In October of 1986 Mark Miller interviewed with Bill and Dick Herbrechstmeyer for a job at First Security Bank. He had farming experience, some lending experience, but no banking experience. More than 36 years later, he’s announced that he is retiring on January 6th, 2023, from his role as Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer at First Security Bank.
Mark, who is originally from Greene, attended Iowa State University where he received a degree in Farm Operations. After graduation, he returned home to work on the family farm with his dad and mom. Several years later, the farm crisis took place, causing the Millers to downsize the family farm.
As Mark says, “It was a difficult decision, but the farming operation wasn’t enough to support two families. One door closed and another one opened. I was able to use my experience and education to get into lending.”
He began working for the Farmer’s Home Administration in Charles City, where they covered Floyd and Mitchell counties. Soon, he accepted a job at First Security Bank in Charles City as an Ag Lender.
“I felt I was better able to relate to customers because of what my family went through on the farm,” said Mark. “The biggest thing I got out of that time was adhering to the golden rule – respecting and treating others as you want to be treated.”
Mark worked in the residential real estate lending area of the bank for a portion of his career before moving back into ag and commercial lending, this time in a supervisory role. This area of banking requires lenders to develop an ongoing relationship with customers. Mark found it very rewarding to work with customers through the ups and downs that most businesses need to endure to provide for their families and contribute positively to the communities they live in. These partnerships with customers and the team at First Security that helped make them possible have been highlights of Mark’s career and are what he’ll miss the most.
Another highlight for Mark has been the opportunity to work with family during his career – whether it was on the family farm or at First Security later. Two of his three children, Eric and Emily, worked at the bank in various roles, including wearing the costume of Better Bee, the bank’s children’s savings account mascot, when they were younger. As an adult, Eric worked as an Ag/Commercial Lender for over 7 years. It was exciting for Mark to watch him grow in that role.
Mark said he learned a lot from his peers over the years and he hopes he’s been able to teach others.
Vice President, Retail Lending Manager Kim Schlader attested to that when she said, “I have been blessed to work with Mark. His knowledge and experience in lending has taught me more than any textbook could. He listens and looks at every request with an open mind and shares his perspective. It’s because of this that I have grown as a lender and manager.”
Vice President, Ag/Commercial Lender John Paulus said, “I have worked with Mark for about 30 years, and it is going to be quite different without him around. I have enjoyed having him be a part of my development with the bank. He has always been there to help with questions and solutions, and I’ve valued his advice and guidance over the years.”
Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer, President/CEO at First Security, said, “I’ve been lucky to have had the opportunity to work closely with Mark for most of my career, and I have seen his impact on both customers and bankers. Mark has always led by example, first and foremost, with patience, respect, empathy, and integrity in everything he does both personally and professionally.”
Kim added, “As sad as I am to see him leave, I could not be happier for him. Family is so important to him, and I hope he fills the next part of his life by enjoying every minute with his wife, kids, and grandkids.”
That is, in fact, in the future for Mark and his wife Patti. Their three kids, Tricia, Eric, and Emily are spread out over Pittsburgh, Charles City, and San Francisco respectively. Among their children, they have four grandchildren they enjoy seeing, so more time for travel will be a great benefit of retirement for Mark. He also hopes to devote more time to his hobbies which include running, biking, and reading.
Mark will begin these retirement plans after celebrating with an open house that First Security is holding in his honor. Please join First Security in this celebration on Friday, January 6th between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm in the First Security lobby at 809 Clark Street.
First Security Bank & Trust has locations across North Central Iowa and headquarters in Charles City. Member FDIC.