FCBank president values relationships over transactions

Jess Deyo
Columbus CEO
FCBank President Jenny Saunders

FCBank President Jenny Saunders has a simple mantra when it comes to her work: Banking should be more about the conversation and less about the transaction.

In 1984, Saunders made her start as a teller at the now-closed Equitable Savings while she worked toward her political science degree from Ohio State University. She didn’t expect to fall in love with banking, she says, and to her father’s surprise, she would not go on to become the first woman attorney general (she has no hard feelings toward Janet Reno, though).

Saunders knew she had a love for talking with people, and listening, but she didn’t fully understand the potential those values had in banking until she traveled to Chicago for her work with Household Bank.

“Being in a position where you could help people really meet their financial goals and dreams was something that really excited me,” Saunders says.

Saunders went on to work at Huntington Bank for nearly a decade and PNC Bank, where she served as senior vice president before becoming FCBank’s third president four years ago.

With headquarters in Worthington, FCBank is a division of Clearfield, Pennsylvania-based CNB Bank and has six locations in the Columbus region.

Under Saunders’ leadership some big changes have come to pass. Most recently, FCBank’s Grandview Heights-area branch celebrated its grand reopening, just a year after its grand opening in August 2020. Due to COVID-19, the bank’s lobbies have remained closed until recently.

The West Fifth Avenue branch is unique for its “Smart Financial Center” model, Saunders says. Instead of the standard teller lines, it features round tables and chairs, a “living room” with a couch, and various areas to sit and talk. The focus is on interpersonal communication and relationship-building, not just a transaction.

Also included is the enhanced teller machine, or ETM, which allows customers to talk with a banker through an interactive video before, during and after traditional banking hours. The Grandview model is replicated in the bank’s Bucyrus branch and one day will be in all its locations, Saunders says.

FCBank plans to open a seventh branch in Westerville in 2022 in the former Flowerama space on South State Street, marking the bank’s third branch with the new design.

Saunders and her team are also working on a mobile banking model, which will allow FCBank to travel to underbanked areas, and a “Fresh Start” checking account designed to help those with low to moderate incomes.

“We are committed to those communities, both from a financial perspective and a time perspective,” Saunders says.