The bank will honor her accomplishments Aug. 18 at the Keith Street branch where she works.
Murray is the customer service officer at the bank.
“I thought about retirement, but I’m not ready for it because I am afraid with all the busy days and all the customer traffic and everything I would just be bored [without it], so I’m not ready for retirement,” Murray said.
Murray said what she enjoys most about her job is meeting and helping customers.
Besides providing a needed income, Murray’s career has given her opportunities to stay busy and expand her knowledge of the industry.
"When I started out at Cleveland National I was taking a business course across the street at a business college," Murray said.
She said the bank drew her attention. She walked in and applied for a job.
"I just walked into Cleveland National, being very green at 19 — had never been in a job or an interview — and filled out an application. I didn't know for what kind of position. I didn't know what the position meant at 19 years old," Murray said.
The position available involved double-checking, or “proofing,” all of the bank tellers’ work.
She was asked to come back for an interview.
“I was anxious,” Murray said.
Murray said the interview questions were specific and direct, although some were not work-related.
“I started out at a phenomenal salary … at the time it was good money for me,” Murray said.
Technology has come a long way throughout Murray’s career. When she started at Cleveland National she used “an old archaic proof machine.” The machine required the operator to reach up to press the buttons.
“If you made an error, you had to complement the error out. In other words, if you keyed in 10 and it should have been 100, you had to figure out how many nines it took to reverse that out,” Murray said.
Technology advanced to a simpler machine with a full keyboard, and then the 10-key system.
After working in proof transit for 13 years, Murray transferred to the bookkeeping department as assistant bookkeeper. Later, she transferred to the accounting department.
“I very much enjoyed that area because it was so detailed, and I enjoy detail work. It required a lot of research … and knowledge,” Murray said.
Later, Cleveland National merged with First American National Bank.
After working behind the scenes for 25 years, Murray’s only option to stay with the bank was a teller position in the bank’s busiest branch.
“They trained me for two weeks on how to greet my customers, how to handle money, and I didn’t want the customers,” Murray said.
This changed as she became more comfortable with the position.
Now, she enjoys working directly with those who come into the bank.
“I found out that I’m a people person. I had to grow into it, though,” Murray said.
She describes that first day as a teller as “about the scariest thing I’ve ever endured.”
She has also had the opportunity to get to know her customers.
“You’re either a banking person, a beautician, a minister or a bartender, and somebody is going to tell you all of their secrets,” Murray said. “You’re their confidant, someone they trust.”
She said there were some customers she would see every day. Others she would see maybe once a month.
“Then you go to Walmart and you see these same people, and they don’t recognize you because you are out of place,” Murray said.
In 1992, she became the head teller at another branch of the bank.
“That got to be overwhelming,” Murray said.
When an opportunity opened up to work with the bank’s corporate side, she took it. The position was later transferred to a Chattanooga office and Murray moved to customer service in order to stay in Cleveland.
In 2011, Murray became the customer service officer.
“I had worked so many years, I thought I was ready to be an officer,” Murray said.
Of all the positions, she has held she has most enjoyed her current job and working in the accounting department.
“The people that I work with are fabulous, we have a good rapport,” Murray said. “The one word I love most of all is teamwork.”
She said it was the team she works with that makes the job enjoyable.
When not at the bank, Murray likes writing “my own form of poetry, reading, and I’m a word person. I love words.”
“If I write a poem and give it to someone, they are usually going to have to get Webster’s (dictionary) in order to read it,” Murray said.
She said she likes to travel the United States, and also enjoys doing small art projects. She hopes to one day travel to the Western states where her mother’s family is from.
Southern Heritage Bank will also celebrate Georgia Gann’s 53 years in the industry on Aug. 18 at the Georgetown Road Office. An article about Gann will be featured in that day’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.