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Branch manager acts out

John Evans, an assistant branch manager at ATB Millcreek, loves to be in front of an audience. This week he’s on stage at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, honing skills that make him a favourite among customers at the south Edmonton branch.

Evans is performing in a five-person show—An Anthology of Ghastly Tales—where he plays six different characters while juggling lighting, sound, costume and set design.

“It helps balance my brain from banking by crawling inside another person’s skin for a while, to live as they live,” he explains. “It truly helps me to gain perspective and some heightened empathy for others.”

John Evans performing at Fringe Festival

But Evans believes some of his best performances are for an audience of one, as he listens to his customers.

“I’m a different banker depending on who is in front of me. I am more polite with older people, less formal with a younger crowd. I have been trained to switch hats—to become a different ‘character’—depending on which side of my personality they will react best to.”

ATB’s retail credit department is also aware of Evans’ creativity. He writes passionate applications for credit on behalf of clients struggling to pay off debt.

“Retail credit hasn't had that chance to meet with the client so I need to convey that whole human experience I've just had over an hour and a half as succinctly as possible,” he explains. “My colleagues tease me, but detailed or impassioned notes get better results to help people consolidate debt and get rid of high-interest cards.”

Evans looks for the story of each customer and tries to understand chapters of their life that impact where they are today. In return, they see him as a friend.

John Evans performing at Fringe Festival

“One woman calls me her second son,” he laughs. “I’ve watched clients age, get married, get their first homes. It is really cool to be part of someone’s life tapestry and make positive changes along the way.”

Creating happiness like that is the banking equivalent of a standing ovation in a sold-out theatre.

An Anthology of Ghastly Tales runs daily until Saturday, August 25.

ATB is the lead partner and sponsor of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

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