Pub. 14 2024-2025 Issue 1

CBA Centerpoint

Going Beyond the Desk to Hear the Stories of Colorado Bankers

Colby Cochran

Director, Branch Banking

First National Bank of Omaha

What makes your bank unique?

At FNBO, we pride ourselves on being a Great Big Small Bank. We have been in business for more than 165 years and are family-owned, so we understand the importance of knowing our communities well. This allows us to provide support and services that collectively strengthen the financial health of the businesses and individuals in the communities that surround us.

What do you like to do to give back to the community?

Personally, I absolutely love the fact that I get to be involved in all of our communities along the front range. Financial education, especially while partnering with local organizations, is one of my favorite ways to give back. Establishing solid fundamentals when it comes to personal finance is essential in building a strong future, and I find great value in any opportunity to play my part in helping others learn and grow.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from a career in banking?

Every person we interact with day-to-day comes from a different background, has different life experiences and will ultimately be at a different point in their life or career when we meet them. Not only do we need to know and understand this, we need to be agile in our ability to walk in our customers’ shoes as we help them navigate their financial future. In my opinion, doing this well and being able to help someone along the path to success is one of the most gratifying things anyone can experience.

What do you geek out about?

Sports, but more specifically college athletics. Student-athletes are required to multi-task at a very high level, and it’s typically at an early life stage. I thoroughly enjoy watching the best coaches around the country shape and develop strong cultures that will have a lasting positive impact on the lives of the individuals they coach.

What do you listen to on your morning commute?

I think we can all agree that a good pump-up song will always get your day started right. However, most days, I like to listen to podcasts while commuting. I rotate between my favorite finance and sports podcasts depending on the time of year (and how well my favorite teams are doing, of course).

Christina Kraft

Senior Vice President, Fort Lupton

Bank of Colorado

How did you get started in the banking industry?

I started in the banking industry over 24 years ago, as a teller in Loveland, Colorado. I had planned to go to medical school but enjoyed my experience as a teller and decided to major in business, leaving the door open for multiple career paths. After college, I accepted a management trainee position at a community bank in Alaska. As a management trainee, I had the opportunity to work in all areas of the bank, learn from leaders within the organization, and travel throughout the state, which exposed me to lots of unique experiences, interesting loan requests and diverse economies. My grandfather was a banker in Shickley, Nebraska, so I suppose banking is in my blood.

What makes your bank unique?

The communities we serve have built and shaped our bank over the years. Each market operates with a sense of unique independence, allowing us to best support our customers and team. This community-centric approach makes Bank of Colorado truly special.

What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?

House Bill 24-1351. I’m well-versed on this topic after participating in the CBA Bank Advocacy Program and testifying on behalf of the banking industry against the provision within the Division of Banking Sunset Report, allowing a credit union to buy a bank. Unfortunately, you only get a few minutes to testify so I learned to talk fast and with intention. Alternatively, I could speak about edible and medicinal plants if you’re looking for a more universally entertaining topic!

What do you listen to on your morning commute?

I’m just the DJ. I have three delightful daughters who take charge of the music selection. Our playlist is usually a loud and lively mix including Disney’s Frozen, Imagine Dragons, Queen and Taylor Swift.

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to join an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) Boss Lift mission and traveled from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Hickam Air Base in Honolulu, Hawaii, with several community leaders. During the flight to Hickam, I helped refuel an in-flight fighter jet while operating the boom of a KC-135. This trip remains a highlight of my career!

Raymond Mendoza

Credit Analyst, Corporate Commercial Banking

Vectra Bank Colorado

How did you get started in the banking industry?

I started my journey in the banking industry through the Bankers Development Program at the prestigious Vectra Bank of Colorado. This program stood out to me with its comprehensive curriculum and promising career trajectory. It offered a structured pathway, starting with foundational training as a credit analyst. This initial phase involved intensive classroom sessions supplemented by practical experiences, including case studies, regulatory training, and interactions with senior management. Following this, I transitioned into the Rotational Phase, gaining hands-on exposure across various banking divisions such as Commercial Lending, Real Estate Lending, Private Banking and Community Banking.

What do you like to do to give back to the community?

Both personally and as a bank representative, I prioritize giving back to the community through volunteering initiatives. I firmly believe in the importance of contributing to the well-being of the communities we serve. Whether participating in local clean-up drives, volunteering at food banks or engaging in financial literacy programs, I am committed to making a positive impact. As a banker, I strive to align the bank’s resources and expertise with community needs, supporting initiatives that foster economic empowerment and social development.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from a career in banking?

One of the most profound lessons I’ve gleaned from my career in banking is the significance of trust and integrity in fostering long-term relationships. Banking is inherently built on trust, whether it’s between clients and financial institutions or among colleagues within the organization. I’ve witnessed firsthand how these values strengthen relationships and contribute to sustainable growth and success in the banking industry.

What is your favorite movie or book, and why?

My favorite movie series is Star Wars. Its timeless narrative, rich mythology and captivating characters have left an indelible mark on me since childhood. The saga’s ability to transport audiences to a galaxy far, far away while addressing universal truths resonates deeply with me. Moreover, its enduring legacy and cultural impact continue to inspire generations of fans worldwide, making it a cherished favorite for me.

Lindsay Muniz

Director of Education

Colorado Bankers Association

How did you get started in the banking industry?

I was introduced to the banking industry by my mother-in-law who worked at Wells Fargo and was very involved with the Colorado Bankers Association. I was pondering a career change when I noticed a job posting for an executive assistant at CBA. I applied and was over-the-moon excited when I was offered the position. After four years in that role, I was honored to be promoted to director of education. With a degree in behavior science, and previous work experience as a florist, I never imagined banking was in my future, but I have loved every day of the last eight years at CBA!

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I came into my current role with minimal exposure to the world of banking and politics, and I love that I now get to expand and share my knowledge on a daily basis. As director of education, I coordinate/facilitate 30+ webinars and 10 in-person events each year including a 10-month bank advocacy training program. It’s a great feeling when participants walk away from my classes and events with new knowledge, new perspectives and new friends.

What are you most proud of in your professional life so far?

I am most proud of being asked to join the American Bankers Association’s Emerging Leaders Council — a chair-appointed council composed of bank leaders from all 50 states. The council helps shape and implement ABA’s strategy to attract, connect and develop current and next-generation leaders in the banking industry through leadership training, networking, mentoring and advocacy engagement.

What do you geek out about?

My kid! I have a five-year-old daughter, Ella, who is my whole world! We like to hike, bake, read, make crafts, play kickball and paint our nails together!

What do you listen to on your morning commute?

I have lots of time to fill on the morning drive! I usually either listen to non-fiction audio books and podcasts or I catch up with phone calls to my family.

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