All the right tools

Brick by brick, Brian Thomas’ efforts laid a strong foundation for a successful banking career. Thomas started wholesale mortgage banking after graduating from the University of Oregon in 2005. After a wild ride through volatile economic conditions, he secured a position as a credit analyst at a growing community bank in January 2008. He spent many years learning credit and building relationships in the community. He’s been with Summit Bank since 2019 and now serves as Summit Bank Senior Vice President and Commercial Team Lead for Portland. He sat down with us about his journey and Summit Bank. 

What do you love most about banking?  

My absolute favorite part is developing relationships with local business owners. I love learning about what makes their businesses tick and exploring ways to help business owners meet their goals. The lifelong learning the industry offers makes me excited to go to work every day.  

What sets Summit Bank apart from other financial institutions?  

Service! At Summit Bank, we’re empowered to make decisions, do the right thing, and care for our clients and colleagues. 

What is the best part of your job?  

The best part of my job is playing a role in making financial achievement possible for business owners and watching the economic prosperity it generates. Banking is woven into the fabric of the business community, and I love being a part of that. Banks provide the lifeblood of businesses – capital. Helping businesses and business owners grow and thrive is the best part of the job. We operate in a heavily regulated industry, and the most challenging part of the job is declining a loan request.  

What do you like most about the market where you live and work? 

At the East end of the Burnside Bridge, a sign reads, “Long live the wildcards, misfits, and dabblers.” Portland is home to an amazingly diverse set of businesses and owners, and their reach is worldwide. I love the creativity and entrepreneurship the City breeds. Not to mention, it is the most beautiful place in the world!  

If you weren’t in banking, what else might you do for a living? 

I would be a financial advisor/wealth manager if I were not in banking. At the core, I enjoy analyzing complex financial positions and advising/helping people meet their goals.  

While not at work, where might we find you?  

As much as I’m dedicated to my professional life, I’m equally passionate about my pursuits. I wear my handyman hat and shift gears when Saturday morning rolls around. There’s something incredibly satisfying about rolling up my sleeves and taking on various remodeling projects around the house. 

Every project becomes an opportunity to express my creativity and craftsmanship, from repainting walls to installing new fixtures. I approach each task with the same meticulousness and problem-solving skills I use in my consulting work. A sense of fulfillment comes with seeing my ideas materialize and witnessing the transformation of my living space. 

Amidst the remodeling endeavors, I carve out time for leisure and adventure with my family. Golfing provides me with a chance to unwind and enjoy the outdoors while travel broadens my horizons and exposes me and my family to new experiences.  

So, you could say I’m a man of many hats—helping businesses fix their problems during the week and remodeling my house on the weekends. This balance keeps me energized, content, and ready to take on whatever challenges lie ahead.  

Tell us a story about a positive experience you had with a client. 

Not all loan decisions are immediately positive. Developing a trusted relationship with a business owner can be very powerful. In this case, the business owner was in a challenging situation with their current bank and was looking for a new relationship. I took the time to educate the owner on the challenge of obtaining bank financing and suggested we start developing a connection with treasury services. We worked together to set attainable financial metrics and maintained communication quarterly. The client not only achieved the milestones we established, but they exceeded them. Soon enough, the client established a lending relationship with the Bank and was confident in requesting funds for continued growth. We celebrated the success with a nice dinner and developed a lasting relationship that continues to grow. 

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