Baudler Gives Banking a Second Chance
Mark Baudler nearly wrote off banking as a career when he took a money and banking course at Iowa State University. The material was so dry he thought he would never work in banking. Before he graduated, however, he tried out banking as an agricultural loan officer intern and quickly changed his mind. “Learning the lending and banking world from those who actually lived and worked in it shifted my mindset, and the opportunity to be an integral part in the small community really spoke to me,” he said.
Today, Baudler is an assistant vice president loan officer and compliance officer at Union State Bank in Winterset. “The rewards of working in a community bank are intangible, and the longer I am in this line of work, the more I realize the immense benefits of being a part of the local community,” he said.
How did you get into banking as a career?
My first experience in banking was a money and banking course at Iowa State. It was a required course for my major, and was one that I dreaded attending due to the dry material and the way it was presented. After that class, I had my mind made up that I would not have a career in banking. That changed with an internship my last summer in college working for a small community bank in my hometown as an agricultural loan officer intern. Learning the lending and banking world from those who actually lived and worked in it shifted my mindset, and the opportunity to be an integral part in the small community really spoke to me. After graduation, I spent a few years working for a large agricultural finance company in Ames and left that position to work for Union State Bank in Winterset as a loan officer and act as the bank’s compliance officer.
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?
Prior to banking, I worked in several capacities revolving around production agriculture, from being a farmhand growing up to working for the local seed salesman. The job that I would say was most unusual and interesting was working as a product stewardship and regulatory compliance intern at DuPont Pioneer for a period of six months in college. Today, as a loan officer and salesman by nature, I despise all the regulations and hoops we have to jump through, but also acting as our bank’s compliance officer, I have to be the one to not only hold myself accountable, but my co-workers as well. The compliance job at Pioneer taught me a few things that I still use today — (1) that compliance is a headache, (2) no one likes it when the compliance person knocks on their door, and (3) how to properly communicate the importance of following regulations and how to help others implement best practices to meet regulatory requirements.
What is your best elevator pitch for why banking is a great career?
To put it simply and bluntly, there are parts of every job that you will love and parts that you will dislike. Banking isn’t any different from that perspective, and there are challenges in banking. That being said, the rewards of working in a community bank are intangible, and the longer I am in this line of work, the more I realize the immense benefits of being a part of the local community. You are a trusted resource in the community and people are comfortable sharing their lives with you as you get to know and work with them. Having that sense of confidentiality lets people know that they can turn to their banker in any life situation. And it is just as rewarding to get out in the community at various events to meet and talk with people as it is to have them just pop in for a few minutes because they wanted to chat.
How does getting involved with the Iowa Bankers Association help you and your bank?
Getting involved with the IBA has proven to be a wise decision from my personal standpoint. Taking advantage of webinar offerings and various schools (compliance and commercial lending to name a few) has helped improve my technical knowledge, but just as beneficial has been attending the personal development offerings such as the NextGen Forum. I have also recently been accepted into the 2022 IBA Bank Leadership Institute, which I am incredibly excited to be a part of and get started with. The IBA offers many opportunities to improve your technical skills as a banker which helps benefit yourself and your bank, but even more valuable are those opportunities to better yourself as a whole, which in turn benefits everyone you end up interacting with. I encourage all Iowa bankers to either get involved with the IBA or take advantage of the many offerings they provide.
When you’re not at work, what do you like to do most?
In these winter months, the majority of my personal time consists of reading primarily self-improvement/reflection books. In the warmer months, I’m spending as much time outside as I can. I try to take a week-long camping trip each year and enjoy fishing, hiking and kayaking. On top of all of that, a good portion of my time is filled by being the chairman of the board of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, in which my time is spent working with the community in making Madison County a better place to live, work, play and conduct business.
What is a quote or guiding principle you live by?
“Serve one another humbly in love.”
— Paul the Apostle in the fifth chapter of his letter to the Galatians