Saying ‘Yes’ to Opportunity in Salt Lake City Cash Operations
August 4, 2020
“I moved to Utah from California in the fourth grade. My parents were divorced, so during the summer, I traveled back-and-forth between states. They both taught me to be responsible, prepared me for adult life, and encouraged me to grow by trying new things.” says Angela Moore.
As a young adult, Angela extended the spirit of support and encouragement to others. Notably, she volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, helping kids engage in after-school activities.
After high school, Angela worked for the Utah Transit Authority for 18 years, in Customer Service and as a Revenue Processor. Then a friend told her about a position in Cash Processing at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. At first, the timing was clunky.
“She encouraged me to apply—twice. The first time was at my baby shower. I said, ‘Well, I’m about ready to have this baby, so now isn’t a good time, but let me know if there’s something in the future,’” Angela notes wryly. “The very next time a job opened, my friend gave me a call. I was looking to do something more for myself, a bit more challenging, and was more than ready. I said, ‘Let’s do this.’”
Now Angela is known as the ultimate utility player in cash operations.
Providing banking services for banks
“The easiest way to describe what I do is, I provide banking for banks. I process currency coming into the Federal Reserve from financial institutions and send cash back out into circulation,” says Angela.
Angela is exceptional at identifying efficiencies. She’s both competitive and collaborative. And since joining the team in June 2016, has cross-trained in all areas of cash service operations: Shipping, Receiving, High-Speed processing, and Administration.
“My job covers a lot of different things and it can get confusing,” she says. Here’s how she breaks it down.
- When armored carriers bring banks’ deposits to the Federal Reserve, Receiving goes through and verifies the bags.
- High-speed takes the currency that comes into the Fed and runs it through machines to sort notes fit for circulation from those that might be counterfeit or that are not readable. Then we collect the fit currency and bag it up so it’s ready to ship out again.
- Shipping gets orders ready for the banks. So, banks order currency, we prepare the order, and carriers pick the orders up for delivery.
- Admins handle wiring, provide counts to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors of what’s coming in and going out, prep orders for the next day, and balance out the day of the cash processing teams.
Officially, Angela is known as a Senior Currency Processor, a role where she seamlessly flexes between High-Speed, Receiving, and Shipping. Recently, she accepted an added position on the Administrative side of the house as an Independent Proof Clerk. Does she feel like that’s a lot? Not at all.
“I’m super pumped. I thoroughly enjoy being cross trained in all functions here in Cash. I get to exercise my mind and body, it’s great!” she says.
Work-life balance with a schedule in flux
Angela’s shifts change depending on which area she’s working in that month. In Admin, that’s 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In Receiving or Shipping, 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. And in High-Speed, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We get a heads-up about which area we’ll be working in so we can figure out our childcare needs and that type of thing. If we’re short-handed, we can switch areas in the middle of the week, depending on coverage, so we try to be flexible,” says Angela.
She knows the importance of balancing the needs of the job with family life.
“I have a 5-year-old son and a 19-year-old stepdaughter. Conor started school when Kirsten graduated high school. Having two completely different age ranges—a little kid just out of toddlerhood and a teenager—means my husband and I had two totally different parenting battles going on at the same time,” she laughs.
The importance of saying ‘yes’
Even with a busy family life, Angela enjoys saying “yes” to training opportunities, both in the Bank and around the Federal Reserve System. For example, she did an Operator Exchange with Memphis and took part in a Lead Operator Training class for High-Speed in Los Angeles.
“I’ve always been the kind of a person who wants to try new things and keep pushing to be better. I might be nervous, but whenever opportunities come open, I try to go for it. I make sure everything’s taken care of at home. It usually works out,” she says.
Angela is enjoying herself trying new things.
“Our training involves continuous education on controls and procedures, integrity, and consistency. We do job shadowing. We find new ways to improve our teamwork and collaboration. I could go on,” she says. “When I travel, I look for similarities and differences in operations. What new ideas can improve how we run the rooms?”
One example is learning a new Power Reset Training Activity. Not to get too technical, but a power reset is when an error has occurred on the Currency Processor (CP) that requires the Operator to stop and perform a list of sequential steps to get the CP up and running again.
“Before starting the machine back up, you need to go through a list of required steps to get the machine itself back up and running. And you need to verify counts so you’re in balance at the end of the day,” Angela explains.
But not all error messages require a complete reboot, and that’s where she brings in a “pit stop” mentality.
“A message on the machine will tell us something needs to be done. Maybe the machine needs more banding material, for example. Instead of stopping the machine to do it myself, I’ll yell ‘pit stop!’ Then one of my team members can step in and assist with whatever needs attention. It’s important to keep the machine running as much as possible so teamwork is essential in High Speed,” she says.
In practice, knowing what to do keeps the team on track to achieve monthly high-speed processing targets, for example. “To make sure that the machine keeps running properly, and that we all work as a team,” she says.
Recognition for improving processes
For her enthusiasm in improving efficiency in Cash, Angela’s peers honored her with an e3 Award in 2019.
“I hadn’t received an award like that before, so I was super excited, and honored. I hope everybody has a chance to have that experience. It’s motivating and really special,” she shares.
True to team spirit, Angela is quick to acknowledge the opportunities for professional growth and continuing support she’s received at the Fed.
“Before working here, I was proud I’d become my own best motivator, pushing myself to be and do better. Since joining, I’ve had so much support from my team and my manager, Steve Seal. My trainer in Shipping and Receiving, Mike Fujinami, High-Speed trainer Matthew Harr, and Admin Clerk Pam Varney, are really great and super helpful. I’m happy to be a part of a place that truly cares and paves the path for growth and success of its employees.”
Essential work during the COVID-19 pandemic
In March 2020, only a few short months after receiving the e3 Award, Angela’s schedule—and work-life juggling act—got more complex. As coronavirus disease was spreading through the western United States, many San Francisco Fed employees began working from home. Since processing currency isn’t something you can do remotely, workers like Angela continued to serve local communities from the office.
Angela says the work of cash operations remained the same but coming into the office changed considerably. First, fewer people were around with onsite operations scaled down to cash services, facilities, and Federal Reserve police.
“The biggest difference compared to regular operations was additional health safety measures,” she says. “We get temperature scans before coming into the building. We wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks. We stand at least six feet apart.”
“By the end of April, we were really lucky that nobody was sick. The Bank asked cash employees in at-risk age groups to stay home on paid leave. That was wonderful to see,” she says. “I’ve been at the Fed for four years, but there are people who have worked here for over 30 years. Their health and wellbeing were a real priority to the organization. We were fortunate to have enough people to make do, and we hired an additional employee, so we weren’t overextended.”
Livening up a controlled environment
Understandably, keeping up morale took on a new importance. But that’s nothing new to Angela, who looks for ways to lift spirits in cash processing and throughout the branch.
“Some tasks in Cash require a lot of attention but can be repetitive. A good example is when you prep currency. You can’t just toss it onto the conveyer belt and run it through the machine. First, you remove any paper clips and rubber bands, and ensure the notes are straightened and not heavily taped,” she says. “We all try and make it a fun work environment. Our teams get along very well, so we’ll chat it up or play music. Sometimes we’ll have a little friendly competition to see who has the highest bundles per hour. Or see who can go the longest without having to stop the high-speed machine. That type of thing.”
Angela started finding ways to bring fun into the office when she was still new on the job. The Salt Lake City branch turned 100 years old and Angela volunteered for its Centennial Celebration Committee.
“One thing we wanted to do was trivia. I got to dig deep into the Bank’s history, and I asked a lot of people for their stories. Hearing about how much things have changed was a highlight,” she says.
Wanting to be involved in Bank life, she joined two employee resource groups: Women’s Professional Network and Bank Club. She ended up serving as Bank Club President for 2018 and 2019, and as Vice President in 2020, honing her leadership skills.
“The idea behind Bank Club is that we all work really hard every day here at the bank, so let’s plan fun activities to lighten things up throughout the year. That might be the holiday party or a nice catered lunch. My favorite was hiring a magician to come in and do some magic during our Summer Party luncheon. He went table-to-table and showed us a bit of close-up magic and did a big show at the end. A lot of people appreciated the effort. It’s all about finding moments to bring people together and have a good time,” she says.
Fun at home with family
When Angela gets home, it’s a welcome time to slow down and let fun be more mellow.
“I love gardening and planting flowers and vegetables. I spend hours outdoors enjoying the sunshine. Nothing comforts me more than connecting with nature,” she says.
“My son, husband, and I enjoy movie nights camped out on the carpet with blankets, popcorn, and our favorite beverages. Cornhole is a favorite at home with our neighborhood friends during play time. I enjoy trying new dinner recipes. Who doesn’t love a good, warm freshly-baked dessert?!”
The family eventually wants to combine their love of fresh air and time together by exploring more of their home state’s natural beauty.
“Both kids are into the idea. Conor has been begging to camp and Kiersten wants to go, too, so we’ve been considering getting a trailer to explore Utah. So far hiking and fishing have been a fun activity for us.”