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BNZ's ‘Churchill’ celebrates 50 year’s service

14 February 2006

Bank of New Zealand’s ‘Churchill’ celebrates 50 year’s service

Alison Frye (far right), 1962, with Auckland manager, Bruce Smith and two other receptionists.


When Alison Frye started work at Bank of New Zealand, telegrams were de rigueur and tellers toted guns.

The Banks longest-serving employee celebrates 50 years service this week.

You couldn’t expect much more employee commitment: Mrs Frye has worked at Auckland’s 80 Queen Street branch for the entire half-century.

Her duties have been many and varied, from manager’s receptionist to the Auckland branch manager to customer services officer. A Bank of New Zealand pioneer, she was the first woman to drive a Bank car (a Morris Oxford) in 1963 and she made the afternoon tea for the opening of the Ladies’ Bank in 1958.

Nicknamed ‘Churchill’ for her ability to stay calm under pressure, she has moved from an entirely manual environment to the high tech systems of today.

Bank of New Zealand general manager, people and culture, Bridget O’Shannessey says Alison Frye is a model employee and mentor to those past and present.

‘The Bank is very proud of Alison; she has shown tremendous loyalty and adapted to substantial technical and social work-place change. She has forged a path in customer service that is second to none and has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure customers’ needs are met.

‘Alison still regularly chooses to work more than a 40 hour week; after 50 years this is nothing short of humbling.’

Mrs Frye (68) says the secret to her career longevity is simple.

‘I love my job. I’ve had a variety of different roles and enjoyed them all – they’ve helped to keep me young. I also get a lot of support from my colleagues – that keeps you going.’

She acknowledges the biggest challenge has been adapting to new technology.

‘Telegrams were replaced by faxes, now everything is electronic and super-speedy.’

When asked what keeps her motivated Alison says ‘well, I like to sleep at night; you’ve got to be loved to sleep at night. I’ve never pulled a sickie, in fact I once went for three years without taking any sick leave. It’s incredibly satisfying knowing you’ve done your best.’

Mrs Frye’s long term loyalty is not restricted to the Bank; she has lived on the same street for more than 42 years.

Does she have any plans for retirement? ‘Not just yet,’ she says.

A private celebration function in honour of Mrs Frye’s 50th anniversary working for Bank of New Zealand on 15 February. More than 200 people, including customers and senior executives will attend.


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