EPCOR Scholarship Winners Return from the Payments Institute

This year, EPCOR awarded two Payments Institute scholarships to Tara McGlocklin, AAP, NCP of First Western Bank and Sara Sullivan, AAP, NCP of City National Bank & Trust.

At their financial institutions, Tara and Sara are certainly busy!

At First Western Bank, Tara is a Deposit Operations Officer and oversees the department. Her department does all things payments related, including cashletters, wires, ACH files, EFT disputes (card & ACH) and exceptions (NSF & rejected transaction processing along with incoming & outgoing return items). Tara explained, “We do not outsource, all our data processing is in-house. My job is to make sure all daily processes are completed timely, accurately, and in adherence to rules & regs (being the only AAP/NCP on staff, I am the resident “expert” for this subject matter). I personally handle all disputes including ACH, debit card and check. I also handle subpoenas, garnishments, levies and reclamations.” Tara is the go-to problem solver. She went on to say, “I’ve been in banking for 20 years and something new comes up daily, it’s always an adventure!”

Scholarship winners

Sara (left) and Tara (right) at the conference.

At National Bank & Trust, Sara oversees the ACH and check exception item processing (EIP), as well as many other back-office processes on the operations side to include stop payments, Reg CC funds holds and garnishment/levies, to name a few. Tara also recently took on the customer information file and document management departments, and she feels she has a lot to learn. She explained, “My staff is very knowledgeable in our daily processes which allows me to spend more time keeping up with new processes and procedures, regulations and new and upcoming changes within the bank. It seems I’m always busy and learning something new every day; however, making myself available to staff and customers is a key priority.”

When it comes to the Payments Institute, both scholarship recipients had a great experience.

When asked about the Payments Institute, Tara exclaimed, “My experience at the Payments Institute was fantastic! I attended the Master’s Program and enjoyed the courses, all of which were informative and relevant. I was able to network with people from all over the country, and even a few from abroad. A wide range of professions was represented, from corporates to examiners to credit unions and a variety of positions in banking. This gave me new perspectives on many subjects.” She continued, “The hot topic is faster payments, so it was interesting to learn about where the industry might be headed. The Payments Institute is exceptionally informative, the sessions are well presented, the faculty is awesome, and the people you’ll meet and contacts you’ll make are invaluable. You will be able to take back with you and apply the knowledge gained. Well worth the trip!”

Sara echoed similar sentiments to Tara. She shared, “My experience at the Payments Institute was awesome. From day one to the end of graduation, everyone from the faculty, presenters, other students and even the hotel staff were incredible. I felt the comradery between the newbies and the experienced individuals was amazing. There was so much information to be learned in the classes, as well as what was taken away during discussions that occurred during dinner, breaks and downtime.” She continued, “The biggest thing I learned is that no matter how big or small your institution or company, everyone is dealing with the same questions. There were so many different answers, all right for their particular needs, and so many ideas to be shared.”

Both scholarship recipients urge that if you’re interested in the Payments Institute, you should absolutely attend!

Sara shared for anyone considering attending the Payments Institute next year, “GO FOR IT!” She feels that you will never regret it and it is money well spent for you and your organization. As for applying for the scholarship, again, “GO FOR IT.” Sara says, “It is easy to fill out and submit and worth the time and effort! If you receive a scholarship, you would be saving your institution money which maybe could be used for other educational opportunities down the road! Selected or not, you are showing your institution that you want to learn and are dedicated to bettering yourself which in turn is better for them.”

Be on the Lookout for 2020 Applications!

Tara and Sara clearly enjoyed their scholarship opportunity. Next year, it could be YOU! Watch for next year’s scholarship application and apply for a 2020 the Payments Institute scholarship.