Gary Green and California Bank & Trust look for vanishing lender abilities

Profile: wanted: strong hitters who can play all positions: Gary Green and California Bank & Trust look for vanishing lender abilities

Carol McGinn

Gary Green could be called a “renaissance banker.” He’s a motivator, a coach, an advisor, a solutions provider … in addition to what’s in his job description.

“I wear many hats at my bank,” laughs Green, who is senior vice president and manager at California Bank & Trust in Tustin, Calif. “It certainly is challenging at times!”

Green acts as corporate bank manager for the $9 billion California Bank & Trust, which is owned by Zions Bancorp, a $30 billion holding company. He is responsible for managing four corporate bank offices, whose lenders are responsible for commercial and real estate loans of $1 million or more. He is also the regional manager for three retail offices as well as relationship manager for the bank’s portfolio of customers. More than 50 staff members report directly or indirectly to Green.

Green says the retail branches are full-service in that they provide services to corporate customers. As such, he adds that “corporate customers expect to see stability. And that includes the look of the branch.” Green has even been involved with remodeling several branches, helping to select new teller lines and other fixtures.

Making use of his finely tuned interpersonal skills is crucial to Green’s success as a manager. “When I got promoted, a good friend congratulated me on my new job in human resources,” Green recalls. “I thought it was funny at the time, but I’ve come to learn that there is a lot of communication and personal contact involved in this job, not just with my coworkers but also with my customers.

“What differentiates us from our competitors is the value-added we bring to the table,” says Green, “and that includes the look of our branches.

“I’m a solutions provider,” he adds. “We have some serious competition in this market from large banks, and I believe it’s the relationship management side of our business that sets us apart from the rest. It’s the face-to-face meeting with customers, the personal contact, the access throughout the relationship, the experience of the relationship manager. Those things are all important to customers.”

Green says his hank looks for what he calls “dinosaur bankers,” the lenders who can focus on business development, credit analysis, and relationship management. “Few hankers have the ability or experience to do all three nowadays,” he says. “Some of the major banks offer training only in one area, so lenders coming through those programs don’t have exposure to all areas.”

Green has lent his problem-solving and coaching skills to RMA for the past 1.5 years. The immediate past president of the Orange County Chapter, he was the local chapter coordinator for the RMA Annual Risk Management Conference in Anaheim, Calif., and is on the Steering Committee for the 2005 Chapter Leaders Conference in Orlando. An active volunteer outside of banking as well, Green has been on the board of the Boys and Girls Club for 10 years and has coached several sports teams for his 17-yearold son and 15-year-old daughter. “I guess coaching is just in my blood,” he jokes. Everyone at California B&T might be inclined to agree!

[c] 2005 by RMA. McGinn is a Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania-based freelance writer and desktop publisher specializing in financial and business topics.

COPYRIGHT 2005 The Risk Management Association

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning