26 years of dedicated service, 1 heartfelt goodbye
Cyndie Higgins, a Milwaukee native and loan officer at Great Midwest Bank’s Bayside location, is retiring from Great Midwest Bank after 26 years of service.
Where it all began
Higgins re-entered the workforce as a teller with Great Midwest Bank in 1988 after spending 12 years as a stay-at-home mom. The job was perfect – something she felt qualified for that was also close to home.
“I found an ad in the Milwaukee Journal for a teller position with Great Midwest Bank located on South 27th Street,” Higgins said. “I phoned and made an appointment with Ms. Arlene Schramkowski, the H.R. person at Great Midwest. She was so friendly and welcoming as she described the bank and my duties; I knew I really wanted to join the Great Midwest Bank team.”
In 2001, she became a loan officer, where her colleagues and clients quickly became family.
“[My favorite aspect of my job has been] working with the people – not only my colleagues at the bank but those I have met as clientele and representatives of other banks and community organizations,” she said. “So many have become family.”
In fact, Higgins says her favorite memory of her time at Great Midwest Bank was when a “grateful customer” sent her one dozen long-stemmed roses.
A career centered on service
During her tenure at Great Midwest Bank, Higgins has nurtured her passion for working with nonprofits and individuals in low-to-moderate income areas.
“My work has centered on the first-time home buyer, [and] low and moderate-income borrowers for the last 15 years. There are many opportunities to assist these borrowers in purchasing their homes, however, I find most of this information is the best-kept secret,” Higgins said.
Higgins, along with community-based organizations such as ACTS Housing, Housing Resources, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, Revitalize Milwaukee, Clark Square and Take Root Milwaukee, is trying to spread the word. Several times a year, Higgins, alongside colleague Ana Butschli, would set up informational tables to help answer questions and suggest plans of action for those in attendance. She also represented Great Midwest Bank at several “lender/loaner” classes for potential home buyers.
Her favorite memory of service, however, comes from a cold and rainy day during a Block Build facilitated by Revitalize Milwaukee.
“The people assembled had high spirits and worked as if it were a clear day,” Higgins said. “The homeowners were so grateful for the free home improvements, many of which actually changed their lives. One gentleman needed a wheelchair ramp so he could leave his home without the help of others. Shortly after completion, he was out and about in the neighborhood; he told us it had been years since he was able to just sit in his own backyard.”
Cyndie’s next steps
The thing she’s most looking forward to about retirement?
“No schedules!” she said. “Having the freedom to do what I want, when I want, for as long as I want. Places to go, people to see, enjoying it all with my husband of 46 years, Mark.”
“I am very fortunate to have found that advertisement in the Want Ads of the Milwaukee Journal so many years ago. I have never had one day where I did not want to go to work. I love my job. I will miss my colleagues and the many people I have had the honor to meet and work with throughout my career. Never forget to treat everyone as you would like to be treated.”
Cyndie, thank you for everything you’ve done for Great Midwest Bank. We will miss you dearly but hope you enjoy retirement!