Transformational Banking, From Students to Employees

Published: May 11, 2017 11:33:41 AM
Topics: About Us

One of TS Bank’s core values, “whole”istic prosperity, encourages employees to personally reflect the businesses’ approach in the way they live or work and in the community; being others oriented, positively contrarian and show enduring integrity.

This blog highlights two bank employees who have done just that. You might suppose this blog features someone who’s been with the bank for many years. However, TS Bank employs two young men who connected with the bank in high school and have transitioned into full time employees: Universal Bankers, Riley Lemke and Wayne Wakehouse.

TS Institute - the non-profit arm of TS Banking Group - is how Wayne and Riley were first introduced to TS Bank. TS Institute is a foundation committed to creating a stronger, more financially, savvy future generation through a K-12 financial literacy program including teacher workshops, curriculum development and in-school banking programs. They have impacted over 15,000 students in Southwest Iowa since its inception in 2009.

There are currently five in-school banks with another to rollout this fall at College View Elementary.  Council Bluffs Community School District is the first school system in Iowa and the second in the nation to offer banking to students K-12, with TS Bank branches at Rue Elementary School, Franklin Elementary School, Wilson Middle School and Thomas Jefferson High School, where Wayne and Riley attended high school.  Additionally, there is a TS Bank Cardinal Branch in Treynor Elementary School.

Students have built off their experience at TS Bank’s Thomas Jefferson Yellow Jacket Branch, which opened in 2012, to land jobs with TS Bank, American National Bank, Bank of the West and other financial institutions. Students learn soft skills, helping them step into the job market after graduation or going on to earn a postsecondary certificate or degree.

At the T.J. Branch, Wayne and Riley served as student client service representatives (CSRs).

“It was unique to see an in-school bank, and I thought it would be a good idea to consider before my senior year,” Wayne Wakehouse said, “Plus bankers in the in-school branch had told me it was a good experience and that it would be a way to further my financial literacy.”

When he first started taking business classes, Wayne said he didn’t realize there were so many different aspects to banking. The experience allowed for both Riley and Wayne to receive first-hand experience and navigate in a professional business environment.

“A lot of younger kids don’t have knowledge in financial literacy,” Riley Lemke said. “Signing up for the class at T.J. provided me with many good experiences.”

Riley Lemke and Wayne Wakehouse were both hired as employees in the Spring of 2014 (while still T.J. student CSRs working at the school branch) and after the completion of their high school graduation started their full-time positions with TS Bank on the same day. 

Beyond the benefits for the program’s students, the in-school banking experience has been valuable for everyone at the school districts to learn financial literacy skills and become familiar with the services provided by banks, having the opportunity to be exposed to new learning. It has allowed students to be leaders and learn lifelong skills in client service. Riley and Wayne are great examples, and since their hire date they have been promoted to universal bankers. Riley is also enrolled in general studies at Iowa Western Community College this fall to continue with his career.

Riley says, “I chose TS Bank because there was something different about the work environment and culture here that really got my attention. From the very start of me being a CSR at the TJ branch, I could tell that I was surrounded by genuine, caring people. I was really drawn in to be a part of it.”

Wayne shares, “I now have a role in being a mentor at the TJ branch as well as the elementary branches. It’s really helped me find more meaning in my job.

At TS Bank, we strive to make our why (to develop long-term community prosperity) known at every touch point with both internal and external clients. Much of this vision and unique culture has helped retain and attract employees. 

“I really like the team members I work with as well as all of the other awesome employees that I don’t see on a daily basis,” states Wayne. “They all play a big role in making me who I am today, and I’m very lucky to work for a company where all employees care and look out for one another."

Riley adds, “There are many things I like about working at TS Bank. One key point is the positive support of all of my coworkers. They are constantly uplifting and want to see the best in everybody, regardless of their position.”

TS Institute, as well as the mission of TS Banking Group, stems from the philosophy, “Give someone a fish, and you can feed them for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” To see all walks of life and life seasons take hold of financial literacy and ways to ignite prosperity in their individual family, business or community is truly what fulfills our company purpose.

Written by Kelsey Stupfell

Director of Community Reinvestment