Imagine leaving a utility bill statement and payment in a bank lobby, only to have a teller discover it and drop it off for you. Or think of the elderly aunt struggling to get out of her car, only to be helped by her friendly bank teller.

Now picture Diane Cox, a teller in the Hamburg, Pa., branch of First National Bank of Leesport, Pa.

An Albuquerque technology company that specializes in computer systems recently named Ms. Cox its "teller of the year." Judges chose the winner from written nominations from banks nationwide.

Ms. Cox, teller team leader at the Hamburg branch of $308 million-asset First National Bank of Leesport, said customer interaction is the highlight of her work day.

"This is what I was hired to do. I didn't feel like I was doing anything extra," said Ms. Cox.

But the something extra is what prompted her supervisor to nominate her, and the judges to select her.

"One of the things I looked at was not only skills, but the customer service aspect," said Robert Klamp, a contest judge and president of International Bank of Chicago. "Business retention in the teller area is very important. I thought Diane had above-average ability to attract and also retain customers."

The award - which includes a $1,000 prize for the recipient - is the first of its kind sponsored by More Inc. The software company plans to give the honor yearly, a company spokeswoman said.

The Leesport bank received a $1,000 product credit from More. Ms. Cox will appear in a More advertisement that will run this summer in Bank Technology News.

What will the teller of the year do with her reward money? "I just put it in my savings for right now," Ms. Cox said. "I'm probably going to use it next year for a trip for my husband and myself.''

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