Northwest Bank: Presenting Sponsor

Northwest Bank’s mission is ‘Building Relationships and Exceeding Expectations.’ Northwest Bank believes as a community bank it is important to offer premium bank products and services to be delivered by highly trained and experienced bankers. Our bankers are experts in their field of work and take a sincere interest in our customers’ goals and success. Northwest Bank is a $2.2 billion community bank with full business, agricultural, mortgage, and consumer deposit and lending services as well as wealth management and insurance services. In addition, we offer live banker ATMs that are available with convenient banking hours. We have locations in Omaha and La Vista, Nebraska, and in Iowa we are in Algona, Ames, Arnolds Park, Ankeny, Estherville, Fort Dodge, Humboldt, Le Mars, Milford, Sioux Center, Sioux City, Spencer, Spirit Lake, and West Des Moines.

Q&A with President Clay Baker

Q:  What is your professional background? 

A: I’ve been a banker in Omaha for 18 years: Eleven with Northwest Bank and seven with a large national bank. All of my experience as a banker has been in the commercial lending field. Prior to that, I worked for Ford Motor Credit Company for 11 years in various roles in commercial finance and moved around with them from Oklahoma to California and then to Texas.

My years with Northwest Bank have been the best of my career. The values of this organization align with mine. The leadership team and owners of Northwest Bank are incredible people who have their priorities in the right order. They truly care about their employees, customers, and community, which makes for a great place to work. Many places say these things but don’t back it up when it comes to decisions that affect employees, customers, and community.

Q: What are your biggest goals as president going into 2023? 

A: My biggest goal for 2023 will be to build upon the great success we’ve had throughout the years in Omaha. We don’t need to change who we are. We simply need to continue to grow. We’ll grow our business, our employees and give back to the community that has blessed us. Sure, our business will have to adapt to new technology like everyone else, but we can do that while preserving our culture of putting people first. I’m fortunate to be a part of this great team in Omaha and excited about our future.

Q:  Small businesses are an integral part of our community, what is your advice to new business owners?

A: All businesses have a starting point. Many of the larger successful businesses in our community had humble beginnings. Many couldn’t find a bank willing to take a chance on them at the very beginning. They weren’t started at the perfect time under the perfect circumstances. If you believe in yourself and your idea, then don’t give up. When things get difficult (and they will), push onward. Surround yourself with good advisers, other successful business owners and take good care of your customers. I’m over-simplifying a bit here, but someone is buying a service or product from you. If you treat them better than your competition through that interaction, they’ll come back. One day, you might be the business that everyone is talking about.

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Q: Northwest Bank has been a sponsor of the 40 Under 40 awards since its inception, can you talk about what it means to the bank to recognize young leaders and entrepreneurs?

A: We are nothing without our customers. Twenty years ago, we partnered with the Midlands Business Journal by sponsoring the 40 Under 40 event.  Back then our main focus was on lending to small businesses and their owners. Many of those customers are still with the bank today. Those customers are part of the foundation of this bank. We got our start together. Although we’re established now, we’re still very focused on lending to businesses and their owners. It is the lifeblood of our bank. These young leaders and entrepreneurs are the next generation of this community and are making a big impact on our future. They
are making this community better and helping to sustain Omaha and the surrounding area. Their leadership and the businesses they create will be a key part of the success of our community in the next five, 10, 15 years.