July 29, 2022, California: When did you join FBN®, what is your current role at FBN, where are you based and what are your responsibilities?
I joined FBN in November 2020, I am a senior credit counselor within the finance department. I offer real estate, farm and farm equipment financing, as well as insurance and livestock cross-selling for farmers and people starting out in farming, as well as cross-selling of other FBN products.
The majority of people I deal with already work in the agriculture industry, but some are considering going into agriculture.
What was your previous work experience before joining FBN?
I was an agricultural lender for about 15 years in the community banking system, I was vice president of a few banks, president of a bank. Most of them were local community banks.
What did you first find compelling about FBN that made you want to learn more?
My old boss is on the finance team. He approached me while I was making corn bales one day, “I’ve just started with this FBN company, that’s pretty cool, and we’re looking for credit counselors, would you be interested?”
I was pretty happy where I was, and he said it was a start-up. This made me a bit nervous, as I had never worked with a start-up before. Everything I had been working on was well established, but I said “well, I’m not opposed to hearing them”.
I went to the interview process and fell in love with it throughout the interview process, the idea and the direction that FBN was going. I thought it was a very nice opportunity where I could enter on the ground floor. I thought that was pretty cool after talking to TJ Wilson and Dan English.
Why did you finally decide to join FBN? What was this thought process like for you?
On a personal level, I first met TJ and thought “He’s a guy I could work for.” He was great in the interview, and I felt like I had a really good connection with him and Dan. The way FBN is set up in the finance department, the model they presented to me, really caught my attention and made me think “Man, they’re serious, and this thing really could be something quite spectacular if it comes to achievement.”
In my two years here it has only met and exceeded expectations, and they were right: they said so, and more, so I haven’t regretted it a bit. single day. It’s a great place to work, the best job I’ve ever had, and the people here are awesome.
Finance, our model, is team-based, and they’ve built great teams and tools that we can use. It was a breath of fresh air. We are on budget or way over budget. We had great success with the model they offered us.
Now that you’ve joined, how would you describe the culture at FBN and what it’s like to work here?
When I think back to my previous experiences, it seemed to me that agricultural loans weren’t as respected, not as high on the banks’ board lists. They were kind of stuck in a rut, not wanting to change things. The days have become banal. Doing the same thing over and over and over again, and it seemed like when you presented a credit, it was scrutinized thoroughly.
It was getting harder and harder to get money for the guys. It just didn’t seem like farming was their top priority, whereas here, from management to the lowest of the totem pole, if we bring up an issue or an idea, you really feel like they’re going to take it into account and do something about it.
Take ideas, run with them, try new things. We’re still in our infancy, and you can tell they really want things to work, to be really good, and no idea is left out.
In the team we have many years of experience, and you can always turn to someone who has experience in this field.
As an agricultural lender, I am used to corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle, and now I do loans for coffee and different varieties of produce. Things I had no idea about until I got into it and learned from other people in the finance department.
Everyone is knowledgeable. You can definitely find someone who has an idea of what’s going on, and in my old system I didn’t have access to those channels. It’s fun to be here.
I don’t want to denigrate my old institutions or anything. A lot of those places didn’t have a lot of farming experience, so they were scared of it. They did not know. My bosses were mostly commercial lenders. They didn’t understand agriculture, whereas everyone here has finished farming. Everyone understands that and it’s refreshing. I’m nice.
We know you have a life outside of work – what kind of things do you do for fun?
In fact, I’m a farmer myself. This is my farm office that I’m in right now. We raise cattle, corn, soybeans, and that’s kind of what I do as a hobby. When I’m not working at FBN, I work in the fields or with cattle.
My father runs the corn/soya farm. I run the cattle operation. Day to day, it’s just me, my father and my wife. My dad has been a farmer since the 70s and I started farming when I graduated from college, but I have been involved in farming most of my life.
What advice would you give to someone considering FBN?
If you decide to come, you have made the right choice. It is a complete package in terms of agricultural financing. If you decide to join, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help because there is always someone here who will help you.
FBN as a whole is a great, great company and moving in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to join in because this is the place to be. From top to bottom, it’s been nothing but awesome.
Really, FBN is a great place, great culture, great people and we are moving in the right direction. I couldn’t ask for anything else.
Also Read: Asean and Taiwan Investment in Indian Food Processing Sector