most of us. My First Option Bank colleagues are also a highlight, we are reliable, professional and highly experienced at what we do, and as a team we want to help First Option Bank grow and we want to provide the best service and banking products in the market.
What is the strangest thing you have had to do at work?
The strangest request I ever had was from a member when I was asked to deliver something to their house on my way home from work because they lived not far from my place!
You’re working remotely because of COVID lockdowns, what are the benefits and frustrations of working from home?
The main benefit is that we are not exposed to the virus and we are keeping safe at home. I do like not having to put up with traffic or public transport, especially road works and rushing to get to work on time! One of the frustrations is learning to live with digital technology as our primary way of communicating. But it is good to still be able to provide members with the best professional products and services safely from home using our work computers and work phones, that is amazing.
*Cuscal is the ‘wholesale’ financial services provider that First Option banks with.