Spooner Works to ‘Make a Difference’ in Banking
Aaron Spooner credits his success as a banker to his experience working at and managing movie theaters. While he said cleaning up auditoriums and bathrooms was a very humbling aspect of that job, the experience instilled in him a strong work ethic and management skills that helped him transition into a career in financial services. “I don’t think I’d be the banker or manager I am today without those experiences,” he said.
Today, Spooner is an assistant vice president — loan officer at State Savings Bank in West Des Moines. “Working for a community bank has been a great opportunity for myself and allowed me to work with my passions to help make a difference in the Des Moines metro,” he said.
How did you get into banking as a career?
I had a long history of working with Fridley Theatres since high school but wanted to take that next step in my career. I was lucky enough to get a taste of management working for Fridley Theatres and have always had a passion for personal finance and financial literacy, so I reached out to several banks in the Des Moines metro with my resume and my goals. After meeting with Tim Wolf and State Savings Bank, I gladly accepted a role as teller to get my feet wet and have grown with the bank over the past 10 years and learned a lot!
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?
The movie theater industry taught me all kinds of valuable and humbling lessons. From cleaning up theater auditoriums and bathrooms after a sold-out blockbuster evening to trying to stay awake until 2 a.m. when the midnight shows would release, it truly instilled a strong work ethic and people management skills that I am very thankful for. I don’t think I’d be the banker or manager I am today without those experiences.
What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?
Working for a community bank has been a great opportunity for myself and allowed me to work with my passions to help make a difference in the Des Moines metro. Whether it involves helping a first-time homebuyer budget for their new house or helping a business owner expand and grow their dream company, banking has a place in everyone’s life. You get the opportunity to help people achieve their aspirations while also giving back to the community through service and education opportunities.
How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?
The IBA has been a great resource of knowledge as I have grown in the banking world. Whether it is the Consumer Credit School or the Iowa School of Banking, the opportunities to learn are endless. In addition, the IBA constantly is advocating for banking at the legislative level and has provided me the opportunity to get involved with my local politicians. I can’t stress enough how lucky we are as Iowa bankers to have the IBA’s support and guidance. Whenever we have compliance questions or need help on something, the IBA has always provided the resources needed.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?
I’ve been blessed with a beautiful wife and a little daughter, Natalie. We currently have another girl on the way in April, so they have kept me very busy! I enjoy being active outdoors, whether that is tailgating at an Iowa State football game or playing Frisbee Golf around the metro. I’m also a BIG Denver Broncos fan so we try to make a trip to Colorado every couple of years for a game. Outside of that, I still manage to find some time for video games and reading personal finance/self-help books. Given my movie theater background, I also try to make it over to the amazing IMAX theater in Waukee occasionally.
What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?
I’m sure my co-workers will give me grief for this, but our president and CEO, Tim Wolf, always tells us to focus building a fence one post at a time. Success doesn’t come instantly and it’s important to stay patient and always stay humble. Hard work and doing the right thing every day will not only grow our careers but also ourselves individually.