It's been tough being a banker over the past year, when "bank" has often been considered "a four-letter word," says LeeAnne Linderman of Zions First National Bank. "This has been the most challenging year of my career, and the reason has been because of all the misinformation out there with the public," says Linderman, executive vice president of retail banking at Zions, the flagship unit of the $52.9 billion-asset Zions Bancorp in Salt Lake City.
Part of the challenge of Linderman's job has been making sure that her front-line employees, often part-timers working their way through college, understand the issues underlying the banking crisis - and how exactly Zions has been affected. Her team accomplished this through Zions' Intranet site, where employees were also encouraged to e-mail Linderman questions about topics that puzzled them. Linderman also instructed her branch managers to proactively call their best clients to reassure them about Zions' soundness.