One of the reasons Thomas Schlueter requires his employees at Keystone Community Bank to answer every phone call to the bank personally is because he remembers his mother’s calls to her bank.
“The third of every month, my mother called her bank to verify that her Social Security check had arrived,” Schlueter says. “She had Parkinson’s so it wasn’t easy for her to make the call. I’m really proud that we
answer our phones personally here rather than using a recording, and when people come into the bank, we try to call everyone by name and take the time to chat with them.”
Schlueter’s parents, both emigrants from Hamburg, Germany, spoke English with a German accent, which meant they faced yet another communication challenge in their new homeland. Their son, who became president and CEO of Keystone Community Bank and vice president of Firstbank Corp., in 2005, says he thinks of them when doing business. Banking, he says, is not just about numbers. It’s about people. And that quality attracted Schlueter to the field.
Although he earned an accounting degree at Western Michigan University in 1978 (after attending Portage Northern High School), he has worked in banking for his entire career.
“During my days as a bank teller, I worked a drive-through window at Maple Hill Mall,” Schlueter recalls. “I learned about people during that time. A teller sees all sorts of ...