City of Olympia ranks No. 1 for bank tellers

Beer, state government and The Evergreen State College. Those are things Olympia is known for.

Now, add bank teller.

That’s because the city of Olympia ranked No. 1 among 30 cities nationwide for bank tellers, according to recent data released by ValuePenguin.com, a personal finance website.

A key factor in Olympia’s ranking was the average bank teller salary was highest among the cities, at $33,750.

The study also looked at cost of living in the city, which was slightly more expensive than in other communities. A third category examined the demand for a bank teller’s services. That category, referred to as “location quotient,” also rated slightly higher in Olympia than in other cities.

ValuePenguin.com used Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile its rankings.

Olympia is home to several local banks, including Thurston First, Olympia Federal Savings and Heritage Bank, and tellers at all three agreed with some aspects of the data.

They also added one of their own: They enjoy working here.

Alicia Bulldis, 24, a teller at Thurston First Bank, said she has worked in banking for more than five years, including at banks in Pierce and King counties.

But working in Olympia has been different. She said she has been able to build more customer relationships here.

“People are more down to earth,” she said.

However, she also agreed with the city’s higher cost of living, saying she’s encountered rents in Olympia that were in the “thousands.”

Instead, she rents a two-bedroom apartment for $800 in Lacey, she said.

Dani Burns, 31, was a teller at Olympia Federal Savings until recently taking a position as savings counselor there. She said Olympia is a little more casual and she’s gotten to know her customers more. That wasn’t the case when she worked for a credit union in Auburn, she said, where customers were “in and out” and that was about it.

“I love it downtown,” said Burns, who works at Olympia Federal’s main branch at Fifth Avenue and Capitol Way.

Amy Cilento, 30, who works as a teller at Heritage Bank, used to work for a credit union in Vermont. She finds Olympia to be more personable.

“It feels like family,” said Cilento about working for Heritage Bank.

Safety data were not included in the study, but bank tellers were reminded Wednesday that they don’t always have the safest job: A Columbia Bank branch in west Olympia was robbed early Wednesday afternoon.