For this Commerce leader, going forward meant going back to her roots
By the age of 28, Angie Currie already had established a promising career at Commerce Bank in Kansas City. But she and her husband had one young child and another on the way, and they wanted to be closer to family back in their native Iowa. They decided they would move. Unfortunately for Currie, since Commerce had no presence in Iowa, she assumed she would need to find a new employer.
Instead, what she found was a new opportunity. When she informed the management team of her plans, their response surprised her. “They asked me to think about staying in the organization and establishing an office in Des Moines,” she says. “I thought it was an exciting idea, so I worked with them to build out a plan to make it happen.”
Up to that point, Commerce had existing relationships in the Des Moines market, but were supported by the team in Kansas City. Building a greater presence in an entirely new market for her, especially so early in her career, was an opportunity that Currie didn’t take lightly. “It was very nerve-wracking at first,” she now says. “But knowing that I had the support of leadership in Kansas City, and that they would do everything they could to support me and make the Iowa office a success, was the comfort I needed.”
Fast forward six years, and Currie is now a senior vice president and commercial banking division manager. She has not only established a strong commercial-banking presence for Commerce in the market but has also added two people to her team. “We’ve established a nice niche here,” she says. “Our biggest differentiator is our size. We’re big enough to provide the same solutions as a huge bank, but still small enough to be nimble and provide high-touch customer service.”
That level of service is important to Currie. Like many of her colleagues at Commerce, she believes banking is ultimately a relationship business. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s really all about,” she says. “It’s about establishing relationships with customers and building mutual respect and trust so they know they can count on us. Our customers know we can help solve problems for them.”
Nick Warren, Commerce’s regional banking president, has known Currie since her first days at Commerce back in 2008. He isn’t surprised at what she has been able to accomplish relatively early in her career. “Angie is somebody that we all very quickly realized had a lot of potential,” he says. “She builds strong relationships with clients and has a very roll-up-your-sleeves type personality.”
For her part, Currie credits her participation in the bank’s credit training program – which she joined straight out of college – as a key step in her rapid professional development. “That program gave me the opportunity to sit at the table with senior leaders while they were making decisions,” she says. “It was an invaluable experience to learn early on. I was very fortunate to have that access at a young age.”
It didn’t hurt that Currie “kind of grew up in a bank,” as she puts it. “My mom was the head teller – and still is – for a small bank in our hometown of Ida Grove, two hours northwest of Des Moines,” she says. “I spent a few summers there working in their shred room in high school and college; I literally shredded documents all day long.” Being in that environment led her to take a finance class in college, which in turn sparked an interest in a career in banking. One of her professors suggested she apply to Commerce’s credit training program, and the rest is history.
The move back to Currie’s Iowa roots has been as satisfying for her personally as it has been professionally. Most importantly, it allows her and her husband, Mark, to be close to plenty of extended family. “My husband’s family has a farm north of Des Moines, and living nearby means he can help his dad with planting and harvesting each year,” she says. Two of Currie’s sisters also live in Des Moines.
While having plenty of family around is great, finding time to spend with all those family members has become increasingly tricky. “I have a seven-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter, so I can’t say I have a lot of free time,” she says with a laugh. “They’re starting to get into activities, so I sometimes feel like an Uber driver for them.” Fortunately, she’s still able to make some time for herself. “I read The Wall Street Journal every morning, which makes my husband think I’m a nerd,” she says. “I’m also really into podcasts and audio books. We just moved into a house with a small amount of acreage, and we like to garden and take care of the lawn, things like that. We’re outdoors whenever possible.”
Being settled into her life in Des Moines and her role as a market leader hasn’t made Currie complacent in the least. In fact, she’s looking ahead to bigger things. “I’d love to continue to build the Commerce team here,” she says. “We have to be very thoughtful about that, but it’s a stretch goal for me.”
Warren feels confident that Currie will make a habit of ticking off her goals. “I think with Angie on board, we’re just scratching the surface of our capabilities in Des Moines, and Iowa in general,” he says. “She does a tremendous job in building very strong professional and personal rapport with her customers, and they look to her for solutions.
“We’re very lucky to have her in her role,” he adds. “The future is very bright for her and for us in Iowa.”