Jeff Wallace received some advice from his father when he became CEO at Wyoming Bank & Trust, in Cheyenne, Wyo.
“My job as CEO was to come to work every day and have to find something to do,” he said. “If I’m doing my job correctly, the people we have in place should be taking care of our day-to-day functions.”
Wallace’s father, Dennis, who is semiretired, is still chairman of the bank; however, Wallace learned that running a community bank provides him plenty of opportunities for involvement.
“I am still very involved in the lending function and still maintain my own portfolio,” he said.
He also manages the bank’s investment portfolio, remains active in what he describes as the bank’s “analytical” processes, such as allowance for loan and lease losses and interest rate risk modeling, and coordinating Trust Department operations.
Wallace describes his management style as informal and “open door.”
“As a small banker, we have a very flat organizational chart, which means that some days are spent almost entirely working with employees from all areas of the bank on questions or issues that arise.”
And the bank’s strength lies in the principle that “Whatever is best for our customers is ultimately best for the bank.”
As a director, Wallace wants to make sure this small-town bank voice is represented on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Denver Branch Board.
“I want to keep the traditional bank perspective in front of the board,” he said. “I think the Kansas City Fed, by its very nature, is in touch with this perspective, and I hope to be able to emphasize this and keep Wyoming’s perspective current.”
Wallace hopes his contributions to the Board will help Fed leadership understand those perspectives and that they will be able to use this information in formulating policies.
“I feel that I have an obligation to my industry and region to make sure that I am representing them.”
But he also knows his time on the Board will be a learning experience.
“I understand that one of the greatest benefits is getting to know the staff and other board members and develop those relationships and understand new perspectives.”