Meet Mark Brase, Our Incoming CEO
Mark Brase was a farm kid growing up in the Southeastern Nebraska town of Davenport. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a focus in Agriculture Economics and Finance. Upon graduating with his degree in 1991, the unemployment rate was hovering around 13% and banking jobs were very hard to come by at the time as interest rates were high and the economy was down.
Mark maintained his interest in agriculture and accepted a position with Congressman Bill Barrett. Mark decided to join him in Washington D.C. where he was able to work with Barrett on agriculture, banking and environmental committees and sub-committees.
Beth Brase, Mark’s wife, joined him in D.C. and they spent about three years there before deciding it was time to move past their entry-level positions and think about moving back to Nebraska.
Tom Olson Jr., Beth’s cousin, was working at the National Bank of Commerce (NBC) in Lincoln and Mark knew several other folks who he was able to get an interview with.
“Lo and behold, they [NBC] had some management trainee positions open and offered me a job to come back to Lincoln,” Mark said.
Tom and Stacie Olson happened to be moving to Dalton, Nebraska around the same time to manage the now Points West location there, so Mark and Beth purchased their house in Lincoln over the phone and headed back home in 1994.
“I worked for NBC until 2000 in correspondent banking,” Mark said. “That included traveling a lot around the state, helping community banks buy and sell banks.”
In June of 2000, Wells Fargo purchased NBC. During his tenure at NBC, First National Bank of Windsor (now Points West) was in his territory. When Bruce Batt & Olson caught wind that Mark was looking at positions in Denver, they reached out to let him know they’d have an interest in talking to him about coming to work for Points West.
“I also had the benefit of relationships with the family,” Mark joked.
Windsor was not foreign to Mark, as his father’s folks were school teachers in Brighton and retired in Loveland so he spent his childhood making frequent visits to the Front Range area.
Mark and Beth made the move to Windsor finally in 2004 with their two daughters, Sarah Beth and Ellie, where he took over the role of Branch Manager of Windsor.
In July of 2011, Mark helped with the acquisition of Signature Bank in Water Valley and Greeley. It was about a $60 million acquisition and more than doubled Points West’s presence in the Front Range, which at the time only included Windsor and Wellington.
Mark began as a Business Development Officer for Points West, and has since been promoted to Branch President, Front Range President, President of Colorado and will be President/CEO when Bruce officially retires.
Since Mark’s stint in commerce banking, the technology of every element of banking has come a long ways, but Mark specifically recalls when his job with NBC would take him to rural airports to pick up checks from banks so they could be delivered to the Federal Reserve, then on to their intended bank destinations, often times making 4 or 5 stops. Now, checks can be scanned right from phones and into a bank account within hours.
“I’ve always been with a community bank, other than my short stint at Wells Fargo,” Mark said. “I just love the small-to-medium sized banks because of the autonomy and the decision making process.”
One of Mark’s favorite aspects of Points West is the ability to deliver to Main Street, the local businesses that surround them physically and support the Windsor community.
“You know, we’re not Wall Street,” Mark said. “We live right here, we make our decisions right here, our kids go to school right here. We’re part of the community and very proud of that.”