Employee profile: Dan Foster

 

Dan Foster, hired at Grand Rapids State Bank in September 2013, is one of two credit analysts.  As part of the business banking team, Dan and his colleague, Tina Comstock, are responsible for providing in-depth analysis of the financial performance of the bank’s business loan customers. 

As part of the business banking team, Dan works with GRSB’s business lenders (Al Liestman, Wayne Bruns and Jared Pink) to determine the risk profile of a new business customer or to determine the impact of more borrowing on existing customers.  He develops a presentation of facts after reviewing a company’s financial statements and tax returns.  Often he and a lender will meet with the customer to discuss the project for which financing is being considered, and by being involved he and Tina help prevent data from getting lost in translation.  During these meetings, observations by the analysts or lenders can provide customers with some useful advice. 

“I like to think of us as adding value to our banking service,” Dan explained. “I think that we make a difference in the relationship that’s built between the bank and our business customers.”

Dan grew up in Bovey, Minnesota, “hub of the nation” as it’s known in some circles.  Dan participated in hockey, football and golf at Greenway High School and after graduation in 2007, Dan attended Bemidji State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a finance concentration and a minor in economics.

Dan married his high school sweetheart almost exactly a year after graduating from college.  “Amy is two years older than me, and we wanted to graduate at the same time which made planning our future much easier,” Dan explained.  “A couple of things worked in my favor to make this happen as soon as possible.  I had earned some of my college credits while I was still in high school (by taking post-secondary education option—PSEO—courses), and Amy was on the five-year plan.  We ended up graduating at the same time, and we were married in May 2011.”

Dan and Amy moved to Grand Rapids after graduation and Dan accepted a position as credit analyst with American Bank of the North at the end of that summer.  However, Dan recalls that summer as being memorable for several reasons.

“We were married in May, I fell in a rollerblading accident and broke my scapula in June and in July we bought our first house in northeast Grand Rapids that required some major remodeling.  Remodeling a house with a broken shoulder was difficult but luckily we had lots of help from family and friends.  I have vivid memories of long nights painting which served as extra physical therapy for my right shoulder.”

“I learned a lot at American Bank,” continued Dan.  “I was hired to help analyze a distressed loan portfolio.   The bank was under a consent order, which is public information.  My role was to help provide more in-depth and more frequent analysis of loans since the bank needed to be more familiar with the financial status of these borrowers.  We had a big backlog to work through.”

Dan admits that he has seen the worst of the worst considering that the banking industry and the entire world had been thrust into the midst of one of the most severe financial crises in history.  “I now have a great idea of what to look for when I pore through a loan file,” said Dan.  “I know what triggers to look for that may lead to similar financial problems experienced by other borrowers.”

Dan noted there are differences with his job here at GRSB compared with his prior job.  Being situated in a main bank office as opposed to an administrative office, Dan sees more customer traffic.  “I like to see people from the community on a regular basis,” he added.

Dan and Amy have been busy raising two daughters, Ella and Aria, ages two years and three months respectively.   His now-busy family life has resulted in scaling back some of his involvement in hockey coaching, an understandable passion for a Greenway graduate. “I coached Greenway youth hockey for two years, until our first daughter was born, but the weekends and practice schedules were too much.  Now I referee youth hockey, which gives me my hockey fix but isn’t as time consuming.

“Being a ref is an interesting job,” said Dan.  “I see it as a chance to continue teaching young players, but I can tell you that you need to have thick skin to do this work.  The return rate after the first year of reffing is only about 20%.  For some parents, the ref is the reason their son or daughter didn’t score a goal or is in the penalty box.  I’ve heard some unbelievable things from the mouths of people who I thought were otherwise normal and well-mannered."

Thick skin; a love for the area; returning to his roots; doing a job he loves: Dan is all set.

  

Above: Amy and Dan with Ella and baby Aria.  As an avid hunter, Dan is proud to show off some Canada geese (two subspecies) taken in North Dakota. Below: Dan with some ducks taken in a local beaver pond and a 10-point Itasca County buck.  

  


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