GBA Member Profile

Christa McDonald
Vice President of Operations
Waycross Bank & Trust
Chair, GBA Operations & Technology Committee

Q: What are some career lessons you learned early on that you still use today?
Don’t be afraid to try new things that may not be part of your expertise.  If you have the opportunity to help in other areas where you work, take the opportunity to learn something new.  Take pride in what you do.  People notice and appreciate that.

Q:  What’s your quick pitch to young people who may be considering getting into banking as a career?
There are many opportunities outside of the traditional teller, CSR or loan officer roles, so don’t count it out until you explore what banking is now (not what it was when your parents were growing up).  I have been in Operations or Information Technology at various banks since I graduated college, and all of my roles have been very different.  I couldn’t imagine not being part of banking.  Being in Operations and IT has given me the opportunity to learn all areas of banking.  There are a lot of exciting changes going on in banking right now, so at least give it a look.

Q: As an Ops/IT professional, what are you focusing on this year to improve the overall efficiency and/or security of the bank?
We will be focusing on using technology to streamline our processes and improve efficiency in all areas of the bank - projects like implementing Cash Recyclers at our teller line and continuing to evolve our Interactive Teller Machine.  Knowledge is power, so if we can make sure our team and our customers are prepared with digital knowledge we can help keep their accounts and information safe. We will also be cross training our CSRs and tellers to create more of a Universal Banker role to allow us to better serve our customers.

Q: What’s the most significant Ops/IT challenge you anticipate encountering this year?
Training – or making sure our team is up to speed on several projects we began last year. Technology is moving so fast, and while we can implement the nuts and bolts we have to make sure our team of bankers are comfortable using them. Any time you have major changes in your platforms and processes, it can be a strain on employees.  You try not to overwhelm anyone, but instead show them how these changes will help them perform their job more efficiently.  Communication is a key factor.  I try to keep employees informed of the projects being implemented, how the changes affect them, and the progress of the implementation.

Q: How have you and your bank benefited from your participation on GBA Committees and at GBA Events throughout the year?
Participating in the Operations and Technology Committee along with other GBA training has allowed me to meet peers I can reach out to when looking at new products and services or to ask questions about how they handle daily tasks and processes.  I will be attending Georgia Banking School in May.  I am looking forward to learning about other areas of the bank that I have not had the opportunity to work in.  GBA has been a valuable resource in my career.

Q: What is one thing your WB&T co-workers and GBA friends and peers might not know about you? 
My husband and I enjoy attending live music events. We prefer smaller venues and festivals.  Several of our favorite venues are in the Atlanta area.