When it comes to motivation, OlyFed’s Chief Credit Officer Carrie Whisler has a simple motto: Cowgirl Up! Whisler was OlyFed’s first Commercial Relationship Manager when she joined the team in 2015. She’s now Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer and she daily juggles economic development, small business relationships, the SPSCC Foundation, recalcitrant cows and hardworking horses.
Whisler’s up, getting coffee and looking at multiple business and economic blogs to see what’s going on locally, regionally and nationally. “We have so many customers who have construction projects, small businesses or nonprofit organizations that serve our community, I want to stay relevant,” she explains. “Also, I check my calendar and get prepped for the fun day ahead.”
Farm duties for the day. “Turns out that cows and horses aren’t concerned about your schedule, but they do want you to stay on their schedule,” she chuckles. After they’re tended, it’s time for a workout and getting ready for the office.
Executive call at OlyFed. This is a habit the team started during COVID-19 that has continued. “It’s really important that our executive officers at OlyFed know what is going on across the Association and also with our employees,” says Whisler. The call facilitates open communication and keeps stressors at a minimum.
Now it’s time for the commercial team meeting. They discuss today’s lending environment and keep both lending and closing teams on the same page so everyone can provide excellent customer service throughout. Since loans can take anywhere from 30 days to 6 months, the teams work to anticipate changes and customer needs at every step of the process.
Coffee at Fog and Fern with City of Lacey Deputy Mayor Malcolm Miller to talk economic development. “I have the honor of serving on the board for the Thurston Economic Development Council and we talked about the amazing opportunities to support and grow the Lacey community and our surrounding county,” says Whisler. “Want to grab coffee and tell me what’s happening in your area? Say the word! It’s really important that we stay relevant in our community, and we support our nonprofits. I’m the incoming president for EDC, which provides resources for businesses to be successful, moving our county forward with economic development projects like the Agriculture Park, conversations on development and how to best support and grow our business base.”
Working lunch in downtown Centralia with Business Lender Scott Gunther. They visited buildings being remodeled getting ready for brand new tenants. “One of our strengths at OlyFed is being local and supporting small businesses as they get established and grow,” she says. “Our lending relationships are in Thurston, Mason, Lewis counties and their surrounding areas. We love having a diverse group of businesses that we serve.”
On the road with Business Relationship Manager Aron Dowell. “At OlyFed we have a full suite of business deposit products to help support the cash flow needs of the local business owner,” Whisler explains. “Need help figuring out ACH to make it easy to pay your monthly expenses or collect from your customers? We’ve got a solution! No time to get to the bank? Although we love seeing our customers’ smiling faces, we know entrepreneurs are busy so we can get them set up with remote deposit capture. We’re also rolling out a new service called Positive Pay, which aids in safeguarding against fraud.”
Planning session for the SPSCC Foundation Party with a Purpose. As a Foundation board member, Whisler is proud of the work they do helping students achieve all their graduation goals. In 2022 alone, the Foundation awarded more than $660,000 in student scholarships.
Tacos and networking at an event with OlyFed’s Commercial Banking Manager Chuck Hoeschen. Hoeschen specializes in helping business owners acquire real estate for their business, working on projects from the ground up.
Now it’s time for what Whisler calls “my after 5 job!” Back into the arena with the cows, training her horses for the evening. Then home to start things over, with plenty of cowgirl spunk and spirit, bright and early the next morning.
Have questions about how OlyFed can help your business grow? Email Whisler today and she’ll be happy to provide guidance, advice, products tailored to your specific needs and tools for the future. Or stop into any OlyFed branch and see how they’ve helped others just like you since opening their doors more than 100 years ago. Whatever your financial needs, OlyFed and managers like Whisler are tirelessly working towards the future.