Karen began her customer service career in high school at the Alco store as an office assistant. She recalls going to the bank to make daily deposits and admiring the tellers and the customer service that they gave to everyone. Just a few short years later she would find herself at Lincoln Federal as a part-time teller. This was just the beginning of her 25 year career with Lincoln Federal. After 20 years as a teller, Karen was recognized for her commitment to excellent service and was promoted to Customer Service Supervisor in 2014. Then in 2016, Karen was given another promotion adding Assistant Vice President to her role.
Karen notes that every day is different and when you work at a bank branch, everybody does a little of everything. She enjoys the variety of responsibilities she has including overseeing banking transactions, opening new accounts, and assisting customers with CDs. Karen has recently begun assisting customers with the homeownership process. She is able to assist at time of application and is a local resource for each applicant moving forward. "I manage the customer side of the mortgage, helping them fill out the application," says Karen. "From there, I work closely with Lincoln Federal's loan officers at our corporate office and the customer throughout the closing process, and when the loan is finalized, I can continue to assist my customer long after in McCook."
Over the past 25 years, Karen has seen so much change with technology and how it has impacted financial institutions. "Everything has changed, from the way we used to enter information on our customers to what we do today," adds Karen. "We used to just need a Social Security number to identify our customers, but September 2001 events changed the banking industry. The way people bank today has truly evolved and Lincoln Federal has consistently worked to bring those advancements to our customers."
Karen is proud to be part of the Lincoln Federal Savings Bank’s Lending Hand program. This program keeps the branch involved in the McCook community, such as Nebraska Community Action which works with the homeless population as well as with people who relocate to McCook and have no financial resources. Her team also enjoys participating in securing coats for the local coat drive, delivery Meals on Wheels every Thursday, and of course, sponsoring the school's Bison sports. The bank also supports local businesses and is a member of the McCook Chamber of Commerce.
When she’s not at work, Karen enjoys spending time with family and friends. She grew up in McCook, is married, has four daughters, and four grandchildren: 15-year-old twins, a 13-year-old, and a 15-month-old. She loves working out at the local YMCA and reading books written by Danielle Steele and Kristen Hannah. She also supports community projects by supporting the Y's fundraising efforts making it possible to offer financial assistance to families through memberships, and the Humane Society in memory of her daughter who had worked there.
“My favorite part of the job is interacting with the people,” Karen says. “I've been in customer service all my life. Living in a small town, I know everyone so helping people with their financial matters is very rewarding to me. The customers are great and I love the girls I get to work with every day!”
Karen Hiatt works at the Lincoln Federal Savings Bank branch at 221 Norris Avenue in McCook. To contact Karen, call 308-345-2454.