Q: What brought you to Oklahoma?
A: TU (The University of Tulsa). The son of one of my mother's girlfriends attended there, and my mom suggested I check it out over spring break my senior year in high school. I did and loved it. I liked that it was a small school and also the warm temperatures that come earlier in the year here.
I paid most of my way through school, so during college I worked 20 hours a week for Continental, loading and unloading baggage.
The upside is during the years I worked for them, including five post-graduation, I enjoyed lots of free flights from long weekends to San Francisco, three trips to Europe and one to Tahiti.
I also learned a lot about dealing with people. There's nothing like being on the other side of a ticket counter from an irate customer delayed six hours because of weather to help you to learn to keep your cool.
Q: How did you get into banking?
A: There was no real advancement opportunity for me with Continental without moving to L.A. So I went back to TU at night to earn my MBA, with a concentration in finance, and reposition myself. One of my professors thought banking would be a good route for me. Upon graduation, I was among a group of 10 hired for a yearlong management development program with First Tulsa, one of our predecessors. I've been with them ever since. I spent 11 years in commercial lending, then headed the international division when we were Liberty Bank and moved back into commercial banking, as division manager, when we were bought by Bank One. Banking has been a good career for me. I like using my analytical skills, but also the people side: developing relationships with clients.
Q: Community banks frequently claim they can offer better service to customers than larger banks. What are your thoughts?
A: I think there's a role for all — community, regional and national banks — to play. Chase wins business when it makes sense, provides value, for customers. Traditionally, community banks do a lot of real estate lending and lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs, and regional banks provide another layer or level of service.
Meanwhile, Chase can handle complex banking opportunities, such as with companies doing business overseas. We also can offer larger companies big credit positions — even in excess of $25 million. At the end of the day, we all need competition. It's what drives us to be better.
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