Kemnitz retires after 36 years with First National Bank

Julie Kemnitz was honored by her employers, First National Bank in Philip, with a retirement party, Friday, March 25. She began in 1975 as a part-time secretary, and worked her way up to the vice president of consumer loans.

"Because it's time. The government regulations are for the younger people to understand, and my grandchildren are growing up so fast," said Julie Kemnitz about why she is retiring after 35 years and 51 weeks of working for First National Bank in Philip.

Kemnitz, the vice president of consumer loans "for a long time now," started out in 1975 as a part-time secretary, working mainly in the loan department. "Everything was on the job training. I went to full time, in charge of the student loan portfolio, then they started giving me some of the consumer loans," said Kemnitz. "I kind of evolved into the banking business through good teachers. When you learn from people you work with, it is so much better. It's hands on! I like them being available for questions and overseeing as you go."

"When I started out they had bookkeeping, sorting and everything all by hand. We did deposits and loans through the telephone line to Rapid City. Then the bank got its own computer and we did everything on site. Now, there is a computer on every desk. Though I'm a little old-fashioned and still type my own envelopes," said Kemnitz. "We have do it all copy machines instead of the old mimeographs. We went from an old overhead projector to a machine you can show almost anything on."

"Our bank is at the forefront of technology, and it has required training," said Kemnitz. She has had week long trainings in compliance and in consumer lending, and many day or two and over the computer trainings in order to stay up to date. "When you stop and think how many years you work; I was one of the youngest ones here and now I am the oldest," said Kemnitz.

Before 1975, Kemnitz had worked for the Bureau of Reclamation in an office that was actually inside Big Bend Dam. Now, after 46 years of marriage, three children and eight grandchildren, Kemnitz said, "I've raised most of my family while working here, and these people are part of my family now. It's been a good ride. I'm going to miss these people a lot, though I will come down for coffee every now and then, and get them shaped up."

"My mother will be 93. I just decided to spend more time, quality time, with her. I plan to be busy with my family first, then we will see later."