InFirst Bank is a Member of PACB.
Communities across Pennsylvania are growing and thriving because their community banks care. The service and commitment demonstrated by community bank employees keep customers faithful, and their sincerity keeps others hopeful. Because of these employees, communities across the Commonwealth are thriving and becoming better places to live and work.
When it comes to community banking in Pennsylvania, the uniqueness, talents, and attributes of the 14,000 individual community bank employees combine to make the entire industry greater than the sum of its parts. As we travel across the state, we meet community bank employees from various backgrounds. Some are new, while others have worked their entire careers in the industry. No matter how long these employees have been involved in banking, they all share a common thread—a love for their community. They truly are the ones responsible for bettering their hometowns.
As part of an ongoing series, we feature interviews with these community bank employees, these “Hometown Champions.” Through these interviews, we hope to gain some insight into what makes the community banking industry great in Pennsylvania.
This month, we spoke with InFirst Bank, headquartered in Indiana, Pa. This community bank remains committed to improving the quality of life in the community they proudly serve.
Misty Wilson – AVP, Customer Support Center Manager
- How did you get into community banking? I started in community banking when I moved to the area in 2005. I had recently graduated from college and was looking for a job when I saw that Indiana First Bank, now InFirst Bank, was hiring teller positions. I knew nothing on banking but always thought, as a child, how awesome it looked being a bank teller when I would go to the bank with my mother. At the time I was hired, I had no clue what an impact being part of this small community would be on my life. I am so grateful the opportunity was given for me to grow this into my career the last 17 years.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working in community banking? The most rewarding aspect of working in a community bank is that I am able to give back to our local community. InFirst Bank gives volunteer opportunities to keep our employees engaged in the community. InFirst Bank recently celebrated our 100th birthday and we participated in 100 acts of kindness to celebrate. It was a fun way for the entire bank to participate in different ways to give back. It is wonderful helping and seeing how our small community bank is making a difference locally.
- People always want a definition of “community banks.” What’s yours? My definition of community bank is a bank where you are known. I take pride on knowing the customers I am working with. Not only do we know our customers, but they know us as well, not just professionally. We see our customers at sporting events, school events, fundraising or volunteering, and at the grocery store. Having this close relationship with customers always allows up to go above and beyond to help, because they are not just a number to us, they are a friend and part of our bank family.
- Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. Something most people do not know about me is that I am a huge sports fan, especially football. Number one is watching my 3 children play. I have a daughter who plays college softball and I have two boys, one who plays varsity football and one who plays elementary football, basketball, and baseball. Next to watching my children play their sports, I am a HUGE football fan. I can sit and watch any game, especially college football.
- What is the fifth photo in your camera roll on your phone, and can you please share the story behind it? The fifth picture on my camera roll is from around the holidays of my children and I at Central Park in Johnstown. There is music playing and lights on the tree and throughout the park that change with the music. There is a little village set up in the park that is donated and decorated by area organizations and groups. Since I love the holidays, we visit this every year.
Donald Graham – Vice President, Regional Manager
- How did you get into community banking? A few years after high school I was attending part-time college classes and working full-time at a department store. However, I knew I wanted more of a career path in my future. My father’s best friend worked at a local community bank and suggested that I apply for a teller position. I was hired as a teller and began working my way up through the years, starting with head teller, moving to a new accounts officer, then a loan officer and eventually managing a branch. I have now been in banking for more than 40 years and achieved my goal of a lifelong career.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working in community banking? The atmosphere is totally different at a community bank than at a big bank. Not only are the employees more close-knit, but the relationships with the customers are more personal and less transactional. Those personal customer relationships allow me to truly know my customers and gives me the opportunity to help them with finances so they can achieve their goals and dreams. That gives me great satisfaction.
- People always want a definition of “community bank.” What’s yours? The term “community banks” is commonly used to describe a bank that derives funds from and lends to the community where it operates. They generally serve businesses and individuals in a smaller geographic area and have competitive fees and rates. Personalized service is often the trademark of a community bank and it tends to be more involved in its communities. The employees live and work in the communities they serve, so they take a special interest in the community by getting involved in small businesses, non-profit organizations, and issues that directly affect their communities. Personal service is very important to community banks and they take pride in getting to know their customers on a personal level. The customers’ financial goals are the bank’s focus, and it seeks to help them achieve those goals. Community banks are deeply involved in their neighborhoods and work with them for everyone’s success.
- Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. I am an avid camper and boater. I love being outdoors and taking a break from the professional life of banking. I do love banking, but camping and boating gives me the opportunity to relax and enjoy the outdoors with my family.
- What is the fifth photo in your camera roll on your phone, and can you please share the story behind it? The fifth photo in my photo gallery is of our cat, Willow. The date was Jan. 23, 2022, the day we brought her home from the cat rescue shelter. You can see her toys in the background. She got tired of playing and went to sleep right on top of a toy. I’d say she felt right at home from the very first day.
Anne-Marie Welty – Branch Manager
- How did you get into community banking? I moved home after 20 years and started volunteering for nonprofits in my area. A community bank heard what I was doing and asked if I would be interested in working for them.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working in community banking? Truly making a difference, not only in our customers’ lives, but also in the community that we serve.
- People always want a definition of “community banks.” What’s yours? A community bank to me is a bank that is invested in its community, making local decisions that help serve the needs of the people, businesses, and nonprofits that live in the communities that it serves.
- Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. I’m a crazy antiquer. The best weekends are found in dusty antique stores or flea markets.
- What is the fifth photo in your camera roll on your phone, and can you please share the story behind it? This is my amazing Isabelle Grace, the rescue pup that rescued two humans on her epic adventure. She was found in Kentucky, abandoned in a barn, weighing only 30 pounds. Within a month, we were able to get her up to 68 pounds. She is truly my heart.
Lisa Shirt – Vice President Commercial Business Development Officer
- How did you get into community banking? I have always been drawn to community banking. When I began my career with my former bank, it was much like a community bank, but over time the bank grew into a larger institution as a result of several mergers. I was very fortunate to move into community banking with InFirst Bank. This decision has been a great one as I enjoy working one-on-one with my coworkers towards a common goal. Over the last three years, working at InFirst Bank has been an amazing experience.
- What is the most rewarding aspect of working in community banking? The most rewarding aspect of community banking is the ability to have a direct and positive impact on the communities in which we serve. Working at a community bank provides the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with both my customers and my colleagues. It is extremely rewarding to work as a team to help our customers achieve their dreams in establishing or growing their business.
- People always want a definition of “community banks.” What’s yours? A community bank is a financial institution that is locally owned and operated. They are organizations that are truly dedicated to the communities in which they serve because everyone from the CEO down to the tellers live in—and are therefore invested in—that community. Community banks are extremely focused on building personalized relationships with their customers.
- Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. Most people are surprised to learn that my three children were all born in three different decades.
- What is the fifth photo in your camera roll on your phone, and can you please share the story behind it? The fifth photo in my camera roll is a picture of my mother on her 78th birthday, which turned out to be the last birthday we celebrated with her. She asked me to take this picture before we cut the cake, but what makes this picture even more endearing is that you can see my three children and older sister acting silly in the background. I always treasure this photo because it is a good reflection of how much fun we always had together.