Mary Wenger had just been given a severance package from Chase Bank when she mentioned her job change to a friend who worked at Illinois National Bank.
“I told an employee I had previously worked with at the original INB that I would be looking for a job. Within a few days, I received a phone call and was asked to come for an interview,” Mary recalled. “I got a second opportunity to work with old friends and coworkers.
Now AVP, IT Project Manager, Mary had worked at INB for 20 years starting in 1977 and remained throughout a couple of mergers until 1997. In 2007, she joined the INB team once again.
“It was a little bit like coming home,” she said.
Mary is one of many employees who chose to return to INB after it opened as a new financial institution in 1999.
Illinois National Bank had existed under that name since the late 1800s, but between 1988 and 1998, it went through several mergers and acquisitions. In 1999, thanks to a group of investors, the new Illinois National Bank opened its doors, servicing customers and bringing many staff who had previously worked for the original INB “back home.”
Easy Choice to Make
Returning to INB has not only been an easy decision for many employees who formerly worked for the “old” INB, but it has also been a smooth transition.
Lynne Wooden and Gina Burlingham 2018
Lynne Wooden back in the day
“Coming back to the ‘new’ INB was somewhat of an easy transition since I already knew quite a few employees that were also at the ‘old’ INB, and I was going to be in a position that I had been at for quite some time,” said Lynne Wooden, vice president, business solutions. “I wanted to be more involved in the Springfield community, and I knew it would be a good fit for me. Plus, INB has a very good reputation in the area, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Gina Burlingham, Accounts Payable Clerk, worked at the original INB from 1987 to 1996 before moving to Iowa to be closer to her mother-in-law who was having health issues. She was thrilled with the chance to rejoin the staff upon her family’s return to Springfield in 2016.
“INB has always been a high spot in my professional life, and I have friends that were here when I left and are still with the bank today,” she said. “I felt that it would be an opportunity to continue something that was an important part of my life and a great place to be! It was so wonderful to come back to a place where there are not only lots of familiar faces but lots of great new people I have met on my return.”
Gina Burlingham back in the day
INB not only kept the old name and attracted many enthusiastic former employees…but the core values remain the same too.
“We’re not the only bank that took a former bank name for a new bank, but we are like the old INB, which is unique. Many of our employees here today were with the old INB. A lot of our philosophy is what it was at the old INB,” said John Maxfield, SVP, commercial lending. “At the original INB, we were committed to serving the customer, and it’s the same here today. We’re trying to take care of our customers, and we have a great group of employees who do that.”
SVP, John Maxfield back in the day
Local Decision-Making Better for Both Staff and Customers
Over the years of his banking career, John had watched the original INB transition under larger banks with different names. With the changes, he didn’t feel he had the control he needed to provide excellent customer service.
“The old INB just kept being a smaller piece of a bigger bank. It got really difficult, not only as an employee, but also trying to take care of my customers. They were shipping us all over for meetings, from Indy to Michigan, and all over Illinois,” he recalled. “I worked in small business banking, and decisions weren’t even made locally. We had less and less control over what we were doing.”
Coming back in 2000 to the community values of the original INB was refreshing for John. “I loved coming over to the new INB because it was back to the old way of business,” he said. “If I want to talk to the president of the bank, I walk down a floor. Loan servicing is on the same block. We can be so much more responsive to our customers in an environment like this.”
The increasing layers of bureaucratic red tape sticks out in the memory of Brian Payne as well.
Brian joined the original INB in 1982 and remained on staff through each of the acquisitions. He stayed on at National City Bank (now PNC) even as the new INB was started, where he moved from local sales in Springfield to become the Corporate Float Manager, then the Corporate Float and Item Processing Product Manager.
“Unfortunately, the further I progressed, the more red tape I encountered,” Brian said. “Competition between disparate markets and corporate divisions impeded decision-making and innovation.”
A conversation with Tom Gihl, COO of INB, in 2007 changed the course for Brian.
“I can still hear Tom telling me that it was INB’s desire to foster innovation and that decision-making was quick and decisive because of the local nature of our bank. Ten years later, his words still resonate with me,” said Brian, who is now SVP of remittance processing and tech services for INB. “Generating new ideas, problem solving, creating solutions and value for customers, and communication with INB’s senior staff is not only welcome but encouraged.”
The combination of previous employees with new employees gives INB a unique depth in the local banking industry, said Veronica Armbrust, who began with the original INB in 1984 and returned again in 2005.
“The blend of old and new staff drives the bank forward: our knowledge, experience, innovation and dedication is what makes us successful,” Veronica said. “It’s the people here at INB that make the bank a great place to work, and I am blessed to be a part of it.”