Meet The State Treasurer’s Staff: Cash Management Director Sue Penley

Sue Penley

Sue Penley is the director of the Cash Management division for the Office of the State Treasurer (OST) in Washington. It’s a unit of 12 employees. With OST for 13 years, she previously served the office as a bond financial officer, in the debt management division. Sue’s focus in her current post is on cash management quality assurance; assisting the Treasurer’s investments arm; and improving banking services for the state while negotiating the best deals.

Drilling down, that means Sue:

  • evaluates and implements effective internal controls for cash management;
  • provides the investment section with projected cash positions;
  • works with banking partners and agencies to ensure secure and efficient banking;
  • and negotiates the best pricing with financial institutions for the state’s banking services, merchant bankcard services, and lockbox services.

Processing $246 Billion Last Year

On behalf of OST, Sue’s division manages state account revenues and spending, which in Fiscal Year 2017 totaled more than $246 billion. The state gets good value for its taxpayer dollars through central coordination of state agency finances. One illustration of this: Cash Management connects state agencies and financial institutions via master agreements that provide economies of scale so that the state can save money on banking services.

Sue was project manager for OST’s 2014 transition of state banking services from Bank of America to US Bank. She says that along with getting great pricing, one important gain stemming from the US Bank deal was greater efficiency in matching bank transactions to agencies.

Simplifying the Agency Accounting Process

Sue explains, “Basically, US Bank provides sub-accounts to the main Treasury account. We can assign those sub-accounts to agencies.  Some agencies have multiple sub-accounts. When we receive the bank transaction – the bank sends some of the activity to us electronically – we can determine which agency it belongs to by the sub- account in which it was posted. Previously, we would have to send a mass email asking agencies if they were expecting or could identify the bank transaction.” As a result of the improvement, state agency fund balances can be updated in a more streamlined and timely manner.

Sue also notes that there was a lot of due diligence work to conduct before the changeover. “OST had been working with Bank of America for decades. US Bank definitely had different procedures that we – myself, the three unit managers, and some of our Treasury Management System (TM$) and information technology staff – had to first evaluate to see if updates to TM$ were necessary.”

Enjoys Hiking, Boating, Slalom Water Skiing

Away from work, Sue says she enjoys “hiking the beautiful mountains of Washington, boating in the Puget Sound, and (single-ski) slalom water skiing in Long Lake – although I’m about at the age to retire from water skiing. Just as I’m determining whether to hang up the water ski, I’m picking up the knitting needles – yes, I knit and crochet – but I’m very rusty at it.”

With her husband, and then two-year-old daughter, Sue landed in Washington state in 1993. She says, “My son was born in 1996 at St. Pete’s (St. Peter Hospital in Olympia) – he is a true Washingtonian! It took me a while to get used to Washington beaches, in comparison to Southern California beaches. I enjoy going to Long Beach, Westport, Iron Springs, and Tolmie State Park, especially during negative tides. The list goes on and on.” Sue says, “I’ve travelled to Europe once. My husband and I went to Italy in 2012. It was the trip of my lifetime. I like vacationing in Hawaii. I’ve been to Kauai twice and Maui once.”

She’s A Lumberjack, And She’s Okay

Sue graduated from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California – home of the Lumberjacks – with a B.S. in business administration, concentrating in accounting. Before joining OST, she worked for the Higher Education Coordinating Board, now the Washington Student Achievement Council.

Prior to that she worked in accounting for banks, non-profits, and public CPA firms. She has also crunched numbers for the hospitality, trucking, clothing, hardware, and equipment rental industries, and for a water analysis laboratory. She served a small California county, Modoc, in the Auditor and Assessor offices. Her banking experience includes time as an internal auditor.

Emphasis on Teamwork, Harnessing Expertise

As a manager for the Office of the State Treasurer, Sue says she always tries to work as a team – whether it’s within Cash Management, or with other OST divisions or state agencies. She says, “There are so many experts here at OST and in state government. It only makes sense to bring them together to work effectively on a project.”