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(Not) Just Getting a Signature

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Header photo: Joe Demester in front of Altru Hospital 

Sara Gullickson was in a pickle. She’s a personal banker at Choice Financial, and she had an important loan that needed to be signed and closed that day. The problem was that some of the signers were at her office in Grafton, and some were in Grand Forks — almost an hour away. On top of that, they were in the ICU visiting their mother, who had unexpectedly fallen ill.

It was very time sensitive,” Sara said. “We needed to take care of it as soon as possible.

After assuring her customers that all would be taken care of, Sara flipped through the paperwork and knew right away who to contact for help.

“Joe is the bomb,” boasted Sara.

“I didn’t even think about who I could ask. I already knew who I was calling for the favor,” she said. “Joe!”

Joe Demester is a Universal Banker at Choice Financial in Grand Forks.

“Joe is the bomb,” boasted Sara. “He’s timely, knowledgeable, and he knows what’s going on. He gets it.”

What’s more, Sara knew that Joe would be willing to drop what he was doing to help out her customer, and had the skills to navigate a tricky situation. His mission? To print the loan documents, drive to Altru Hospital, and find the family in the ICU to get the papers signed.

“I put myself in the customer’s shoes, and I thought, ‘I would want somebody to come to me rather than me leaving my family member to come to them’,” he said. “It was a good opportunity to put PeopleFirst.”

After talking everything over with Sara, he made a few phone calls to find out where the ICU was located. When he arrived, he was able to find the family right away and start a conversation. Turns out Joe and one of the sons went to high school together and talked about shared memories. He spoke with the other relatives too, inquiring about their mother and how things were going.

“We talked about life in general,” Joe said. “ I wanted to relieve them a little from the stress of the situation.”

“And that’s why Joe is the bomb,” Sara chimed in. “He understands that those relationships, quality time, and intention are important for our customers.”

“A bank doesn’t need to do this, but you guys did it,” the family told Joe, at the hospital. “That means a lot.”

With the signed papers in hand, Joe went back to the office to scan them and send them back to Sara. He even put the original hard copies in the mail and had them sent the next morning. Sara was happy, and so were the customers.

“A bank doesn’t need to do this, but you guys did it,” the family told Joe, at the hospital. “That means a lot.”

A multitude of Choice’s core values come into play with Joe’s actions, Sara said. ‘Know when to ask for help, and know when to offer it’, ‘Complete work timely and accurately’, and ‘Commit to our customers with undivided attention’ are a few that she named.

“I can’t count the number of core values that he hits on a regular basis,” she said. “I think it’s all of them!”