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 United way

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Community Bank & Trust an environment of trust, respect

KARRIS GOLDEN newsroom@wcfcourier.com

Read article on the WCF Courier Website Here

Sep 1, 2019

WATERLOO — When Kara Shugar-Davis refers to her Community Bank & Trust family, she means more than a group of people who share in good times.

“My father passed away in 2018,” she explained. “Not only did (CB&T) give me time off work, Stacey Bentley and the executive management was at the funeral. ... The management also worked with the other branches to cover my branch so my employees could come to support me.”

That support system is integral to the bank’s culture, said Laurel Thompson.

“Leadership encourages a positive environment of collaboration and sharing of ideas to better serve the clients,” she said. “The interactions among co-workers and clients builds relationships, which is what life is truly all about.”

The mutual respect and caring environment have created a lively and inviting workplace, Brandy Higuera explained.

“I have never worked anywhere else where I actually love going to work every day,” she said.

The bank emphasizes community engagement, customer service and professional development, said Stacey Bentley, president and CEO.

“We’re very proud of our community engagement,” said Bentley. “We believe we have to give back to keep this a thriving community.”

Throughout the Cedar Valley, CB&T employees contribute more than 1,000 hours of service to a variety of organizations and charities.

“The ‘Community’ in CB&T is what makes the organization great,” said Thompson. “Involvement in the Cedar Valley communities is encouraged through volunteer projects. Getting involved in the community while at work is great.”

This involvement includes a thriving relationship with the bank’s Partner in Education, Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence, said Bentley. Employees read to students, serve as journal partners, assist with the Northeast Iowa Food Bank’s backpack program at the school, and much more.

In addition, CB&T employees have marked 100% participation in the Cedar Valley United Way campaign for more than 20 years.

But perhaps the biggest testament to the bank’s community focus is its $4 million investment in the city’s downtown.

In October 2017, the bank completed the extensive renovations to its building on Commercial Street. The project reinforced the structure, pushed out the building’s walls, and added a second floor.

“Our clients love it,” said Bentley. “We have people who tell us they started banking with us because we made the investment in downtown Waterloo.”

The project has helped with employee recruitment, too.

“The prettiest view is from our break room — that great Waterloo skyline,” said Bentley.

In addition to a great building and competitive compensation package, the bank also offers excellent benefits and perks, said Rachel Jaynes. This includes encouraging employees to balance work and life and allowing room to manage unexpected personal emergencies.

CB&T also makes a significant investment in its employees through cross-training, feedback sessions with supervisors and Bentley, and professional development opportunities, said nominators.

“We as employees get great feedback from managers and supervisors as well as other co-workers on a job well done and aspects where we can better ourselves,” said Rachel Fettkether.

The bank offers a formal mentoring program and a 30-day sabbatical for employees with at least 10 years of service to CB&T.

“The sabbatical is a complete lock-out from the bank, and it’s a time for the employee to complete their bucket-list goal. Then they share their experiences when they return,” said Bentley. “As more employees share about their sabbaticals, this is becoming more real to employees. It’s been such a great program.”

In the next year and for many more to come, Bentley’s focus will be on discovering the full depth of what employees have to offer. She will meet one on one with staff members to talk about their talents and skills.

It has benefited the bank’s employees and customers in the past, Bentley explained. Two employees demonstrated a gift for working with older clients and party planning. They were given free range to start a special group for customers aged 55 and older, and it was a huge success.

“I know there’s more of that that I need to uncover,” said Bentley. “If someone likes plants or painting, … how can we leverage that in our bank? Those are the things I want to work on. Employees will feel more connected and valued, and it will enhance our clients’ experiences, too.”