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Checking in with Cindy Salta

Fast Facts about Cindy Salta

Cindy Salta is the assistant vice president and Prestige Plus officer at the Bank of New Hampshire in Laconia, New Hampshire.

Founded in 1831, the Bank of New Hampshire serves families and businesses with 24 banking offices and assets exceeding $1.6 billion. The bank is the oldest and one of the largest independent banks in the state. Prestige Plus membership is available for Prestige Checking Account customers 45 years of age and older who maintain a combined balance of at least $25,000.

Born:  Keene, New Hampshire

Education: New Hampshire Technical Institute

Employment:  Salta began as a teller for the Bank of New Hampshire. She has worked at the bank for 22 years, with eight of those years spent with the Prestige Plus travel program.

Family: Salta has been married for 33 years and has four children.

Hobbies: She enjoys following her children’s college sports careers, traveling and spending time with her family.

Positivity is a Game-Changer

Far from home in South Africa, Cindy Salta came very close to a trip disaster. Airport delays had caused the group to miss lunch and crunched the hotel check-in time to only five minutes before the group was scheduled to board the motorcoach.

Salta had to think fast.

“I thought, What are we going to do?” said Salta, assistant vice president of Prestige Plus for Bank of New Hampshire. “I went into the gift shop and bought every snack they had. We were all so hungry, so we had a picnic on the bus. We made the best of it.”

Salta joked with the passengers about the situation as she handed out peanut butter crackers and other snacks. Soon, they were also wisecracking with each other about the snack rations and enjoying the experience, rather than grumbling to themselves.

This practice of inserting positivity into any situation has served Salta well. She emphasizes customer relationships above all else, and Bank of New Hampshire’s Prestige Plus travel program has thrived under her leadership.

From Teller to Traveler

Salta went to college with dreams of becoming a teacher. She ended up working as a teller at Bank of New Hampshire as a first job, then rose in the ranks to customer service representative.

After taking some time off to raise four children and work mothers’ hours during their early years, Salta returned to the bank when her children hit middle school.

“I went back to the bank because I had such a great experience there,” said Salta. “Then the job of the travel program came up eight years ago. That was when I started my travel and tourism certification.”

Salta had taken bank courses throughout the years to supplement her banking knowledge and found the travel and tourism certification equally helpful.

“Growing up, I didn’t travel much,” said Salta. “After I got married, I traveled through my husband’s company around the world. I felt completely ready to take on travel. It is exciting and really fun.”

Salta organizes a day trip each month as well as numerous seminars and three long trips a year; the trips usually consist of one domestic or Canadian trip and two overseas options.

“Next year, we are going to Croatia and Slovenia,” she said. “Then we are going to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. The last trip is Cuba. So, they are three very different tours. We really base our destinations on our customer feedback.”

Personality Plus

Salta’s recent adventure in South Africa wasn’t the first time she had to act fast on a trip. Lost luggage, health issues and other travel issues come up no matter how much you prepare. She soon learned that keeping her customers happy went beyond detailed travel-planning expertise.

“The experience of travel is not as important as the person running the program,” said Salta. “You can learn the travel part. If you don’t like travel, it probably isn’t the job for you. If you like that kind of adventure and you like people, then it’s a good fit. It’s more of a customer relationship job. You need to show you are having fun and handle the problems as they come up.”

Serving the customers first has led to a highly in-demand travel program.

“We luckily always have trips filled,” said Salta. “When we travel to the national parks or to the Canadian Rockies, we usually have two departures. When we went to South Africa, we had three departures.”

The program engenders deep loyalty among members, with Bank of New Hampshire’s president and his wife traveling with the group on overnight trips.

“The customers love getting to know our president,” said Salta. “It builds a great relationship. They see the fun side of the CEO of their bank. Our bank president is very supportive of the program, which I think is very important.”

Always Tinkering

Instead of continuing the same types of trips on a loop, Salta works to grow the 28-year-old club by experimenting with various tour approaches, such as intergenerational tours.

“We’re always trying to do better and try new things,” said Salta. “We are looking at a younger clientele than some programs, with 45-year-old-and-up members. We find that young people want to travel.”

Salta also stays on the lookout for fresh seminar topics, since she helps plan bank seminars throughout the year. The bank helps put together money-related talks, with topics such as identity theft and planning for retirement. But the talks don’t always revolve around finances. One past seminar offered tips on taking quality photos with a phone.

The details involved in seminar and trip planning add up to a substantial amount of work. Salta stays busy checking spreadsheets.

“I’m planning all the time and loving it,” she said. “Everywhere I go is my new favorite place. I feel so lucky. It’s wonderful to be able to travel.”

Over the years, Salta has made many once-in-a-lifetime memories, such as a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

“It is a surreal experience when you see the sun rise over the canyon,” said Salta. “No one is talking. It is very quiet. It’s a beautiful experience that you are there with the customers. That relationship is the best part.”

Travel Tips

Listen and really get to know your customers. Treat them like family.

Have fun and laugh at yourself. A fun, positive attitude will translate to the group.

It’s your job to make sure that the customers have a wonderful trip. Be very organized and double check everything so that things run smoothly.