Bryce Kassik (center in photo) is among 14 Nebraska bankers who recently completed the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado. This program is touted as the “premier educational experience for community bankers.”

The three-year program concluded with two-weeks of summer study hosted at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Dating back to 1950, the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado teaches personnel in the financial service industry ways to better their business and individual careers. It also provides a comprehensive look at banking operations and management, its future and bankings’ place in America’s economic structure.

Included in this program are classes and lengthy individual projects. Kassik, a Vice President and Branch President of Heartland Bank’s Fairmont location, completed assignments on bank culture, risk management and interactive teller machines. "I took classes that I thought could not only benefit my career but others at the bank and our customers,” he said.

He expects interactive teller machines to play a beneficial role for Heartland Bank down the road. The machines complete financial transactions with customers using two-way video. They are similar to an ATM, but with the advantage of customer service.

“It’s something we might need to look at in the future. (The machines) provide face-to-face interaction while saving the cost of building a new branch.”

Each morning of Kassik’s stay on campus began with bank simulation sessions. Working in teams, students made operating and strategic decisions for hypothetical banks. “It was all fictitious, but a good eye-opener on what it takes to run a bank. We covered eight quarters’ worth of decisions in a 2-week period," said Kassik.

An elective class on emotional intelligence turned out to be one of his favorites, demonstrating ways to successfully interact with differing personalities of co-workers and customers.

The most valuable part of the experience, though, was the people he met – professional peers from across the United States, Kassik said. “We had good instructors, and I met good people from all over.”

Kassik was among 160 graduates in 2016 from across the United States.

“I feel fortunate to be able to enroll and go through this school.” Its focus on community banks of all sizes and business models perfectly aligns with the values of Heartland Bank, he noted.

“Anyone can do a transaction, but our focus, our mantra for years, is to improve our customers’ lives through relationships. We look at the whole picture and try to come up with a plan for them to succeed.”

Rebecca Svec

Rebecca is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Journalism and wrote for daily newspapers in Nebraska for ten years. She spent the next decade in Doane College’s marketing and communications office. She currently coordinates marketing and social media for an insurance and real estate company in Geneva, Nebraska.

Get the latest news & stories in your inbox!