Betty Entler achieves record certifications after 16 years of study
By Beth Mattson-Teig
It’s no surprise that Betty Entler is on a first-name basis with many of the ICBA instructors and staff coordinating the association’s numerous educational programs. Over the past 16 years, she has logged more than 300 classroom hours, passed 22 exams and achieved a record eight ICBA certifications.
Perhaps we should call her Professor Entler.
That prodigious appetite for continuing education stems from a simple philosophy. She believes that the extra training, educational seminars, courses and webinars all help her do a better job as internal auditor at The First National Bank of Waverly, in Waverly, Ohio.
“I have felt that it has all been important for me, and it has made me more confident in my working ability,” she says.
Staying current on the latest regulatory and compliance changes is important for any internal auditor, and it is even more important for Entler. She is the sole auditor for the $170 million-asset First National Bank. As a one-woman auditing team, her duties amid a constantly shifting banking regulatory landscape definitely keep her on her toes.
“The thing with this job is that someone is not going to just tell you how to do things,” she says. “You really have to go out and do your own research and do the continuing education. If you don’t, you’re lost.”
Entler’s role as internal auditor suits her well. She is the type of person who is used to wearing many hats and not always staying in one place. When she first started in banking in the late 1970s at what was then Huntington National Bank in Springfield, Ohio, she worked multiple branches and different areas of the bank ranging from teller and customer service to loans. She joined The First National Bank after moving to Pike County in 1982. She initially worked with bank system reconciling and bookkeeping before being named internal auditor in 1997.
“She is very, very good at her job because of the education she gets.”
—Bob Foster, The First National Bank President president
It was that role as internal auditor that put her on the path for continuing education. She earned her bank internal auditor certification in 1997. From there, she went on to earn additional certifications in areas such as compliance, bank security, commercial loans, consumer lending, technology and Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering regulations. She even earned a payments risk manager designation, which ICBA only offered for one year.
Although more than 3,200 community banking professionals have earned certifications through ICBA, Entler is the only one who holds eight certifications. That is a record that she may hold indefinitely, as ICBA currently only offers seven certifications.
“We do have bankers who hold multiple certifications, but Betty holds the all-time record. Betty has always been a serious student and she studied hard for each exam,” says Runay Olson, ICBA’s vice president of education and seminars. “The ICBA Education Department staff has enjoyed getting to know Betty, and we’re very proud of her accomplishments.”
The certification courses Entler initially took were recommended by the bank’s board of directors. However, it was Entler who set her own personal goal to complete all of the available courses. Being a person who likes to finish what she starts, she did just that. She claimed her eighth certification designation in September with the consumer lending officer certification.
“We are thrilled that she goes after it with such vigor,” says The First National Bank President Bob Foster.
Ongoing education helps Entler keep up with the current laws and regulations and best practices, and it also helps the bank as a whole. Entler makes a practice of bringing back what she has learned and sharing information on new practices and regulations. “Once she learns and does her audits, she trains employees almost like a compliance officer,” Foster says.
As an auditor, Entler has noticed on occasion when an employee would do the entries correctly, but not really understand why. She takes the time to make sure the staff understands not only how to do those entries according to current protocol but also why it needs to be done that way. Sometimes that means starting from the very beginning and working through an entire process, step by step.
Yet Entler will be the first to admit that all of that education she has absorbed does not make her an “expert” in all of these fields. What it does is give her a strong foundation to do her job as an internal auditor who is responsible for auditing all areas of the bank. The examiners have gotten to know Entler over the years, and she has earned a reputation both for the quality of her work and attention to detail, Foster says.
“She is very, very good at her job because of the education she gets,” he adds.
Entler also has become an advocate for continuing education among her colleagues and her peers in the industry. She is a strong believer that education does not end with passing the final exam or collecting a certification. “You can go and sit in a seminar for a week and take the test and be kind of complacent about it. But it is what you do with the knowledge and information that you get from those classes that is important,” she says. “If you just bring it back and put it on the shelf, it’s not doing anyone any good. You have to apply what you have learned.”
The 300 classroom hours that Entler has completed do not include the countless hours she has spent studying and preparing for exams, as well as other industry conferences and seminars she has attended over the years. Even after achieving her goal of earning the eight certifications offered by the ICBA, Entler faces even more classroom time to keep those designations. Going forward, she will be required to take approximately 90 hours of continuing education each year to maintain those certifications.
“The hours are definitely worth what the benefit has been,” she says.
Beth Mattson-Teig is a writer in Minnesota.