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IBA Member Spotlight: Katie Schulz

Schulz: Collaboration is Key in Banking

Schulz, Katie HeadshotKatie Schulz embraces the different strengths of everyone she works with. “It is okay to ask for help,” she said. … “I usually find my best work comes when I’m able to bounce ideas off of others and take their input into consideration.”

Schulz, a graduate of Augustana University, has been with First Citizens Bank since 2018 and currently holds the role of an assistant vice president, lending officer at First Citizens Bank. She says her favorite aspect of banking is community involvement. “There really is a sense of belonging,” she said.

What is your favorite thing about the banking industry?

Community involvement — whether it is helping a customer get their business established in the community or being part of a committee/service organization (which most community banks seem to be strong supporters of) — there really is a sense of belonging.

Describe one life experience that taught you a lesson that you apply to your banking career:

I was involved with various athletic teams all throughout my childhood and into college. One thing this taught me was to embrace the different strengths everyone brings to the table and that it is okay to ask for help. When I’m underwriting a loan request or trying to develop a process for our team to utilize — I usually find my best work comes when I’m able to bounce ideas off others and take their input into consideration.

What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?

There’s something for everyone! Whether you’re interested in a customer-facing retail or lending position, or a more behind-the-scenes position, such as credit underwriting, operations, HR, accounting, IT, marketing, etc. — there’s sure to be an opportunity that will be a good fit. And, because of the interdependency of the different departments, there’s usually room to transition without feeling like you’re starting from scratch if you feel yourself being pulled in a different direction down the road.

How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?

The IBA has been a great resource for educational opportunities as well as networking opportunities. Being a graduate of both commercial and agricultural lending schools through the IBA, I would say both were great experiences, and it’s always nice to hear from others in the industry regarding challenges they face (both those that are similar and different than you) and how they work to overcome them. Sometimes, it’s that little bit of difference in perspective that can be just what you need!

When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?

When the weather permits, spending time outdoors with my husband and three boys! If we’re stuck inside, baking is typically our go-to activity!

What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?

Trying my best to live in the moment and have an attitude of gratitude — I don’t always get around to writing out a daily gratitude list, but it has become a habit of mine to pause to make a mental note of those things that bring a smile to my face. It’s a lot easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re focused on finding those good things you are thankful for rather than on a lot of the negative news we see plastered all over various media channels. The world can feel a little less heavy if even just for a moment.