(Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a new series that chronicles the lives and employment of service workers in the Gunnison Valley.)
Everyone is guilty of going on a shopping spree.
You see something you like, you have to have it, and it’s on sale! Of course, after indulging your every desire, you have to face an alarming bank statement that leaves you wondering where all your money went.
There’s likely no one who understands this situation better than Jenny Staples, who works as a bank teller at Gunnison Bank and Trust.
Staples, who has worked at the bank for the past four years, said she was hesitant to apply initially. However, helping community members with their finances is now one of her favorite parts of the job.
Staples is best known in the bank for her infectious laugh and sweet smile. She says her calm demeanor is key to providing customer service in an industry that can sometimes be stressful.
“Life’s hard enough,” said Staples. “If I can have them leave with a smile, then I feel happy.”
For Staples, being a teller sometimes feels like being a counselor. Helping people figure out their finances can mean soothing customers to calm the situation — even for something as silly as a shopping spree gone too far.
“Part of my job is getting to know that customer so that when they come in, I can make the transaction as easy as possible,” she explained.
Staples says there’s much involved in keeping banking services streamlined. Her dayto-day responsibilities could include dealing with deposits and loan payments, cashing checks, issuing savings withdrawals, selling cashier's checks or exchanging foreign currencies.
But dealing with deposits and cashing checks all while answering finance-related customer questions requires near constant focus — and that can be stressful sometimes.
“I don’t think people always realize what we do for them to make everything as smooth as possible,” said Staples.
Accurately documenting the flow of funds can take time as well, she added.
“And it’s not magic — there is a process to things,” said Staples.
Another aspect of the job includes assisting customers of all ages with their financial questions — especially younger customers who may be opening their first account or who have a banking-related question.
Of course, there’s a difference between a bank teller and a financial advisor, but Staples stresses the importance of understanding the basics — like how to fill out a deposit slip.
“They’re just starting their life, not sure how to handle their money,” she said.
Even with the ease of new technology such as online banking, Staples said she prefers the old-fashioned way of tracking funds.
“Ledgers are a lost art,” said Staples.
While the practice may seem old-school, there is a benefit in maintaining greater awareness of spending habits, said Staples.
A Gunnison native, Staples has stayed largely in the valley with her husband, Dave, who’s also originally from Gunnison. She’s worn a variety of hats over the years. She worked for the Gunnison Airport, as a gardener and in cleaning services. But the bank provides a special kind of satisfaction.
“I love it here, I’m so lucky,” she said.
She also has two sons — Rusty and Brendan — each of whom also live and work in the valley.
“And I’m a mom — that’s really my favorite job,” she smiled.
(Kate Gienapp can be reached at 970.641.1414 or email@example.com .)