Compliment Letter to SunTrust CEO for Branch Employees

It isn’t often I write a letter like this for a group of people but I was happy to do it.


May 13, 2011

James M. Wells III, Chairman & CEO
William H. Rogers, Jr., President & COO
c/o Suntrust Banks, Inc.
303 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

Mr. Wells & Mr. Rogers:

I wanted to take a moment to do something a bit unorthodox. I am making a formal compliment by writing this unsolicited letter to give high and proper recognition to the staff of the Bradley Park Publix branch in Columbus, Georgia.

The current branch manager is headed by Patrick O”hara. The current assistant branch manager is Kim Guzman. I would also like to recognize the prior assistant manager, Joe Theriault, who has since moved on to another Suntrust branch but fully deserves recognition for his tenure at Bradley Park Publix. The tellers/customer service staff include: Glorimar Irizarry, Amy Mills, and Kim Wilkes.

The reason I have taken the time to write this unorthodox letter is that too often complaints rule the day. I believe it is quite infrequent for someone, especially a customer, to say “good job each and every time I see you” in a meaningful and impactful way. I know enough about the banking business to know that being on the “front lines” can often be a thankless job for them which is one reason why there is so much turnover in the industry.

But for this distinguished staff at Bradley Park Publix, you need to know that at least one of their business customers cares enough to write about them and appreciates what they do day in and day out without fail. Working at a Suntrust Publix branch can be challenging due to their limited workspace and the high amount of walk-by traffic. They are, without fail, always “onstage” compared to their traditional branch counterparts. Even when there are no customers in line, they are still being indirectly observed from afar by virtue of the Publix store environment.

As a general rule, I try to conduct my business respectfully and fairly. I am friendly but generally stay removed and distant. Having said that, I do not think the staff knows they have won me over during their individual and collective tenures there. I truly like each of these individual employees as people and I respect them for who they are.

I remember most of my first meetings with them and have watched them grow and evolve wonderfully. For example, when Patrick assumed his position as branch manager, I remember him reaching out to call me and leave me a voicemail to come and meet him. I remember how a fellow staff member spoke highly of Kim Guzman when she first came over from another branch. I remember Glorimar Irizarry during her initial training and how she has since evolved to be a very capable and confident teller. I remember teasing Kim Wilkes how there are just too many Kim”s at this branch to keep track of. I remember Amy for her confidence.

Recently, I was happy with the decision to promote Kim Guzman internally as replacement for the departure of Joe Theriault. As for Joe, he has since departed the branch but he was tremendously upbeat and always of great service attitude. His enthusiasm is infectious.

As a team, I think they are phenomenal and they seem to exude this magical work chemistry when they are together. If they have disagreements or conflict with one another, they conceal them well and I am unaware of them. They are all friendly and respectful to one another and that work chemistry seems to translate well to their customer interactions.

As far as I can remember in my recent business history, I consider them my banking “dream team” in that I feel that if I call any of them, they know and recognize me. I feel they take me seriously and treat my requests or issues with priority and importance. The fact that they work in such close quarters to one another but also so close in physical proximity to their customers appears to work for them. In most cases, I would expect that close quarters and close proximity to customers would, in fact, make them more stressed in their positions.

As I conclude this letter, I respectfully request that my letter be considered for any future career opportunities your employees may seek. I would also request that you pass a copy of this letter on to them. In the spirit of giving formal recognition, I feel that Patrick O”hara, Joe Theriault, Kim Guzman, Glorimar Irizarry, Amy Mills, and Kim Wilkes (individually and as a team) should be recognized for their ongoing, outstanding customer service. I appreciate them very much.

In the meantime, I look forward to continuing to visiting them in my normal course of business as I always do several times per month.


Matthew Chan

Cc: Allen Taber, Area President

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