Virginia Coffee, branch manager for Citizens Bank in Avon, loves a good story—whether that’s hearing all about a customer’s dreams and plans or curled up with a favorite book. Below, she shares what inspires her and offers up some of her best advice for customers.
How did you find your way into banking?
I began my career back in 2011. I was looking for an opportunity with a schedule that allowed me to be home with my kids on holidays and weekends. I started my career as a teller and worked my way up to a management position. Five years ago I joined Citizens Bank, where I’m currently a branch manager.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My enjoyment at work absolutely comes from the people, the staff, and customers I get to build relationships with. I have a lot of personality so I love that this position allows me to interact with a variety of people.
How do you form these connections with your customers?
You have to come from a very genuine place. I’ve worked with people through so many stages of life—big life goals such as buying houses, buying cars, or sending kids off to college. I’ve cried with customers who’ve lost a spouse or family member and worked through those difficult times with them. Banking is much more personal than people realize. You really do become an integral part of some people’s lives.
We’re in an age where a lot of banking transactions are happening online, but I urge customers to form a relationship with their local banker. We have a vast knowledge of all financial aspects of life, and we are a great resource to tap during any of the financial challenges you may experience.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
I’m an avid reader and have a side table just stacked with books. Currently, I’m reading a Stephen King series, The Talisman and Black House. I really love reading a series of books; my daughter recently bought me the entire hardcover Harry Potter series in this adorable fancy suitcase and those are next on my list to read.
What do you do for fun?
Several times a year my fiancé and I plan surprise trips for each other—we never tell each other what we’re doing or where we are going. We generally stick within driving distance, which can be a challenge. We recently came back from Hocking Hills, Ohio, where we stayed in a little romantic cabin resort that offered incredible six-course dinners.
How are you involved in the community?
I love volunteering for Family Promise, an organization that helps families in need who are facing homelessness. I teach them crucial money management skills and help them with financial strategy and literacy. I help them make budgets and work on plans for overcoming their challenges.
Around the holidays I also enjoy working with Project Angel, which provides gifts for families in need. Our branch hosts an angel tree each year and we just love seeing customers stop in and grab an angel and love watching the gifts come in, knowing we are helping less fortunate families.