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IBA Member Spotlight: Erik Bunker

Archived Industry News:IBA Member Spotlight: Erik Bunker

Last Updated: 10/15/2020 4:14 PM

Bunker Finds Career Close to Home in Banking

In 2009, Erik Bunker was nearing graduation day at Iowa State University — while the U.S. was in the midst of a major economic downturn. Having lived his whole life in Ames, he also wanted to start his career there, so a job posting at a local bank caught his eye, and he hasn’t looked back. “It was an interesting time to start in banking, but I learned a lot,” he said.

Today, Bunker is a relationship manager in the commercial lending department at First National Bank in Ames. He also supervises the bank’s credit analysts.

How did you get into banking as a career? 
The job market was not great when I was getting ready to graduate in 2009. A week before graduation, I saw a posting on the ISU job board for a credit analyst at First National Bank in Ames. I had never really considered banking, but the job sounded interesting and I knew I wanted to stay in Ames (I was born and raised in Ames). It was an interesting time to start in banking, but I learned a lot and am grateful for the opportunities First National has given me over the years.

Prior to your current role, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had, and what lesson did it teach you that you still use today?
Throughout high school and college, I worked as a car detailer for a local dealership. From that job I learned that if you have a good work ethic, produce quality work and build strong relationships, people will notice and when opportunities become available, they will think of you.

What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?
Banking exposes you to a variety of industries and many different types of people, and gives you the opportunity to build long lasting relationships. Not to mention the vital role banking plays in supporting your local community and the economy overall.

How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?
The IBA has many great resources for bankers from training webinars to advocacy. I attended the Iowa School of Banking and built some great relationships with other bankers. We run different issues by each other, and they’ve been a good resource.

When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?
Spend as much time as I can with family. I also like golfing, fishing, hiking, yard work — pretty much any activity outside.

What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?
“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

— Michael Scott on “The Office”

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