Starting fresh in Sargeant

Published 7:24 am Monday, January 3, 2011

Carol Cimmiyotti chief teller at the Sargeant Merchants State Bank retired Friday after more than 48 years at the bank. - Eric Johnson/

Carol Cimmiyotti is starting the new year off with more than a cliché resolution.

On the eve of 2011, Cimmiyotti was preparing herself for a major life change — a break in a pattern she’s held since 1962. It was during that year that Cimmiyotti first pinned herself with a name tag at Merchant State Bank in Sargeant and hopped behind the counter to serve as the bank’s cashier.

“In those days we wore dresses and high heels,” Cimmiyotti said.

Email newsletter signup

And they were busy.

“You never had a minute to yourself,” she said.

Gone are the days of eight-hour shifts on her feet in heels. Since the age of online banking, Cimmiyotti has seen a steady decline in the number of customers who regularly make a trip to the bank to make transactions.

In her last years at the bank, she no longer looked for milking farmers to come in and cash their generous weekly checks, as the transaction now takes place without a face attached.

Changes such as these and life outside of work served as the catalyst for Cimmiyotti’s departure from the banking business.

“It’s not like it used to be,” she said.

Cimmiyotti said she longs for the days of pen and paper bookkeeping, when things were black and white. And though she isn’t the biggest fan of the computer, her co-workers and boss say she’s done just fine.

“She’s the head of the Sargeant branch, which means she does everything,” said Steve Drennon, president of Merchant Banks in Austin and Sargeant.

While no one’s arguing she hasn’t done her job well, it’s her personality that has really made her shine.

“She’s kind of a fixture at the bank, and we’re going to miss her quite a bit,” Drennon said. “She has a very witty personality — I don’t think she has an enemy.”

Cimmiyotti said she isn’t quite sure why she’s leaving the bank now. For a few years, she’s announced her planned departure, but she doesn’t think anyone really believed her.

So why did she choose New Year’s Eve as a last day?

“I don’t really know,” she said. “I told Steve I’d work through the end of the year.”

Cimmiyotti said it will be difficult to adjust to life without her daily jaunt to the bank, but with grandchildren in California and a passion for housecleaning, she’s sure she’ll make the most of her time off.

And if she’s feeling a bit nostalgic, she may even walk down to the bank and cash a check — just for the fun of it.