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Happy birthday, Violet!

Happy birthday, Violet!

Posted on: 8/3/2018 | Author: Aminah Syed

The Wetaskiwin ATB was a-buzz for Violet Brandt’s birthday this week. Brandt was not just any customer nor was this just any birthday. It’s not everyday someone turns 100 years old.

Brandt sat in a comfy leather chair, wearing a violet corsage, in the middle of the branch. Three silver, helium balloons spelling out 1-0-0 bobbed in the window as customers came and went—each one congratulating Brandt on their way in or out.

Violet Brandt celebrates her 100th birthday at ATB Financial Wetaskiwin
Violet Brandt with team members at ATB in Wetaskiwin

Then came a joyful rendition of happy birthday, blowing out candles (Not quite 100. They wouldn’t all fit on the cake.) and hugs from the Wetaskiwin team. There was also a video message from President & CEO Curtis Stange.

“You know it’s something special when you get a video from the CEO,” giggled Violet.

Then came the stories. And, she had lots of them.

Brandt first signed up for an ATB account when she accepted a job with the Wetaskiwin branch at the age of 23. With so many men fighting in the Second World War, there was a shortage of workers in many industries, including banking. Women like Brandt stepped in.

“I was a stenographer first, then a bookkeeper, then a teller,” remembered Brandt. “My salary was $99 a month.”

Working at ATB in the 1940s was much different than today. Computerized banking systems were non-existent.

“We didn’t have any technology back then. We had one adding machine. Otherwise, it was up here,” she said, tapping her forehead.

Then there’s the gun story.

When Brandt was a teller, she would frequently make cash transfers down the street at the end of the day. The tellers would usually go in pairs for safety but on the odd occasion Brandt was by herself.

“The branch manager would strap a gun in a holster around my waist and off I went. I’d hide it under my jacket. When I came back, he’d take it off. I didn’t even check to see if it was loaded or not,” explained Violet.

“What would have happened if someone stopped you? Could you have used it?” asked some in the crowd that had gathered.

“I suppose so. If they were going to take the money I wasn’t going to let them have it,” laughed Violet.

Violet Brandt celebrates her 100th birthday at ATB Financial Wetaskiwin

Brandt was transferred to several other branches before being offered a position at ATB’s head office in Edmonton in 1943. She turned the opportunity down, however, to return to life on the farm in Gwynne where she grew up. Her husband was “not a city boy,” she explained.

Since then, she’s been a loyal ATB customer. That’s 77 years if you’re counting. She recently renewed her licence, and drives herself to the branch to take care of her banking.

When asked if she had ever had a problem with ATB in all those years she quickly replied, “Nope! Not a one.”

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