"It's all about people!": Q&A with Jo Kinsey About Retail Banking
It's been an exciting year for me so far! After joining Country Club Bank in January as the director of marketing, it's been something of a whirlwind these past couple of months as I have learned the ins and outs, and got to know all of the exceptional people we have here at the bank.
What's really impressed me so far is the dedication of the Country Club Bank associates to the community and to our clients. A lot of companies say they're committed to customer service, but these people really live it every day. I definitely made the right choice when I joined the team.
One person who truly exemplifies that level of service is Jo Kinsey, our executive vice president of Retail Banking. Jo oversees 110 bankers, tellers and managers across all of our locations, and she's been with the bank since 2004. When she's not here, she loves to travel. In fact, she recently realized her goal of traveling to see the Ryder Cup and the British Open, and most Sundays she can be found singing in the choir at the Bonner Springs United Methodist Church.
I recently sat down with Jo to learn more about her background and the Country Club Bank philosophy.
You have so much experience in banking...how long have you been in the industry?
Basically all my life. I was born into a banking family, so I grew up with my grandfather in the bank—from the time I was 12 years old and working in the bank after school. I learned it’s all about people, and it’s all about relationships. People bank with people; people don’t bank with banks. I've carried that with me all my career. You can go open a checking account at any bank in town, but the service provided as a byproduct of that is why you stay.
After so many years, what keeps you in banking?
The ability to help people in a meaningful way—helping people buy their first home, helping people buy a first car, helping people refinance a mortgage, helping people get a home equity loan to make improvements. It’s gratifying that if you can sit down and have a conversation – a meaningful conversation – and uncover the needs they have, then you’re helping them in those areas. And what keeps me, personally, in retail banking is growing and developing young people, and trying to impart the same passion for this – for helping people – that I have.
How do you do that?
I think it’s all in celebrating successes. It's also a management philosophy that you hire right, and if you hire the right person, you coach. And by coaching I mean finding people doing things right and celebrating those successes. If you do that and you have that culture instilled – particularly in retail banking – young people respond.
You mentioned that a person can get a checking account at really any bank. What sets Country Club Bank apart from the other banks in town?
I think it’s the fact we’re local and family-owned, and we have a philosophy that not only do we treat our associates as family, but we like to treat our clients as if they’re part of our family. I have a saying I tell my tellers and bankers: "The front door of our financial center shouldn’t be any different than the front door of our home." How would you welcome someone into your home?
So how does that change how you interact with clients?
We like to know our clients. When a client is in our presence, we like to know them by name. We like to engage them in a conversation about themselves, getting to know them as people, getting to understand their needs and wants. And only when we have that information are we then recommending products and services that meet those needs and wants.
If they come in and ask for a checking account, we’re not just saying, "Great, we’ll give you a checking account." We hit the pause button and say, "We’re so glad you chose Country Club Bank. Before we talk about checking accounts, can we talk a little bit about you, other financial institutions you’ve used, what you liked and what you didn’t like? And let me get a better idea of your needs and wants before we decide what type of checking account you might need." I like to think that’s what differentiates us from other banks.
Give me an example of an associate really treating the client like part of the family.
Oh, I have so many stories I could tell! In fact, we have regular recognition ceremonies to highlight those associates who truly go above and beyond. One example that comes to mind is from one of our branch locations. One of our clients suffers from a form of dementia as well as Parkinson's, and she's often forgetful and has problems communicating. She recently sent a thank-you letter to one of the branch associates, who had taken time to write out – and even color-code – instructions for her regarding her new account, and even followed up with emails and phone calls. The client wrote, "She always makes me feel as if she has all the time in the world for me."
In this hurried-up world we live in, that kind of personal attention is often hard to come by, but I'm proud to say this is the type of service our people offer every single day. And that makes me really proud to work with them.
I'm guessing you don't lose many clients!
We don’t! In fact, when I joined Country Club Bank, I was coming off three years at a large national bank, and before that 25 years with a holding company in Nebraska much like this. The industry standard for excellence in client retention is at 80 percent. When Former Chairman Byron Thompson and I were having a conversation, I was sharing that with him because part of my management philosophy is that people operate better if they have goals they’re trying to hit.
So we were setting a client retention goal, and I was talking to him about the 80 percent. And he said, "Oh, no, Jo, that won’t work for Country Club Bank." So I asked him, "What were you thinking?" And he said, "At least 90." I kind of took a deep breath, but I will tell you we've met and exceeded that goal every year I’ve been here!
Part of a Strong Team
Jo's words are so inspiring to me, and she reinforced my belief that I joined the right team—a team built on the strength of its people, and one completely devoted to the community and its clients. I'm excited to be part of Country Club Bank, and I'm eager to introduce more of our tremendous associates through the blog in the coming months!
A K-State alum, Marla Youk has worked many years herself in the banking industry throughout the Midwest. She now serves as a senior vice president and the director of marketing for Country Club Bank. Tweet to her @CountryClubBank or share your thoughts on the Facebook page!