POUGHQUAG, N.Y. -- Maria Lopez heard the customers’ complaints loud and clear. The Poughquag woman spent a dozen years working for one of the region’s largest banks, and clients voiced concern about the impersonal service and loss of community contact.
Lopez, who had spent her entire career working for larger banks, finally relented. Earlier this year, she joined Tompkins Mahopac Bank as the branch manager in Sleepy Hollow and Ossining. She found a bank that delivered the personal touch and community involvement clients wanted, and that she wanted as well.
“I had been thinking about it for a while,’’ Lopez said. “I’m not one to jump around in my career. But after 2008, banking was not what it was prior to that. We had to change the way we were doing business. Coming to a smaller bank, I thought it would be gratifying for me to deliver that service.”
The sample size is short, but Lopez already feels at home in her new surroundings and working in her new communities.
“I have yet to hear from a customer that they don’t like this bank,’’ Lopez said. “Every time I talk to someone, they said you’re going to love working here. You don’t often hear that. This is a different life, and I’m really enjoying it.”
As the manager of two branches, Lopez manages two teams to handle the daily banking responsibilities. “It can get a little hectic,’’ she said. She leans on her assistant managers to help with daily tasks.
While her staff manages the offices, Lopez involves herself in community events, networking, banking development and finding new clients seeking to transition to a community bank.
“It’s similar to what I had been doing,’’ Lopez said. “With the community bank aspect of it, we’re a little bit more involved in local events. At larger banks, they encourage it but don’t push it as much as much at the community level. You’ll see us at a lot of community events.”
The new position fits well in Lopez’s wheelhouse, where she can connect with customers and give them the one-on-one attention they crave.
“It was frustrating at the larger bank,’’ Lopez said. “I see myself very involved with customers. At larger banks, not everybody tends to be on the same page. And the people at the branch level take the heat for it. At a community bank, if there’s an issue I’m able to take it from beginning to end. Clients can come to me. I’m their key point of contact, and I can take on an issue without having to involve anyone else.”
Lopez has spent her entire career in banking. While she enjoyed her previous jobs, she feels like the best is yet to come working with a community banking team.
“I enjoy working with the public,’’ she said. “I get a lot of self gratification from educating them about their finances and helping them with their family needs. One of my favorite things is to work with families and see their kids grow up. Knowing I’ve been with them from the beginning is one of the most rewarding parts about the job.”
For more about Tompkins Mahopac bank, click here .