by Lucie Roy
After 42 years of dedicated service to RBC Royal Bank and its clients and 42 years of service to the community Carmen Dubas, Morinville Branch Manager, is going to retire.
Her official retirement date is Dec. 31, but with vacation time, her last day at the Branch is Friday, Dec. 18.
The new manager is Zahir Abamecha, who is coming in from Northgate Branch.
“I had a great career at the Royal Bank. I really did, and the clients and relationships and friendships that I have built,” Dubas said. “I loved to be able to do a mortgage, interim loan for a new car for a young person or getting the kids in their first home-that was just an unbelievable feeling to be able to help people and make them happy. I think this is what I love most about my job as a lender.
“My whole career has been driven by my clients, a client experience that is the relationship built with clients and working with them, with whatever needs, whether budgeting, financing the purchase of a car. That was my priority, and that was my pride. I loved to be able to help the clients.”
As Branch Manager, Dubas said, you are dealing more with human resources, dealing more with staffing, more with policy and procedures of the Branch. Not so much with the clients, and she did miss that over the years.
Over the years, she has built relationships with the parents, the kids and the grandkids and had them as clients, and that was so special to her.
Speaking on the people at RBC Dubas spoke with devotion and passion.
“I have had a great team. I really have,” she said. “The Morinville Team— they are a great team. Hard-working, dedicated, caring individuals and they made my success easy because they were such a good team to manage. I want to thank them very much – such hard working individuals who care about their clients’ cause they really, really do care about them and their clients’ experience here.”
The biggest change she has seen is digital banking. They still are giving clients the option to come in, but they also have virtual banking with WebEX and video conferencing.
Dubas said it came very quickly with Covid. It was projected to come but Covid put it through the roof.
This was a hard year; they suffered a Branch closure for three months, and clients were very disappointed. The staff members were re-located to Westlock and St. Albert and not one their job or any income.
Dubas said the Royal Bank, throughout all of this, was very dedicated to its staff and in both protecting them and maintaining their status. This was a big plus.
Dubas worked 42 years, all at the Morinville Branch.
In 1978 an opportunity came up to work at the Royal Bank- it was for Receptionist, or known then as Steno.
At 23 years of age, her first day at the Bank was Sept. 25, 1978.
She made her whole career here, which is highly unusual.
They do not usually promote from within like that.
She had a big interest in clients and lending and after five years was promoted from within by Manager John Westerman.
He was the first manager to promote from within, and she, Denise Hittinger and two more were promoted to Loans Officer.
After 3-4 years, she moved to Senior Loans Officer, which included business and agricultural lending.
From there, she went to Account Manager Business Banking and strictly business banking and specialized in relationships for small business clients in town.
In January 2011, she took over as Branch Manager and held the position for nine years.
Along the way, she was an RBC Performance Convention winner and a Royal Performance Cruise Convention winner with a Caribbean Cruise with RBC and husband Mike.
Dubas said that is a huge accomplishment. She was the top performer twice in Alberta, in October 2007 and October 2011.
Dubas spoke of some of the community projects where she would participate in and attend with some of the RBC Morinville Team members.
For numerous years they held the Blue Water Project where RBC purchased rain barrels, they were painted by Library and kids, and RBC presented $1000 each year to the Library. A draw for rain barrels were also made at the Branch.
Day of Service Grants
The Morinville Team volunteered so many hours with one of the registered charities, and RBC would donate $1000 for the Day of Service.
They did the Musee Morinville Museum for three years, Seniors Day for two years, Girl Guides for one year, MCHS for two years, Young Naturalist for one year and Library for four years.
They also did a Lego Project with the Library and a project with the Gardening Club.
They were very involved with the MCHS HOWLS Olympics and would donate $1000 at each event.
The one year they volunteered, and MCHS did an aerial photo of students and RBC volunteers in the shape of the letters RBC.
Dubas said she is very proud of that as she showed me the photo.
“This was one of our proudest moments. It was. It was amazing,”
For the Lunch Program at MCHS, for four years, they would pay $350 for food and send RBC volunteers to serve lunch.
For several years they had a Financial Literacy event with MCHS and provided students with advice in their Life Skills Learning Class.
Dubas spoke of the involvement with the Chamber of Commerce with Troy Hurtubise as the representative, numerous information events held at the Branch on Estate Planning, Investment Advice and Financial Planning.
For years they participated in the St. Jean Baptiste Festival and sported their blue jackets while representing RBC in the community.
Dubas has spent most of her life in Morinville.
She graduated from Georges P. Vanier in 1973, grew up here, married in Morinville, had her first home here and had her career here.
Her parents, Arthur and Emilia Houle, raised 12 children in Morinville; she was the youngest.
Her grandparents, Thomas and Delina Houle, arrived West in the 1890s and settled here along with other settlers from Quebec.
Her hobbies for many years was playing baseball; she played on her NO Stars all women fastball team and the Fowl Balls, a mixed slo-pitch team.
When the racquetball court was open, they played volleyball at those nets.
Dubas said there were lots of relationship building at the racquetball court, not just banking relationships but also a personal relationship.
She will be spending time with her husband Mike and family.
She said she adores her grandchildren; they have been a huge interest in her life, and she loves them to pieces.
She will spend time visiting family, some she has here in Morinville that she did not see much while working full time.