Classroom to Boardroom

By Melby, Todd | Independent Banker, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Classroom to Boardroom


Melby, Todd, Independent Banker


Teenagers get schooled on the business of banking

Walk through the glass doors at this East Penn Bank branch at noon and there are customers queuing up at teller lines and opening accounts at nearby desks. Clients are depositing checks, withdrawing funds and inquiring about account balances.

But just outside the bank doors is a hallway filled with metal lockers and lively teenagers toting backpacks and iPods. That's because this branch isn't tucked inside a mall, a grocery store or even a Wal-Mart.

Rather, it's inside Emmaus High School, the home of the Hornets sports teams and 2,548 ninththrough twelfth-graders.

"A lot of people are surprised when they first come in," says Judy Miller, East Penn Bank branch manager at Emmaus High School. "They don't expect a full-service branch. We have everything all the other branches do, except safe deposit boxes." Customers can get those at the bank's seven other locations.

With an aim towards serving the Lehigh Valley area, surrounding the former industrial cities of Allentown and Bethlehem, just north of Philadelphia, East Penn Bank opened as a de novo in 1991. Fifteen years later, it's grown to $404 million in assets.

"We've experienced double-digit growth every year of our existence," says Debra Peters, East Penn Bank executive vice president.

Like most community banks, East Penn Bank serves both a mix of business and retail clients. Despite a legal lending limit of $5 million, about 55 percent of its loan portfolio is commercial. Residential mortgages (later sold in the secondary market) comprise 20 percent of the bank's loan portfolio and loans to retail customers (home equity, car and personal) make up another 25 percent.

The competitive climate in Lehigh Valley is stiff, Peters says. Bank of America, Wachovia Bank and Sovereign Bank all have a major presence in eastern Pennsylvania. So how is a small bank supposed to stand out in this crowded marketplace?

"Community banks need to pursue a different strategy," says Chris Gill, retail banking expert at Dove Consulting in Boston. "That's why they tend to focus on customer service, long-term relationships and personal relationships."

Opening a full-service branch at a local high school allows East Penn Bank to shine a little brighter than its big bank brethren on all three fronts.

"We think the project has been a great success," Peters says. "Not so much from a profitability standpoint, but as a service to the community and a way to generate future customers."

The Next Generation

Since the high school branch opened in 1999, East Penn Bank has been able to hold on to six of every 10 customers. "To me, that's phenomenal, especially when you consider that so many of the kids leave the area to go to school," Peters says.

While attending Emmaus High School, students can enroll in "Intro to Banking" and "Advanced Banking" classes. The advanced class allows teens to get hands-on banking experience. After signing an agreement to not reveal customer account information, students are allowed to wait on customers, count money and open accounts.

A few become motivated and seasoned enough to work as paid staff at East Penn Bank branches or at its operations center. Jill Schutt, a 17-year-old senior, squeezes in all of her classes before 11 a.m. Then it's off to the in-school bank branch, where she works as a teller.

"I took the class to see what it was about," she says. "Now I'm working here."

Alecia Weaver, who is also a 17-year-old senior, completed the banking courses before landing a job as a proof operator last spring.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Classroom to Boardroom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.