FARGO, ND – Sue Anderson and her team have a knack for lending a helping hand to customers going through difficult times.
It’s another busy day at Gate City Bank’s headquarters in downtown Fargo. The phone rings in the Lending Solutions department, and a team member promptly answers the call with a warm and friendly greeting. The mortgage customer on the line is having a difficult time. He’s been losing sleep in recent days, worrying he won’t be able to make his latest payment due to an employment hardship.
The team member listens intently and offers reassurance that Gate City Bank is there to help. The customer’s scenario is one that has become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic, where people from all walks of life experienced financial struggles beyond their control.
During the call, the team member provides what both the customer and our world desperately need: empathy. As a result, the conversation becomes surprisingly pleasant for the customer, and a solution is arranged within minutes to help his situation. He is grateful beyond words.
This is just one of countless similar Gate City Bank calls that have transformed customer trials into triumphs. When it comes to facing challenges such as the recent pandemic, floods, government shutdowns or other disruptions, kind-hearted individuals like Sue Anderson and her team are on the front lines, offering hope and healing to those who need it most.
“Always shoot to be the nicest call a customer experiences today,” says Anderson, Gate City Bank Senior Vice President of Lending Solutions. “Just care for them by listening and letting them tell their story.”
It’s a message Anderson shares with her team daily, and during her nearly 40 years at Gate City Bank – it’s a message that has helped create a better way of life.
Anderson is originally from Fargo, and she attended what is presently Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) in neighboring Moorhead, MN. After finishing school, she started her Gate City Bank journey like many other team members – as a teller.
Prior to joining the company, she had heard about its amazing workplace culture, where team members are often promoted from within and given many chances to hone their skillsets. She knew it was where she wanted to be long term, and it was an opportunity that quickly opened the door to an incredible career.
After six months, a loan servicing position opened up, and it immediately piqued Anderson’s interest because it presented a unique challenge: assisting customers who hadn’t been able to make their payments.
It wasn’t a position that could be handled by just anyone; it required a person who exhibited exceptional patience and problem-solving skills. Management had taken special notice of Anderson and her knack for resolving customer challenges at the teller level, and it was clear she was the perfect fit. Not only did she focus heavily on customer service, but she had a remarkably positive attitude.
“You just have to be nice to people and ask them why they haven’t been able to make their payment,” Anderson says. “From there, we were almost always able to come to a resolution.”
Anderson quickly became a subject matter expert in loans. When the bank decided to centralize all loan servicing in Fargo, it not only gave her the chance to do more of the work she loved, but the opportunity to step into a supervisor role. From there, it didn’t take Anderson long to develop a new organizational structure for the entire department, which helped streamline operations.
Gate City Bank team members are empowered to help shape the company’s culture, and Anderson is a perfect example. Thanks to her positive attitude and strong work ethic, she’s played a key role in helping build the bank’s reputation for customer obsession, especially for those experiencing tough times.
“Gate City Bank is here to be understanding with all customers,” Anderson says. “Everyone is facing different circumstances. People are going to get sick. They’re going to face difficult life events. It’s about connecting with those customers and letting them know that we care about them.”
If a customer is able to avoid a foreclosure, it’s a win. When a deferred payment helps a single mom buy groceries for her kids amid a natural disaster, Anderson’s team celebrates. Having a heart for those in need is crucial to creating a better way of life, and it’s a mindset that is embraced throughout the company.
With Anderson’s big heart, it may come as no surprise that she loves to give back to her community. Her compassion aligns perfectly with the bank’s strong belief in supporting its communities.
Generously giving of time and resources through servant leadership is a huge part of Gate City Bank’s culture. The bank believes in supporting its communities through paid volunteer time, charitable contributions and in-kind donations (such as reduced interest rate loans for nonprofit organizations).
Team members have provided $36.6 million in philanthropic giving and more than 285,000 hours of team volunteerism to over 1,000 charities since 2003. Additionally, the bank encourages team members to give on company time. For each hour they volunteer beyond 10 hours, the bank gifts approximately $29 per hour to the charity.
Anderson sat on the YWCA Cass Clay board for six years, serving as president in 2019. She has also been a member of the Fargo Lions Club for more than 20 years, and has served with many other community groups. Whenever she has requested funds or volunteer support for a cause she’s passionate about, the bank has always shown support.
Additionally, Anderson has experienced firsthand the incredible impact of Gate City Bank’s unique sabbatical and mission programs. Her sabbatical took place in August 2019, and she’s taken part in seven mission trips.
Team members chosen for sabbaticals take four weeks off with no access to email. During that time, all inquiries that team member receives are forwarded to a colleague. Gate City Bank selects team members for sabbaticals, and they work on four things during their time off: leadership development, family, education and community involvement.
During her sabbatical, Anderson was able to do special volunteer work for YWCA Cass Clay’s Grace Garden initiative, assist her daughter – a kindergarten teacher in Grand Forks, ND – with the Little Red Reading Bus bookmobile for kids, as well as read the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High.
Anderson has also experienced strong support on behalf of the bank for her mission trips. She’s been able to make a difference in such places as Slovakia, Ecuador and New York City.
“I’m so proud that Gate City Bank stands behind me,” she says.
There are many things Anderson appreciates about Gate City Bank: the amazing 401(k) match, generous paid time off, a low-deductible health plan and so much more. But it’s her caring and supportive team members who make the biggest difference.
“This is just a great place to work and grow,” Anderson says. “Gate City Bank is my family.”
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