Pub. 13 2023-2024 Issue 5

CBA Centerpoint

Josie Bunch

Vice President of Strategy & Experience
Graduate School of Banking at Colorado

How did you get started in the banking industry?
My father was a community bank president and CEO. I grew up in the bank but eventually left and didn’t think banking was in my future. I needed a summer job during graduate school and GSBC was hiring assistants for its summer session. On my first day, former GSBC President Tim Koch commented on the small-town Iowa dealership sticker on the back of my car. I shared that its owner is a board member of my dad’s, and it was our practice as a community banking family to support local businesses. The following February, I received an invitation to interview for the director of marketing vacancy. Tim later joked that I passed the “test” the very first day!

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
My dad’s career is an example of what GSBC fosters nationwide. A banking school was part of his development and had our Executive Development Institute for Community Bankers been in existence, he would have fit the bill for it perfectly during his promotion.

One of my favorite quotes about our industry is by Glen Jammaron of Alpine Bank, who said, “I started in banking because I needed a job, and I stayed in banking because I care about the community, and I care about the community I’m in.” The values of our industry are exceptional. Giving back isn’t something community bankers do to measure or justify efforts; it is core to who they are. GSBC’s mission is to equip them with knowledge, ideas and relationships to make a lasting impact on their customers and communities.

What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
The impact of the GSBC experience on a banking career.

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know.
I am a former NCAA Division I athlete (and have a Kansas State University letter jacket to prove it!) … in women’s equestrian.

Deontae Cowans

Lock Desk Supervisor
FirstBank — Mortgage Consumer Lending

How did you get started in the banking industry?
When I was 19 years old, my mentor, Haroun Cowans, insisted I get a thorough understanding of finances and the financial industry to aid me throughout my life. I was afforded an opportunity to work for a great institution and learn many aspects of retail banking. Learning the importance of building relationships both internally and with clients continues to be the base of my personal and professional growth.

What makes your bank unique?
FirstBank puts a large emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). I am a proud member of our internal Greenwood Community, which is a Black/African American employee resource group. This group provides Black/African Americans and those who support the Black community a platform to speak candidly regarding social issues while personally giving me an opportunity to be a confident professional Black man. While networking is an added benefit, the community aspect of this group vividly shows how an institution can have a successful platform to comfortably be Black.

What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
As someone who loves their job, I can thoroughly speak on mortgage rates and mortgage pricing. I understand and can relay how indexes affect mortgage pricing, how a bank’s funding position can be impacted by liquidity and how margins can impact net profitability. I get excited even thinking about it!

What do you geek out about?
As a child at heart, I love Nintendo. My friends and I have played a game called Super Smash Brothers since its inception and have played consistently for the last 15 years. For those who know, we are all Elite Smashers, as Smash is life.

What do you listen to on your morning commute?
I enjoy both classical music and the Morning Edition on NPR. Having both of my children exposed to the dialogue and stimulating conversations continues to develop them academically and socially. I alternate between the two stations, 88.1 and 90.1, to be enlightened, engaged and prepared for the upcoming challenges of the day.

Amy Darnell

Senior Vice President, Director of Audit
ANB Bank

How did you get started in the banking industry?
My career began just after I had graduated with an associate’s degree in business. I was looking to take a break from school and wanted a position that offered a regular schedule. I got a job in the customer service department with what was then The Bank of Cherry Creek. Thirty-three years later, I am at the same bank, now known as ANB Bank, and have risen through the ranks to become the director of audit.

What are you most proud of in your professional life so far?
I am most proud of the progress I have made climbing the ladder within this company. Looking back, I can hardly believe how far I have come from my humble beginnings in customer service. I was able to do this with the support of a couple of great mentors as supervisors and ANB Bank’s propensity to promote from within. The bank giving me those opportunities played no small part in my success. ANB Bank has allowed me to forge a career that I draw a great deal of pride from.

What do you enjoy about your job?
As an auditor, my responsibility is to dig into almost all facets of the bank’s business. As a result, I get to experience, even if only in a limited capacity, almost every element of the bank’s operations. Doing this allows me the opportunity to not only learn a great deal about everything the bank does, but it has allowed me to facilitate long-lasting and productive relationships with co-workers from all areas of the bank.

What do you geek out about?
Walt Disney World is perhaps the thing I geek out about the most. I could talk at length about the experiences that my family and I have had there over the past two decades.

Sam Summers

Community President — Greeley
Mountain Valley Bank

How did you get started in the banking industry?
After graduating from the University of Wyoming, I had the opportunity to participate in Farm Credit’s 9th District Management Training program in Wichita, Kansas. During and after the program, I was based in Limon, Colorado, with the Production Credit Association. Shortly after that, I relocated to Wyoming to start my commercial banking career with Rawlins National Bank.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Most definitely it is working with the employees of the bank to mentor them and assist in their career development. Equally rewarding is partnering with our great customers to help them find solutions to grow their businesses while providing the highest standard of service.

What are you most proud of in your professional life so far?
Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of troubled banks, and it was very rewarding to put teams together to bring the institutions back to good financial and regulatory health, where they are now strong contributors to both their respective communities and customers. I must say, though, it is more fun working for a strong family-owned bank now!

What is your favorite movie or book, and why?
Anything written by C.J. Box. He is a Wyoming author, and the majority of his storylines are based in areas where I was born and raised.

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know.
I was the youngest private pilot in the nation for one day! I was fortunate to be able to work for a fixed based operator (FBO) during my high school years, which was a great high school job. Plus, I had the opportunity to learn to fly at a very young age. I took my pilot license “check ride” on my birthday and was the youngest pilot in the nation for that day until some other youngster took their check ride the next day on their birthday, dethroning me of my short-lived honor!

Do you know a deserving Colorado bank employee we should feature? Contact Patricia Wells at

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