Longtime North Country Savings Bank Employee Connects With Customers & Community

North Country Savings Bank (NCSB) Training and Employee Benefits Manager Phyllis Howard of Canton, N.Y. proudly supports her community and her NCSB customers, along with her fellow employees. As a dedicated employee and a longtime board member of the Canton Chamber of Commerce, Howard pursues her love of helping people both personally and professionally.

A 31-year employee of NCSB, Howard has held several different roles during her tenure. She's worked in customer service, human resources, and operations departments. She's been a teller and a branch manager. In her role as training and employee benefits manager, Howard handles HR-related requests, processes the payroll, answers insurance and employee benefits questions, and trains all new tellers upon their start with NCSB.

"31 years ago, I needed a job," Howard said. "I never dreamed that this is what it was going to end up being. I fell in love with the bank and the people—my coworkers and customers."

A fond memory Howard has during her time at NCSB is when she was a branch manager in Canton, a role she held for about 10 years.

"I was able to help a young couple buy their first home," Howard said. "I did the mortgage process with them from start to finish. I still see them from time-to-time at the bank or the grocery store. It was so nice to be able to help them."

Although Howard is typically based in the Canton NCSB office, she is currently the acting branch manager in the Potsdam NCSB office, a role she has held since October 2020. As branch manager, Howard supervises branch employees and oversees customer service. Howard considers the customers to be one of the best parts of her job.

"I'm very much a people person—helping them, solving their problems," Howard said. "It's good to be able to learn what their priorities are and figure out how to help them reach their goals."

After more than three decades of working at the bank, Howard is still a champion of its services, whether you're looking for answers online or in person.

"I've always been impressed by the high quality of customer service the bank provides and how we get to know the customers," Howard said. "Customers know our names and we know theirs. It's also nice to see customers in the community—we're a small-town bank with a small-town atmosphere."

When it comes to supporting her community out of NCSB, Howard has been on the Canton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 17 years. She has held various positions on the board, but is currently the secretary.

"We do a lot of feel-good community things to try to bring people to downtown Canton," Howard said. "We encourage people to support local businesses by shopping local and participating in community activities, such as seasonal events."

Howard is grateful NCSB sees community involvement as an important initiative for employees and the bank as a whole. In addition to offering employees the option to volunteer, NCSB provides monetary donations to organizations in the region and for community events, such as silent auctions and golf tournaments, when possible.

"NCSB has always encouraged the employees to volunteer in the community," Howard said. "We even have a section in our handbook about it. The bank promotes and fully encourages our personal volunteerism efforts."

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