I began my internship at Chesapeake Bank in June of 2017 while home for the summer from studying at Christopher Newport University.
Originally from Mathews, Virginia, a small town, I came into the internship familiar with things like shopping locally and supporting the community. By becoming a part of the Chesapeake Bank team, I learned first-hand just how important — and different — community banking truly is. Here are the top 10 things I took away from my time with some great people at a great place to work: Chesapeake Bank.
- You're not just a number. Coming into the summer, I did not know what I was getting myself into. The personable manner of every employee at Chesapeake Bank is like something I had never seen before. Each employee was sincerely interested in my opinions and what I brought to the company. The CEO even knows every employee by name and calls them on their birthdays! Employees – and customers – are truly more than a number at a community bank.
- There’s more to banking than meets the eye. From the outside looking in at a bank, you usually only see the customer service associates, tellers, and maybe some lenders. There’s way more to a bank than just the smiling faces at the front door. From providing great customer service to ensuring we’re compliant with all the necessary regulations, there’s a team behind it. All of our employees are dedicated and do a fabulous job, but it takes the whole team to keep everything running smoothly.
- “Community” has a real meaning. Coming from a small town, I know people make an effort to shop locally and support the community. The difference I saw from local banking versus big banking came down to one word: care. A community bank is affected by every business in the community because we live here too. A community bank will do all in its power to help their community thrive, and mean it.
- People come back to work here. I had the pleasure of working with three other great interns this summer: Whitney, Nick, and Devante. Two of the three were in their third summers at the bank because here, you’re constantly learning. It’s not just the interns either, many of our employees come from other banks. They always say that the Chesapeake Bank mindset as a whole is completely different, making it great for employees as well as customers. I even met many employees at Chesapeake Bank that had been here for 10 or 20 years, some even longer.
- Chesapeake Financial Shares is big. Much bigger than I thought it was. Coming from Mathews, I knew my hometown branch right in the middle of town, and that’s all. Little did I know, we have 14 branches and four different major lines of business. I was completely blown away at all the products, services and locations Chesapeake has to offer.
- Marketing is super cool. I have just finished my freshman year of college, so my major hasn’t been declared yet, per my school. I knew I wanted to enter the field of business but not exactly which direction, and I figured marketing would be a good place to start. I learned so much about not just marketing, but marketing with a concentration on local markets, which is different. The personal relationships and local connections are what keeps the bank and all of the communities afloat and successful.
- The importance of relationships. How important are networking relationships? They always tell you in high school and college that ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ I’ve never found this statement to be truer than after a summer with Chesapeake Bank. I was lucky and honored to be blessed with this job because I have met people that I respect and trust, and I know will help me with whatever they can in my future endeavors.
- Appreciate your bank. Although sometimes you may get frustrated with your bank (after all, it’s your money; it’s important), be patient. We as bankers spend an enormous amount of time trying to deliver for our customer exactly what they want and need, and sometimes it may take a little while longer than you may like. We will do anything we can to keep your money safe and secure. -Because we appreciate you.
- When to separate personal and professional. It’s important to know when to keep the personal separate from the professional. At a bank, especially a community one, you deal with sensitive customer information. Sometimes you may just happen to know that customer. A comparison that comes to mind is one between a doctor and a patient that may know each other and the importance of patient confidentiality. Everything is private, and it is kept that way for a reason.
- Banks have fun. Some may consider banking to be a boring job where you just sit around and type all day, but these people are thankfully mistaken. Throughout my summer, I had a great time at my job on a daily basis, with different events or opportunities happening every day it seemed like. Banking is a job that can get a little tedious at times, but Chesapeake Bank does a great job of keeping you on your toes, and making things interesting — and fun.
From the warm welcome I received through my final days, Chesapeake Bank provided me so many opportunities — from local events to meetings with the Bank’s president — to learn and grow as a young professional.
— Written by Brian Owens