A 40-Year Journey: Katavatakis looks back on her career at Carter Bank
MARTINSVILLE In 1978,
"I worked in the accounting department doing various administrative and accounting tasks as assigned," Karavatakis said.
Merely five years later, she received a major promotion the first of many.
"In 1983, I earned my first officer position as assistant cashier," Karavatakis said.
From that point, Karavatakis kept moving up the ladder. Four years later, in 1987, she became the vice president and branch manager. In 1999, she became the senior vice president and cashier.
The new millennium held even more opportunities. In 2015, Karavatakis accepted the executive vice president and chief lending officer position. The following year, she became the president and chief administrative and lending officer. In 2017, Karavatakis accepted an elected position as vice chairman of
This year, Karavatakis became the president and chief banking officer, but also celebrated another career milestone 40 years with
Four decades after she started with the company, things aren't the same as they used to be.
"Federal regulations have grown substantially over the years. We have seen the costs of complying with regulations soar and the result has been less capital available for the small business owner to expand or first-time homeowner to get a loan," Karavatakis said. "While this was not the intent, customers especially in small, rural communities have been hurt by over burdensome regulations."
The number of banks has also decreased over the span of her career.
"The fact remains there are nearly 1,500 fewer banks today than there were seven years ago across the country, a trend that may continue until some changes are made that will provide relief," Karavatakis said.
Through 40 years of changes, Karavatakis ensured that those she encountered at
"We have managed to stay resilient and found ways of meeting our customers' needs in spite of regulation and the ups or downs of the economy," Karavatakis said.
The new millennium also came with technological adjustments.
"Customers and businesses want more than face-to-face banking in branches or drive-thrus. They have come to rely on the internet and mobile devices to bank," Karavatakis said. "Because of this, cyber and data security has become top priorities for banks."
One of the major issues people face due to technological advancements presents itself as cyber security threats. Some criminals and scammers steal money through fraud and cyber security vulnerabilities.
"We work 24/7 to protect our customers' information and money," Karavatakis said. "Nowadays, banks must seek out and address vulnerabilities in their own systems and guard against threats that may originate from vendors."
There's also a technological advancement in
"We will be offering online and mobile banking in the first quarter of the new year, so this is an exciting time for us. This new system also will automate processes to become more efficient, more regulatory compliant and the best in cyber security," Karavatakis said. "This is transformational for us. I promised
When she's not overhauling the operational system, the president and chief banking officer spends her time performing a variety of other tasks.
She is directly responsible for overseeing several departments, like commercial and mortgage lending, retail banking, cash management and marketing.
"I view my job primarily as building relationships and trust in the communities we serve and with people by listening to our customers, shareholders and employees," Karavatakis said. "I make myself as accessible as I possibly can. I try to spend as much time as I can helping people discover their full potential by guiding them into roles that play to their strengths. If I continue to be successful with this, there is no doubt
Climbing the ladder to her position over four decades took dedication, a strong work ethic and impeccable mentorship.
"I worked hard, loved what I did and had a great mentor with
The mentor she found in Carter who passed away in 2017 was invaluable. The friendship swayed her from going elsewhere in the bank's 43 years of existence, established
"In my career, I thought about going to other banks. I even interviewed once, but realized no other person could match
Karavatakis's friend asked why anyone would want to leave the locally-owned and operated bank.
"Her comment sums up my feelings exactly," Karavatakis said. "
Karavatakis said retirement will be in her future one day.
"Retirement is in my near future, but I haven't set date," Karavatakis said. "My family has been supportive of my career, so upon retirement, I welcome the opportunity to travel more with my husband, Nick, of 33 years and spending quality time with my daughters, Olivia and Oxana, and my granddaughter, Rowen."
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