Bangor Savings Bank has raised the minimum wage it pays employees to $13 per hour, the bank said Monday.

It has been increasing the minimum entry-level hourly pay over the past two years in support of an objective to “pay a living wage to all employees, regardless of location or whether they are full-time, part-time, or temporary,” the bank said in a news release.

The new policy took effect this month, it said. In all, about 240 of the bank’s 740 employees were affected by the increase, Bangor Savings Senior Vice President Carol Colson said.

The minimum wage increase did not only affect those earning less than $13 an hour, she said. Lower-wage employees earning $13 or more also received raises.

Lower-wage jobs at banks generally include tellers, customer service representatives and tech-support workers.

“A teller position is a really high-responsibility position,” Colson said. “In many cases, they’re the face of the bank.”

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the mean hourly wage for bank tellers is $12.27 in Maine and $12.81 nationwide. The lowest-paid 10 percent of tellers earn an average hourly wage of $9.89 in Maine and $9.65 nationwide.

Colson said that prior to the increase, the bank’s minimum wage had been $12 an hour since 2014. Before that, the lowest-paid workers earned between $10 and $11 an hour, she said.

Bob Montgomery-Rice, who became president and CEO of Bangor Savings in April 2015, was a big proponent of the latest wage boost, Colson said.

“We fully recognize that all positions at Bangor Savings Bank, including those often categorized as entry-level, are complex and involve a high degree of responsibility,” Montgomery-Rice said in the news release. “This newest increase in our Living Wage Initiative illustrates just how valued every employee is.”

Bangor Savings has experienced strong growth over the past 10 years, which has allowed for investment in technology and banking systems designed to improve the customer experience and ensure banking security, the bank said, adding that it also made the wage increase possible.

Bangor Savings’ decision to raise its minimum wage is part of a nationwide trend. In the past year, many corporations have chosen to increase their minimum hourly wage, including McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Target, and T.J. Maxx and Marshalls owner TJX Companies.

Cities and states around the country also have taken a closer look at the issue, and some have voted recently to increase the minimum wage for all employees to as much as $15 an hour.

In July, the Portland City Council voted to create a city minimum wage of $10.10 an hour effective this month, increase it to $10.68 in 2017, and tie future minimum wage increases to inflation.

A Portland Green-Independent Committee-led referendum that placed a question on the November ballot asking voters to hike Portland’s wage to $15 per hour was defeated. A separate, statewide ballot initiative by the Maine People’s Alliance to raise the minimum wage to $9 in 2017, then increase it by $1 annually until it reaches $12 in 2020, is expected to appear on the November 2016 ballot.

 


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