Employee Stories: Jake Seckler
July 26, 2021
Jake's Perspective – Professional Growth and Support
Jake’s story with Heartland Bank started 15 years ago as a teller. There, he found his niche for banking and grew his career from retail to overseeing many areas of our credit department. Jake’s passion for credit administration and mentoring his team is what makes him a standout member of Heartland Bank.
Jake is a Credit Operations Officer at our Bloomington-Normal Hershey branch. He has been with the bank since 2005 and is known for his integrity and the pride he takes in his work. Those that work with Jake know that he can be relied on for his tremendous knowledge of credit administration. Jake oversees the departments that are responsible for underwriting and documenting commercial loans. Jake’s diverse skills in accounting, loan policy, and regulations is an invaluable asset for the bank.
Outside of work, Jake enjoys reading, bike riding, and spending time with his wife Melissa and their four kids.
My entire professional career has been with Heartland Bank. My career started in November 2005 when I began working part-time as a Teller at our Washington-Cummings branch. After several months, I took a year or so off to pursue internships related to my field of study in accounting. I returned to Heartland Bank in the fall of 2007 as a part-time teller at our Germantown Hills and Metamora branches. After graduating that December, I was able to transfer into a full-time role as a Credit Analyst in Bloomington in February 2008. In 2011, I was promoted to Credit Department Manager where I was overseeing the entire team of analysts. In 2018, after bank growth through acquisitions, I was promoted into my current role where I am responsible for the Credit Analysis, Appraisal, and Commercial Loan Support departments.
Finding Your Career Path
I have always had an interest in banking. However, after two accounting internships (public and private), and spending a couple of years on the retail side of banking, I knew I wanted a more behind-the-scenes role. Although my knowledge of credit was limited at the time, I quickly found that the credit analysis team was a perfect fit where I could hone my skills and add value to the bank. My role has since expanded to cover most aspects of the commercial loan process, but one of the most exciting things for me continues to be the ability to see how the bank’s loan funds are being used to finance various community projects and knowing our work has played a role in making a positive impact in our communities.
In my time at Heartland, I have had the opportunity to hire and train dozens of Credit Analysts. For many of these individuals, it is their first job out of college. I take great pride in the opportunity to coach and mentor these young professionals as they advance through the early years of their career. It is one of my favorite aspects of the job.
Many of these analysts have gone on to be promoted into higher level positions throughout the bank, which is exciting to see. Some of the most meaningful moments of my job come from employees who personally share their appreciation to me for taking the time to teach them and invest in them.
There are no shortages of opportunities to stretch myself through new projects and assignments that require me to continue learning every day. I am so appreciative of the guidance that I have received over the years, and I make it my goal to do the same for my employees as well.
Heartland Bank’s culture is one of support and respect. The bank has always placed a high value on helping its employees succeed and reach their personal career goals. At Heartland Bank, you are not just a number, but an integral part of the team. When I am asked what I enjoy most about working for Heartland Bank, my answer is always the same – the people. The amount of support and encouragement I have received over the years has been invaluable towards helping me reach my professional goals, and I strive to provide the same support to my employees.
Advice From Jake
My advice for those looking to advance their careers is to constantly look for ways to stand out and get your name out there. If you have an interest in a higher-level position, talk to your manager about ways you can take on additional responsibilities to gain the skills needed for that position. It can be competitive at times. Make your aspirations known so that when a position opens, your name is already at the top of the list. Ultimately, every job is an audition for your next one, so always do your best to stand out, no matter how small the task.