She started at the bank as a teenager — now she manages the place

By ALEX BELD - Daily News

June 23, 2017

Melanie Reish smiles as she poses for a portrait Wednesday afternoon at the Westbury Bank she manages on South Main Street in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News

For nearly six years Melanie Reish has managed the Westbury Bank branch in downtown West Bend, but her time there started about 15 years ago.

Still in high school, the now 33year-old got her start at the bank through the apprenticeship program at the West Bend High Schools. She left briefly for her first year of college at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before returning and working her way up in the company.

“I didn’t think I was going to stay in banking,” Reish said. “I actually wanted to go into criminal profiling.”

In 2006 Reish earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Although she isn’t in that field she feels she uses the degree every day with tellers and customers. During her time at the bank she’s been a teller, worked in customer service and quickly became assistant branch manager, a position she held just more than three years before stepping into her current role.

“I’ve had a wide range of responsibility,” Reish said. She also said when she started there it was West Bend Savings Bank.

The mother of two is also heavily involved in the community she grew up in and serves on the West Bend Chamber of Commerce Leadership Board as the president elect on the executive committee. She is also on the events and marketing committee.

“I really just look forward to seeing a difference in the next generation of leaders,” Reish said about being a part of the board.

She also tries to get her staff to volunteer as a group and volunteers for the West Bend School District as a chaperone. She doesn’t get it all done on her own, though.

“I have a really good support team, both professionally and personally,” Reish said. She said at home her parents are instrumental in helping with her son and daughter.

She enjoys working for the bank and looks for a community connection through volunteering. In both areas it seems to be passion that drives her.

“Well, I really love Westbury Bank,” Reish said. She said she volunteered with the Rotary Club in the area, but moved on saying “I think I had to find something I was passionate about.”

As she helps her staff grow and expand in their roles at the bank she looks for a similar drive in them.

She said in the banking industry, other than compassion and sincerity, “you kind of have to have that personality to put yourself out there.

“I kind of want to see that from people,” she said.

Though 15 years of working in one company isn’t seen as common as it once was, it’s something else Reish looks for. She also aims to give employees the tools for success to foster growth from within the company, similar to her experience.