From time to time in our screen-saturated lives, we need help addressing a technology problem. But how likely is it that on the other end of the help desk you find a local professional who is ready and willing to make your life easier?
It’s standard operating procedure at Bank of St. Francisville, where Electronic Banking Officer Tanya Arbuthnot brings a personal touch to digital troubleshooting. Sure, it defies the global norm, but the bank’s mission, says Tanya, is to maintain a sense of community in every business interaction.
Tanya moved to St. Francisville 24 years ago after her husband, Ellis, convinced her to relocate to his hometown. “St. Francisville felt like home fast, and that feeling has only grown over the years,” Tanya says. “A 10-minute trip to the grocery store usually turns into an hour because you bump into someone you haven’t seen for a while. And by “awhile” I mean a few days.”
We spent a few minutes with Tanya to find out more about her 12-year career with BSF, how electronic banking has evolved and the one activity that defines her family’s weekends.
Where did you grow up?
Edwards, Mississippi. It’s a small town of about 1,000 people to the east of Vicksburg.
What do you love most about St. Francisville?
What most people around the country would call a family gathering, I call “everyday.” I live in an area surrounded by my husband’s family, and it’s nothing for my mother-in-law and I to meet under the tree between our houses and have lunch.
How did you get into electronic banking?
I was on the path to law school when I met my husband, Ellis, and we moved to St. Francisville. I decided to switch careers and went back to school to study accounting. That’s when I got into banking. I joined BSF in May 2006 first as a teller, then moved to Accounts Payable. As electronic banking grew and became a big internal priority, I was asked to take on managing that part of our customer service. It’s been great. We have the best customers in the world, and it’s been so satisfying to help them use our safe, convenient e-banking products.
So it’s really you who answers the phone and gives each person one-on-one support?
Yes! I talk them through whatever is going on. I get to know my customers just like they’re regulars in a restaurant. I understand their needs and their routines, and I talk to many of them once a week. Banking is a huge part of someone’s daily life, and if they have trouble with logging on or using our mobile app, I want to hear about it. I want to resolve that issue.
How have BSF’s electronic banking services evolved?
We have everything that a customer would ever need for secure and convenient banking from anywhere. When our products first came out, it was no surprise that they appealed to young people -- online and mobile banking are natural fits for millennials. But now, as younger people have taught their parents and grandparents how to use these products, older customers have really embraced them. They find them easy and convenient. They can deposit checks, check their accounts and pay bills from their travels. It doesn’t hold them back or control their schedules. And they also recognize how safe it is.
What’s a typical weekend like for you?
It’s all about cooking. My mother-in-law, my daughter, my husband’s aunt and I all live in the area and we take turns cooking. Every weekend, we find out who’s cooked and we gather over at their house. Sometimes we’ve all cooked! My daughter is an expert with seafood fettucine, my mother-in-law does etouffée, soups and gumbos and my husband’s aunt is known for breads. I’m all about desserts, especially homemade banana pudding – the kind you stir on the stove. No shortcuts.
What do you like most about your job?
I don’t actually call it a job because it doesn’t feel like work. I love doing what I do. All day, I’m on the phone, or making face-to-face calls, making sure my customers are doing okay. You can make lifelong friends in this business because you really have a chance to care about people and make a difference in their lives.
What’s on your personal bucket list?
When our kids were younger, we did a lot of traveling in the region because we felt it was important for them to know something about the part of the country they’re from. Now that they’re older – our youngest just graduated from high school – we want to do more international travel. I’d love to see China, go on an African safari and go back to Ireland, which I’ve seen and loved.