Employee profile: Brenda Hendrickson

 

Brenda Hendrickson will have worked at GRSB for 25 years as of February 2014, and as she put it, “I was hired to work in the bookkeeping department in February 1989, and I never left the basement.”

Brenda is the manager of the item processing department, a function that is critical to Grand Rapids State Bank and virtually every other bank.  The item processing function is the backbone of nearly every process incorporated in the bank.  As each paper or electronic check transaction is processed within the bank, it’s her department’s responsibility to ensure the item is processed accurately.  Once a check is processed, various general ledger accounts are debited and credited within the bank before the item leaves for processing by other financial institutions.  Brenda manages the front-end of a process that updates all bank and customer records once the transactions are processed, so the item processing function is vital to the bank’s seamless operations.

“I like every single thing about my job,” explained Brenda. “I really liked math in school and had a great teacher, and we all know that everything revolves around math.  Working in Item Processing is like working on a math puzzle that has to balance to zero every day.”

During Brenda’s years at Bigfork High School, her career goals were to either become an attorney or do something with math.  After college she ended up with a paralegal degree and worked for local attorneys Keith and Warren Anderson, which she enjoyed very much.

Then one day, almost on a whim, she walked into the bank and asked Craig Wilcox if there were any job openings.  Craig responded by asking how soon she could start, and she replied, “Monday.”  “I’ll see you then,” was Craig’s response, and the rest is history.

Brenda appreciates that Grand Rapids State Bank is truly a family bank.  “The way this bank treats its employees has been very important to me over the years with different situations that have come up,” said Brenda.

“As the Item Processing manager, I’ve seen a lot of technology changes over the years and have completed more system upgrades then I can count.”

The technology enhancements have resulted in a smaller department to oversee.  When Brenda was appointed department manager, there were six people in the department.  With the addition of check imaging technology, the function was slimmed down to four people; there are now only two people in the department.

“There are substantially fewer paper checks processed today than there were even seven years ago,” Brenda said.  “That has an impact on the volume and kind of work we do.

“With new technology in place, I took the opportunity to become a Certified Fraud Examiner and have used that knowledge to help the bank and our customers fight fraud.  It’s been a real complement to the work I do in Item Processing.”

Brenda offered a tip to illustrate why paying attention to your bank statements is important.  “Even if there is only a $.01 (one cent) charge on your credit card that you can’t account for or don’t know where the charge is from, what does that mean to a fraudster.  Think of it this way: If 1,000,000 people got a fraudulent charge on their credit card for a penny and didn’t do anything about it, do you realize that would give the fraudster a $10,000 amount free and clear?  Please be sure to reconcile your bank and credit card statements monthly.”

When Brenda is not at work, she likes spending time at their cabin doing nothing but drinking coffee by the fire and looking at the tall grass blowing in the breeze.  She is a self-described “flower garden-crazy nut” with multiple beds and a garden full of fresh vegetables to process.  

Brenda and her husband have three grown children and seven “make-our –hearts-smile” grandchildren with whom they spend as much time as possible.  The grandchildren love to play and they keep her very busy. One of her grandchildren, Jack, now aged four-and-a-half and in good health, has had to deal with severe health issues since birth.  “That was extremely stressful for the whole family,” Brenda added reflectively.  “I can’t say enough good about Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital.  They saved his life several times.”

Brenda’s appreciation for GRSB’s family-focused culture is easy to understand.

  cabin

Brenda's "make-our-hearts-smile" grandchildren and a view from her cabin are two of her favorite images.

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