When Lauren Harmon was working on getting her degree in elementary school education, she applied for a part-time teller position and something clicked, leading to a lifelong passion for financial services and a career in banking. Now, the Assistant Vice President and Treasury Management Officer for Citizens Bank, Lauren loves to inspire small business owners and help them streamline operations and protect their hard-earned assets.
How would you describe your job?
I help businesses look over their day to day operations and optimize their efficiency and cash flow with our bank services. I help them problem solve—find products that earn interest on funds they aren’t using, save money on credit card processing, and figure out how to easily pay employees and vendors.
What’s an aspect of your job that people might be surprised to know about?
I look at how to help businesses with fraud protection. For example, I had a customer that recently got hit with a significant amount of fraud. We were able to work with the customer very quickly and get the money that was taken out of the business account back to the bank and credit the account. Luckily, they had some of our fraud prevention tools in place, and this incident prompted them to have more in-depth conversations with me on what else we could do to help protect the accounts. We’re in the process of adding to our services with a service called ACH positive pay. This is a fraud prevention tool that the company tells us what electronic transactions and payments are approved for payment. If a transaction posts to the account that does not match the customer-approved transactions, the customer sees them on an exception report and must approve or deny. Our online banking also offers different alerts the customer can set up to go to multiple devices. I can help walk customers through these set ups and processes to ensure they are better protected.
What are some of the most overlooked opportunities or products Citizens Bank offers small businesses?
When a business has too much money sitting around in their operating account, I can help them find ways to earn interest on those funds and still keep them in their operating account with our Insured Cash Sweep. This is similar to the usual repurchase agreement businesses might be used to, but this helps us keep the funds on our books and circulating in our local community.
Do you have a motto that inspires you at work?
When I was a branch manager, I lived by the motto “If a customer presents you with a problem, you have to own it until they are satisfied.” Whether you can resolve it yourself, or you need to get to an outside department, it is yours to handle, from start to finish. Even If I have a customer that goes to a totally different department, I don’t stop until I hear from the customer that their situation has been resolved.
Outside of work, where’s your happy place?
My happy place is at home with my family! You can usually find us playing board games or traveling. Disney World is one of our favorite places to go as a family.
Do you have any expert tips for Disney World?
You have to have a plan before you get there! You can’t get there and wing it. Start by checking crowd calendars online and try to visit when it’s expected to be less busy. You also want to get the ride FAST passes, dining reservations; kind of plan your day so you can make sure you get it all in. Three-four days is the bare minimum to really see everything and get your money’s worth.
Do you have a favorite attraction or park?
All of Epcot. Epcot has festivals throughout the year that allow you to experience different cultures from around the world; music, art, and food!
How are you active in your community?
I’m a foster for and sit on the board of our local humane society. We have several animals of our own that are all rescues, and some that have even started as fosters. Our family fosters about two to three litters of kittens a year, sometimes bottle feeding or even tube feeding. It’s a lot of work, but so rewarding!