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No coincidence First Citizens Bank employees long-timers

It is not often these days that you find a place of business where you can walk in the door and expect to see the same faces day after day; which is why First Citizens Bank on Main Street in Lincolnton is a rare exception to that rule.
Debbie Sipe, who came to Lincolnton from a branch in Catawba County last November can attest to that. She has been with First Citizens for 28 years.
“We have a lot of longevity here,” said Sipe.
Although Sipe is relatively new to the branch on Main Street, several other employees have long been fixtures at the bank. Their positions within the company have changed over the years, but their dedication to First Citizens has remained a constant.
Mary Beattie, currently a teller, has put in over 42 years of service. Financial Services Manager Beverly Deal has worked at every branch in Lincolnton and has 35 Ð… years with the company.
Administrative assistant Kay Caudle and Financial Services Representative Sherry Franklin have been with the bank for 21 years and 9 years, respectively. In addition, East Lincoln Financial Services Manager Karen Cline has been with First Citizens for 19 years.
Sipe says it is a highly unusual situation.
“It’s unheard of in the banking industry to have that kind of longevity,” Sipe said.
Yet, according to Sipe, First Citizens has long-time employees at branches across the state. She attributes that fact to the company taking care of its employees and the sense of being a team player shared by many within the bank. Sipe says the focus on individual responsibility as well as working together as a group has proven a winning combination.
“I think that keeps a lot of people happy at First Citizens,” said Sipe.
Financial Services Manager Deal feels the chance to move up within the bank has also contributed to the First Citizens’ ability to keep its associates content.
“There have been a lot of growth opportunities within the bank,” Deal said.
Both Sipe and Deal began their careers as tellers, and both saw their careers advance.
Yet these two successful women are far from the only ones at the First Citizens on Main Street. In fact, everyone who works at the branch is a successful woman.
Sipe and Deal say that having an all-female staff just happened.
“It’s the first time in our history that we’ve had no men here,” said Sipe.
The women at First Citizens take the company’s focus on teamwork to heart. Everyone is more than willing to help when help is needed; the attitude is that anything that needs to be done is everyone’s job.
“It can be challenging,” Sipe said. “But once you build your team, women are extremely supportive of each other.”
There is the sense that each associate, from manager to teller, sincerely wants everyone there to succeed.
“When you forget what your title is and work as a team, great things happen,” said Deal.
Both Sipe and Deal also have a personal commitment to making great things happen in their community. Also encouraged by the bank, the women’s community involvement has been outstanding.
Most recently, Sipe, who lives in Maiden, has been involved with United Way of Catawba County. Deal has been on the board of Lincoln County’s United Way for 12 years and is also on the board of the Downtown Development Association, as well as a member of Kiwanis.
The commitment to community that Sipe and Deal have shown has only been matched by their commitment to First Citizens’ customers, a value the bank takes seriously. First Citizens is the oldest bank in Lincolnton that has not changed names or owners. With all the changes this town has seen, the bank’s dedication to consistency and customer service has never wavered.
“We all pride ourselves on customer service,” Sipe said.
The fact that so many employees at the First Citizens on Main Street have remained there for so long also plays into the bank’s focus on customer service. When customers walk through the door, they can be certain that someone behind the counter will know them by name.
Just as First Citizens’ employees are committed to their customers, they are also committed to the bank.
“Our colors are red, black and white,” said Deal. “I’ve always said my blood runs First Citizens red. It’s a matter of loyalty. They’ve been good to us, too.”
Together, the women at First Citizens in Lincolnton have over 150 years of experience working at the bank. Now that’s commitment you can bank on.
by Allyson Levine

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