Michael Brown moved to Colorado in late 1990 from his native state of Oklahoma. In early 1991, Michael began working for Alpine Bank, Aspen, as a customer service representative and later as a lending officer.
In 1996, Michael relocated to the Vail Valley, helping Alpine Bank open locations in Avon and Edwards. Since then, he has been part of the Vail Valley and currently serves as Regional President for Alpine’s Vail Valley and Steamboat locations. Michael lives in Gypsum with his wife, Stacy and his two beautiful daughters, Emma and Ava.
Following his May 11 unanimous election to the post by the Colorado Bankers Association membership, he sat down with Colorado Banker to discuss his plans for his year at the helm of CBA’s board of directors and the organization for the coming year.
CB: What are your top priorities as CBA chairman?
MB: As Chair of the CBA, priorities would include maintaining the organization’s fiscal health. This is the foundation of everything we do to represent, educate and inform Colorado’s banking industry.
Another obvious goal is to continue engaging with and educating our elected officials about the critical role banks play across our state and our country. The recent Payroll Protection Program was one example of the critical economic role our banks play across Colorado. Through the CBA’s leadership, we will continue collaborating – and, where needed, opposing – legislation that hampers or inefficiently attempts to duplicate services banks are already providing. Recent examples include proposals for state- or city-owned banks that rely on taxpayers to cover poor lending decisions and losses.
Banks also have a role to play concerning diversity and inclusion, both within our industry and as members of our communities. Earlier in 2021, the CBA began a discussion of how banks might actively hire and develop a more diverse workforce throughout our state. At the same time, the CBA is actively engaged – along with many of its member banks – in product and financial literacy programs for underserved and underbanked segments of our communities. These important initiatives will continue through the coming year and beyond.
And finally, I look forward to seeing the CBA return to in-person gatherings to allow our members to learn and collaborate in more personalized settings.
CB: How do you foresee the banking industry navigating the exit of the COVID pandemic?
MB: As our industry moves beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, banks will continue to play a lead role in key areas of our state economy. Businesses across the state are now coping with the transition from a severely restrained business environment to one of rapid growth based upon pent-up demand. As they have always been, banks will be there to provide solutions to their customers.
Housing continues to be a critical socioeconomic driver – and a key challenge – for our state. Across Colorado, our communities are experiencing a high demand for housing even as inventories shrink and construction costs escalate. Colorado’s banks will play a critical role in this area but must do so in prudent, managed ways that benefit all Coloradans.
Internally, banks’ relationships with regulators must continue to be engaging and flexible as we continue to work with business and individual customers trying to recover from the pandemic. And like most other industries, banks will also have to navigate an ever-tightening labor market to find and develop the expertise our clients need and require.
CB: What do you expect will be the main focus issues for the organization under your tenure?
MB: Over the coming months, I think one of the primary issues for the Colorado Bankers Association will be to continue to stay abreast of legislative issues that directly and indirectly affect our industry and our customers. I believe private-public initiatives, such as the Payroll Protection Program, created knowledge and goodwill with our industry. At the same time, we continue to be challenged by state and federal legislation that could very well hamper banks, and often the general business community, with burdensome and duplicative regulations.
The CBA leadership and staff have taken the lead role in working with its members and our government leaders with collaboration and excellence. Continuing this fine role remains a critical function of the CBA.