First, a brief history to get this blog started…I didn’t really plan to be a banker. I stumbled onto the scene and ultimately have a group of angry “soccer moms” to thank for landing my first banking job. My career path can probably be chalked up to poor career planning. Graduating with my undergraduate English degree at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, did not steer me in a particular direction, and I didn’t spend enough time in the Career Development Center to come out of school with a good plan. Mike Baker, who was President of Madison Community Bank in Anderson in 2002, saw me surrounded by angry parents at a local soccer tournament I was helping to coordinate. He apparently thought I handled the heated exchange well enough to also calm down potentially disgruntled bank clients and said if I ever needed a job to apply at Madison Community. Because of my aforementioned career planning, I did eventually find my way to the bank during my senior year and the rest really is history.
I spent four years learning the basics of banking. My job titles included teller, customer service representative, Manager in Training, Branch Manager, and Commercial Lender. I accepted customer deposits, opened new accounts, made consumer and commercial loans, and as a manager supervised a modest branch staff. I worked full-time at six different branches in three different towns over the course of four years. I learned from some great community bankers including Mike Baker, Senior Lender Kirk Klabunde, and once retired John May, who will probably never officially retire again.
In 2006, I moved back home to Bluffton, Ohio, and began working at First National Bank of Pandora as a Commercial Lender. I typically serve small businesses in Bluffton and the surrounding communities. It was probably at this point that I began to embrace the mentality of a community banker. I am personally invested in the community and I want to see Bluffton grow and continue to be a great place to live and raise a family. Although my wife, Renee, and I never planned to return to Bluffton, we’re glad we did. I have enjoyed coming back to my hometown and seeing it from a fresh perspective. It is inspiring to see how local entrepreneurs have contributed to the growth and prosperity of Bluffton, and working closely with small business has given me an even greater appreciation for the commitment shown by these individuals. Even though the part I play as a banker was and is relatively small, working with local business owners and seeing them grow and succeed is very rewarding and continues to be one of the best parts of my community banking career.
This weekly blog will hopefully paint an accurate picture of community banking, both locally and across the industry and will give me a chance to share banking insights, helpful tips, First National Bank activities, and hopefully some entertaining reading.