After finishing college, not many people get to experience dorm life again.
David spent the past three summers attending two weeks of onsite classes at the school in Boulder, Colorado, followed up by research papers prepared over the course of the year.
“It was certainly an experience going back to a college environment and staying in a college dorm room again. This time around was a little different as life back home doesn’t stop while I am away on campus. It was important for me to continue to monitor and stay in constant communication with the office to make sure our customers didn’t get left behind,” David said.
David is a vice president and commercial lender at Stearns Bank. He joined the company in April 2003 and has been in a lending role since 2005.
He decided to pursue the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado degree after a recommendation from a colleague.
“I know various colleagues in banking that had taken the classes and expressed appreciation for the knowledge they gained,” David said. “I feel humbled that Stearns Bank would make that type of investment in both time and money to help me become a better community banker.”
Classes Made An Impact
The classes provided a challenging curriculum around community banking in the areas of accounting, technology, credit, HR, lending and operations. These classes culminated with a banking simulation program during the final year.
“The classes provided a good, in-depth review of the different aspects of the bank and how the culture of a bank can impact how it performs,” David said. “The cultural classes play into what we are seeing at the bank today, especially with our mission, vision and values.”
David noted that the bank simulation was the most rewarding experience. In this class, he and six other students/bankers were put in charge of a hypothetical failing bank, with the task of turning it around. David’s group competed against other groups for loans and deposits.
He was able to see how his group’s decisions affected the bank’s goals.
“This exercise helped me appreciate how the hard work of every individual ties in to operating a bank,” David said. “It is easy to concentrate on the loan production as a lender. However, that effort is meaningless if you don’t have a strong team behind you that provides funding for those loans.”
The Importance Of Customer Relationships
David also appreciated how the classes focused on customer relationships. To him, that’s where success begins for financial institutions. However, tough conversations also are part of the job.
“I came out of this with a better understanding of the customer relationship and that tough conversations if done correctly can help everyone involved,” David said. “I really like having the opportunity to help others realize their dreams and be part of a winning team.
“It’s great to hear customers talk about how flexible we are at Stearns Bank and how we are able to work with them throughout the relationship even when hurdles pop up in the process.”
David hopes this degree shows his dedication to commercial banking, as he continually grows in his knowledge of the industry. It also has improved his understanding of various departments in the bank.
“The program helped me become a more well-rounded employee with the ability to help out as needed,” David said. “The knowledge I gained will prepare me to work with customers to meet their financial goals.”
Here's a case study of how David has delivered for his customers at Stearns Bank: