Bank bids farewell to mainstay Elaine Smith
When she first joined the staff of the original Bank of the Islands nearly three decades ago, Elaine Smith had no idea that she would eventually become one of the businesses’ most beloved and trusted faces.
Following a 29-year career in the banking industry, Smith stepped down from her familiar post at Bank of the Islands on Tuesday afternoon, having spent her final few days before retirement saying farewell to the many friends and co-workers she’s met along the way as well as countless customers who have relied upon her financial expertise and affable personality.
“I’m the last of the original bank’s members to leave,” Smith said on Monday. “Customers followed me from the original Bank of the Islands, then to Community Bank of the Islands, and finally to this Bank of the Islands.”
Smith joined the current Bank of the Islands office as a Customer Service Representative on Sept. 1, 1998. At that time, it first opened in a small storefront on Periwinkle Way, which was its temporary office until less than a year later, when Bank of the Islands moved into its current location.
When she first began her career in banking on Nov. 17, 1980, Smith worked for the first bank on Sanibel – named Bank of the Islands – at the same location.
“I am even sitting in the same place across from the teller line just like many years ago,” she noted with a laugh.
In addition to her banking career, Smith served as a member of the American Business Women’s Association for nine years. She has volunteered annually for Sanibel’s Independence Day parade, dressing up as the Statue of Liberty and proudly holding up the torch for four consecutive years.
In May, Smith announced her intention to retire, hoping to spend as much time taking care of her granddaughter until school begins again in the fall. After that, she said that she wants to do more volunteer work.
“I’ve been pondering a couple of ideas, including working for F.I.S.H.,” she added.
However, she can’t foresee a future without remaining a part of the Sanibel community.
“I know more people on Sanibel than I do in my own neighborhood,” said Smith, who resides in South Fort Myers.
Bank of the islands is planning an “Elaine Day” celebration in December for her customers and friends. An announcement to “Save The Date” will be placed in the bank lobby and sent as statement stuffers in the late fall so our seasonal customers can share in Smith’s excitement.
“Working for this bank is like being part of a family,” she added. “It has been a pleasure working with Geoff and Robbie, who care about the island and all of their employees. I work with a wonderful group of people.”