Wisconsin's bankers are the definition of "community advocates" in all that you do every day to improve your local economy through your bank's products and services, as well as through your generous philanthropy of time and money. This column shares and celebrates the diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and innovation of some of the extraordinary bankers in this state.

Pablo Sanchez profileThe following is a brief interview between WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels and Madison-based The Park Bank Vice President business Development Pablo Sanchez.

Rose: How did you first get into the banking industry?
Pablo: I was considering working at Chili's with my roommate. My roommate's father was a banker and pulled me aside and advised me to consider working at the bank part-time as I finished with school. I took his advice and got a job as a teller. I really enjoyed interacting with customers, especially the small business owners. It was a small office, so I got the opportunity to learn a bit about each of the other roles at the branch. During the slow times of the day, I was able to help the manager, commercial lender, and the relationship banker with various tasks. This was a big help as I was considering banking as a career. 

What is your favorite aspect of your role at your bank?
What makes Madison a great place to live is the many wonderful organizations that are focused on our community, so I especially appreciate that through my job I am able to focus on the banking needs of non-profits. I also enjoy having the opportunity to help our business clients grow their business with financing options, cash management, and creating personal wealth. Overall, my role allows me to meet with diverse individuals and organizations and get to know them, which is very personally rewarding.

What do you wish the general public understood about the banking industry?
I wish more people understood the role banks play in developing a strong local economy. Deposits at the bank help fund projects of economic and cultural importance in our community, from start-ups and mom-and-pop shops to child daycare centers, apartment buildings, restaurants, and entertainment venues. 

Where do you believe the industry's greatest challenges are in the next three to five years?
When I began in banking, a client needed to walk into a brick-and-mortar branch to do almost all of their banking, and now, clients can do all of their banking from home or at the office, giving bankers fewer opportunities for face-to-face interactions with our clients. Advances in e-banking mean our clients can access their bank in more ways than ever, and we will need to be agile as we adapt to what our consumers want and need, all while still maintaining our ability to provide personalized service to our clients. 

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your work as a banker?
One of my most memorable experiences recently was through a financial literacy training program that Park Bank purchased to implement at a local high school. This training program teaches, assesses, and certifies students in financial literacy using the latest new media tools including 3D gaming. The program covers banking, credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, savings, 401ks, and other critical financial concepts. As the liaison between the bank, the school, and the tech company, I was able to introduce this program to the students and was a resource to the students as they went through the program. Financial literacy is so important to the success of young adults, and it was so rewarding to teach these students important topics that would help them throughout the rest of their lives. I am proud to say that all of the students passed the Financial Education Certification at the end of the program!

Do you know a banker who should be recognized as a Community Advocate for the work that they do? Nominate them today by emailing Rose