Of the 60+ businesses Tammy Pool, director of community banking, personally worked with to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, hundreds more were served by her leadership and support of the community and commercial lending teams at Carter Bank & Trust.
Many businesses Tammy has helped had never met her in person, but it’s clear they forged a bond that will go far beyond the next few months of tracking and forgiveness. It’s time to put a face to the name, until we can celebrate together!
In September, Tammy will be celebrating 31 years at Carter Bank & Trust.
“I’ve only ever worked here,” says Tammy.
The dedication that Tammy demonstrates each day has been built upon years of delivering the Bank’s financial services with compassion and care. Starting out as a drive-thru representative, Tammy made her way through various roles including collections and recovery, loan officer, and now community lending.
A Life-Changing Experience
Over the course of 30 years, Tammy has witnessed a lot of crises in the economy and has worked, each time, to provide individuals and businesses with support to help them weather the storm. This time, things were different.
“I have said over and over that this has changed me, and I really mean it,” says Tammy, reflecting on the late nights and weekends spent on the phone with businesses, hearing the worried tone in their voice and the relief when they heard they were approved.
Since the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program launched on April 3, Tammy had not taken a single day off through mid-June. While she was only assigned a little over 60 businesses to process, she continued to stay on call to support her team members.
“I am a leader on this team and I wanted to feel what they were feeling down in the trenches,” says Tammy.
Those long hours led to many “a-ha” moments for Tammy that she looks back on fondly, often overcome with emotions of pride and gratefulness. First, she talks about helping businesses who missed the first round of funding, but stuck with the Bank to apply for the second round:
“We reached out to businesses who didn’t get approved in the first round. When they were afraid they weren’t to get any money, you could hear the desperation in their voice, but they were still thankful for our help,” says Tammy. Each late night she submitted applications, she’d stand by to watch the results and couldn’t wait to call them: “That night when we called them back, they were in tears, which really brought me to tears too. You just go through so many emotions so quickly.”
Tammy then goes on to talk about some of the businesses who inspired her the most:
“There was Home Stead Steakhouse in Timberlake, North Carolina that I worked closely with who didn’t make it into Round 1. I watched them work hard to adjust their business model to avoid having to furlough their employees,” says Tammy. “Their resiliency was so inspiring to me and it made me that much happier when I was able to help them get through in Round 2.”
Another a-ha moment came when she realized how the work she was doing would impact people from states away:
“We worked with a business owner based in Virginia that operated a cleaning business in Florida,” says Tammy. “So we were working to maintain jobs for people beyond the Bank’s footprint.”
Tammy continues to hear stories from new business customers about how their banks never called them back and how Carter Bank & Trust would have a new loyal customer. At the end of the day, having more bank accounts wasn’t the priority here, it was simply caring for the communities we serve- which is what we’ll always do best.