Banking Wisdom Propels Brinkmeyer to Success
Chris Brinkmeyer has spent much of his career on the lending side of banking. Working with customers to help finance their goals was something he found to be very rewarding. He says the advice of a fellow banker helped him to find success as a lender. “A wise banker told me, ‘Lending isn’t difficult; just treat people the way you would want to be treated if you were the borrower,’” he said. “This doesn’t mean we should approve every loan, but tailor the loan appropriately for the bank and the customer for the long-term success for both parties.”
Brinkmeyer was recently appointed president of Central State Bank in State Center after most recently serving as chief credit officer at the bank. “My background has always been on the lending and credit side of the bank, but I greatly appreciate the opportunity to lead a great bank team in the years ahead,” he said.
Where did you attend college/what degree(s) have you obtained?
I attended Iowa State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business with an emphasis in farm management. I was raised on a small farm in central Iowa and I couldn’t be more appreciative of the life skills my family and I learned during that time. Working as a family to grow crops, along with the challenges and rewards of raising livestock, was very special and as I reminisce about all the physical labor we did, I wouldn’t change anything about those years if I could.
When looking back on your banking career, what achievement are you most proud of and why?
The bulk of my years in banking, I have been a lender. My greatest joy has been working with customers to help them achieve their goals for their business. I have always enjoyed tailoring a loan to meet the needs of the customer. A wise banker told me, “Lending isn’t difficult; just treat people the way you would want to be treated if you were the borrower.” This doesn’t mean we should approve every loan, but tailor the loan appropriately for the bank and the customer for the long-term success for both parties.
What piece of advice would you give to your past self or to anyone considering a career in banking?
Don’t be too gullible, when speaking with new loan applicants! Lenders can easily be “taken in” when sitting across the desk from a potential customer. Listen to the customer, but make sure you analyze the numbers and make sure both stories align.
What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?
Banking can be a great career for almost anyone. Banks need a wide range of talent — from extroverts to introverts — banks need sales people, analysts and compliance folks (gate keepers). Banking can be very rewarding!
How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?
Working with the Iowa Bankers Association has always been an integral part in the central Iowa community banks in which I have worked. My career was benefited from the IBA’s Agricultural Business School I attended in the early 90s. A good portion of that class time was led by Dr Neil Harl of Iowa State University. Dr Harl was a great asset for this class, who I strongly respected.
IBIS healthcare benefits are wonderful for banks employees. The partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield along with Dental and Eye Care services is solid coverage and benefits for bank staff.
The first bank I worked at had an insurance agency, and IBIS was great support for all insurance lines, most of the bank agency customers were for personal property and casualty, but IBIS helped me with commercial, life and annuities products as well.
The IBA does a super job in training staff in many areas, but IBA compliance classes and support are huge for community bankers. Of course, IBMC secondary market processing for home mortgages is great support, too.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?
Spend time with family. Work can easily take over your world, but keep the weekends open as much as possible to spend with family and friends so you can be recharged and ready to go on Monday.
What are two quotes or guiding principles you live by?
“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
— George S. Patton, Jr.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
— Henry David Thoreau, author