my job


“I’m not a job-jumper,” Tom Arnold said. “If it needs to be fixed, let’s fix it. I don’t want to run away from a situation.” Arnold has had just two full-time jobs in the past 25 years: “From US Bank to here. I was there twelve and a half years, and this is my 13th year coming up at Bremer.”

Arnold has had just one job interview, at what was then called FirstBank. “The gentleman was an old teammate from Junior Achievement,” Arnold recalled. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get you a job.’”

Arnold was sent to a branch where all the team members were women. “They said, ‘You’re going to hire a guy?’,” Arnold recalled. After the merger that created US Bank, Arnold said, “I didn’t like the climate. It was less people-interactive.” One of his bosses had moved to Bremer and had said, “If you ever need a job, call me up.” Arnold made the call, and the following Monday was told, “We’ve got a job for you.”

“I like Bremer because you can talk to your people. I think that’s why we stand out. Banks are basically all the same. I think it’s the people you interact with that make each bank a little bit different,” Arnold said. “There was a woman who used to come in. There was only one time she ever overdrew her account. She came in crying. She said, ‘I’m so embarrassed. What can I do?’ We had her sit down with a banker, and they got it all straightened out. Then we gave her a hug.”

What is your typical workday like?

I start 6:45 a.m. I get coffee and change the dates on the calendars, make sure the place looks presentable. I open up the shades at 7 a.m. to get ready for people to come in. I process the night drop. An armored car takes envelopes out of the ATM, and I count it to make sure they’re all there. Then I process ATM envelopes before the courier comes in the morning. Starting at 9 a.m., I wait on customers. If there are no customers, I have things to review: e-mail on regulations and updates to the system, answering phone calls, shredding. I also take care of ordering supplies — plates, paper, anything we use within the bank. I back up the supervisor to order money for the following day.

How have things changed in your 25 years in banking?

Traffic was heavier. Things are slower in the branch. Now you’ve got the telephone, the home computer, the ATM. But a lot of people like that one-on-one communication. They like the paper. They feel comfortable with it.

What are the challenges?

Some customers are great. Other customers are on the phone all the time, and you’re trying to communicate with them. You still have to be pleasant. Sometimes languages are a challenge. You just have to listen a little harder. If they see you’re trying hard, they do too. Every once in a while you get a customer who’s just doggone angry. We’re good about supporting each other. Another CSA will try to put a different spin on the answer or give better advice. I want to know the customer feels like their question has been answered. I don’t want them to leave confused. □