Citizens Union Bank has been serving Kentucky communities for 128 years, and that’s a commitment they take seriously. Whether the organization is sponsoring local sports teams or raising money for neighborhood charities, giving back is an important part of their mission.

Says Vice President of Human Resources Melissa Banta, “We always try to do anything we can to help our communities thrive.” And one key way the organization helps is through a company-wide outreach effort: a dedicated half-day of volunteerism each year on Columbus Day.

Branches and departments select a charitable organization within their community for the annual project, and employees donate four hours of their paid holiday to spend time volunteering. “Our service initiatives have really grown over the last 20 years,” says Banta. “We’re in all four corners of our community now.” In fact, she notes, “Many of our employees give more than [four hours] and return to these organizations on their own time.”

Employees find fulfillment through giving

At the Simpsonville Branch, this year’s day of service enabled reps in the Customer Care Center to spend time at Open Door of Hope, a men’s homeless shelter and recovery program. Customer Care Center Manager Spring Smith-Yocum explains, “Their need during our service day was for us to beautify the campus.” While completing tasks like painting the shelter’s front steps, says Smith-Yocum, “I was privileged to see some of the men there and felt very tied to how we could help them.” For other reps on the team, Smith Yocum shares, this service project was “especially eye opening, because Open Door of Hope is located centrally in our community.”

Smith-Yocum, who began her career at Citizens Union Bank eight years ago as a teller, has overseen the Customer Care Center department since May of 2014. She first met the executive director of Open Door of Hope, John Walker, during her participation in Leadership Shelby. The nine-month leadership development program, which is conducted by the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, promotes awareness and creative action for community betterment.

After learning about Open Door of Hope’s mission, Smith-Yocum organized her team to donate Christmas items and canned goods around the holidays. Once she was familiar with the shelter’s needs, Smith-Yocum was eager to return with her reps during their service day. “It means everything to me that CUB has designated this time to provide community service,” she says. “It’s fulfilling to be able to give back.”

Volunteer opportunities create openings for fun

Blakenbaker Branch Manager Tanisha House agrees, “I think it’s very important to offer our time and affection for people.” House, who also began her career with the bank as a teller before a series of promotions led to her current role, adds, “It’s really helped us tremendously too.” The yearly service days, she says, “bring us together as a group and give us an opportunity to help those in need.”


Making time to give back and showing up for the community is synchronous with the organization’s broader mission. “Volunteering our time to the community is pretty much what we stand for,” House says. “If we do a great job in our day-to-day at the office, we have an opportunity to connect with others and help them on a more personal level.”

For the past couple of years, House and her colleagues have fulfilled their service at the private non-profit Cedar Lake. The team selected this particular organization, House says, “simply because of what it stands for—offering assistance to adults with disabilities in our community.” The time bank employees spend there feels like something more significant than merely a volunteer effort, though. “It’s more like we’re spending time with our friends at Cedar Lake,” says House. “We have fun, and it’s fun for them.”

Citizens Union is involved with plenty of other community-giving programs throughout the remainder of the year as well. Melissa Jones, branch manager of the Elizabethtown bank, has helped raise money in the past for a donation to Feeding America for Hardin County’s BackPack program, which supplies at-risk children with supplemental snacks and food for times when school meals won’t be available, such as evenings and over the weekend.

The bank has served many other groups across Louisville and the rest of Kentucky, including Operation Care, Dare to Care Food Bank, Serenity Center, and Shelby County Parks.

Be part of a team that truly cares about people

Citizens Union is comprised of bankers, loan officers and number crunchers, but a big part of what they do is work with people. Serving those in the community, whether by helping someone secure a home loan or secure their next meal — remains at the center of CUB’s ethos.

If you’re looking to be part of a team that stays involved with their customers and their community, Citizens Union Bank is a perfect fit.


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