Alice Kent Interview:
This is file 8, cycle 3. This is Jean McMillen. Today’s date is Nov. 15, 2017. I am interviewing Alice Kent. She is going to talk about her career at Salisbury Bank and Trust. But first we will start with the genealogical information.
JM:What is your name?
JM:What is your birthdate?
AK:July 7, 1949
JM:Where were you born?
JM:What were your parents’ names?
AK:Clyde Murlin Campbell and Dorothy R, Campbell
JM:Do you have siblings?
AK:I do. I have 2 living and 2 that are deceased. Philip and Regina are living: Alan and Victoria are not.
JM:How did you come to the area?
AK:My husband got a job at Bicron Electronics in Canaan, Ct. in 1972.
JM:When did you start working at Salisbury Bank & Trust?
AK:January 28, 1985. I started part time two days a week as a teller.
JM:Who hired you?
JM:Was he willing to let you have flex time?
AK:He was extremely generous with flex time because I didn’t want to work unless my children were in school. I could leave for work after my children left for school and I was able to leave work by 3:30. I only worked when school was in session.
JM:Then it really was flex time and this was back before it was the norm.
AK:It was very generous.
JM:How many bank presidents have you work for?2.
AK:I started with Jack Rogers one day a week when my daughter was 2 in 1976. Jack Rogers was President then.
JM:Who was next?
AK:Tuck Cunningham, then John Perotti, and now Rick Cantele.
JM:You have been through several. When you started what was your job?
AK:I was a teller.
JM:What was your career path through the bank?
AK:After being a teller. When I started working 4 days a week, I worked in Deposit Operations 2 day and as a teller 2 days. After that I became Manager of the Salisbury office.
JM:What does Deposit Operations mean?
JM:When did you become a branch manager?
AK:I became a branch manager in 1997.
JM:Have you always been in the Salisbury branch?
AK:As branch manager, yes, but when I was working 1 or 4 days a week I worked in Lakeville and then at the end Salisbury 2 days a week.
JM:What does a branch manager do?
AK:You oversee the tellers that are working in the branch. You open accounts, at the beginning you would make loans and basically overseeing that the operations of the bank ran smoothly.
JM:Did you have anything to do with the ATM machine?
AK:Yes, everyone in the office knew how to balance the ATM.
JM;Do teller still have to balance their drawer at the end of the day?
JM:When did you retire from the bank?
AK:I retired on Oct. 28, 2011.
JM:As you moved up in the banking system, I assume you got more and more responsibility?
JM:Did you like that responsibility or was it daunting?
AK:At the beginning it was a little daunting, but I liked it. I had worked in an office, there were 3 of us so it was more of a …I never felt like I was above the people; we all worked together. It was a team effort. We all did everything. I always worked with good people.
JM:How has the bank changed over the years?
AK:It has changed in the sense that it has grown quite a bit. When I first started working there was the Salisbury office and the Lakeville office, then Sharon office was added. We merged with Canaan National Bank and acquired 2 offices. They built other offices in Massachusetts. Since I have left, they have merged with a bank in New York State.
JM:I think rick said they have 14 branches now in 3 states. That is a lot.
AK:It has; it has grown quite a bit, but being in the Salisbury office which is kind of the center of the community, I always felt we were able to maintain that small town feeling.
JM:It is not like going into a huge bank in New York State. You know the local people and that makes a difference.
AK:Things have changed overall just because more things are done online so there is less customer contact. More people are doing their banking on line. We still in Salisbury had a lot of customer contact, but on the whole, we had a lot of people that do not have a reason to come into a bank.
JM:I still like to go into the bank. Do you remember when the Salisbury branch was remodeled?
AK:I am guessing about 10 years ago.
JM:Did you like the renovation?
AK:Yes it made it much more accessible for everyone. Being able to go through the bank and get to the back, it opened up the bank.
JM:I think you said there was a seating area where you could sit and read the paper or have a cup of coffee.
AK:Yes, it was much more user friendly. I think one of the goals of the Salisbury Bank was to make it a center of the community where people would feel comfortable. They could come in even for just a cup of coffee. I think we were able to do that.
JM:When I used that branch I always felt very comfortable. With the Lakeville branch, it is a little more formal.
AK:Each branch has its own personality.
JM:Have there been more regulations over the years?4.
AK:Oh yes It is a lot more regulated now. It seems that everything was regulated. Every time something happened that shouldn’t have happened in banking, they put more regulation on us.
JM:That is tough when you know the people to have to say “You have to do such and such.” Even though you know they are going to pay the loan back or whatever. It is also uncomfortable for the customers.
AK:It can be. The regulations are there for a reason. It is sometimes when you have a new teller and they don’t know the people. You try to explain that when you are asked for ID it is not that they don’t believe that you are who you say you are, we just want to make sure we are giving the money to the proper person. I think in this day and age with more scams you really do have to be careful.
JM:Is there anything that I have not asked you about your banking career that I should have. Or is there anything else that you would like to add?
AK:I feel very fortunate that I was given the opportunity that Tuck Cunningham gave me to work to fit my schedule. After I became a supervisor I realized how it must have been difficult for the person who was my supervisor because I was there only certain times, but I will always be thankful that I was able to have that opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed working at the Salisbury Bank.
JM:That was very obvious. There was always a friendly warm atmosphere that people liked what they were doing.
AK:Yes, we always said we have to be here 8 hours a day, so we’ll have a good time while you are here. If you are enjoying what you are doing then the people coming in will enjoy the experience as well.
JM:How did you get your banking training, originally?
AK:When we were first married we lived Agawam, Massachusetts. I answered an ad in the paper for a bank in Springfield, Mass. for a teller. That is how I started.
JM:How long did you work in Agawam?
AK:One year. They did a very good training job.
JM:Was it formal or hands-on?
AK:When you were hired as a teller, you went to 2 weeks, 8 hours a day, of teller training. It was a large bank; it had 22 branches. Then you did a month hands-on under supervision of a manager. By the time you were on your own, you really knew what you were doing. You either knew it or you weren’t going to make it. They gave a really good training program.
JM;Thank you so much, Alice. I really appreciate it.