New Great Plains branch manager feeling right at home

After nearly two months as branch manager of the Hillsboro Great Plains Federal Credit Union, Elizabeth Wine hasn’t encountered many surprises.

“So far, things are really going well and it’s pretty much what I expected,” Wine said. “The staff here is really good.”

Great Plains is a member-owned, not-for-profit business with assets totaling $214,205,324 as of Dec. 31, 2004.

Wine took over the reigns when Kathy Decker retired after 27 years with Great Plain, the last 16 as branch manager.

A 1989 graduate of Larned High School, Wine grew up in tiny Garfield. She attended McPherson College in 1993, eventually graduating with degrees in accounting and bank finance.

While at McPherson College, Wine met her husband, Brent, who hails from Imperial, Neb., and works in the validation department for Hospira Inc. in McPherson.

Wine comes to Hillsboro with 12 years of experience with Great Plains, having begun her career as a teller before being promoted to loan officer in 2001.

She officially took over as branch manager Aug. 1.

Business will continue as usual at the Hillsboro location, Wine said.

“I don’t think members will see any noticeable changes while I’m branch manager,” she said.

Moving from the McPherson office to Hillsboro hasn’t required much adjustment.

“I knew a lot of the employees over here at Hillsboro just from dealing with them on the phone over the years and from our company Christmas parties,” Wine said. “My biggest challenge is getting to know the clientele that this office reaches.”

Wine said her personality makes that challenge less daunting.

“I’m very family and church oriented, I’m very personable and I listen very well,” Wine said. “I try to find the best way to deal with each individual situation.

“I think the best way to remember new people is through repetition and having an open-door policy.”

Wine said several customers have taken advantage of the opportunity to meet her.

“If I’m not busy, I welcome that,” she said. “It’s a good way to get to know more people and to see if we can satisfy their financial needs.”

Wine was officially introduced to the Hillsboro community last Friday with an open house.

Wine said the Hillsboro branch has a unique quality.

“This branch is more of a family-oriented office,” she said. “The staff here gets to know the customers or members here better than at any branch I’ve seen.

“If something comes up in a member’s life, our staff will do their very best to try to help if at all possible.”

Wine said her predecessor helped ease her transition to the Hillsboro branch.

“I came over a couple of times before Kathy retired and she alerted me to a couple of things I needed to know so I didn’t come in totally blind,” Wine said. “I also went to a Chamber meeting with Kathy, and she took me to a few local businesses and introduced me to a few people.”

In her spare time, Wine said she likes to knit, cook and bake, read and spend time with her husband doing yard work.

When Great Plains offered her the branch manager position, Wine said she was a bit surprised.

“But this was a career advancement for me and an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up,” she said. “It makes me feel good that Great Plains has confidence in my abilities as a branch manager.

“My goal here in Hillsboro is to increase our loan volume, increase our savings, checking and CD accounts-in general to see us increase our overall growth,” she said.

“I hope people will come in and give us an opportunity to serve their financial needs.”

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