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Meet the Graduates of Bank of Marin’s New Commercial Banker Academy

As three soon-to-be graduates in the inaugural class of the Commercial Banker Academy (CBA) at Bank of Marin, Garrett Stone, Chris Vavuris, and Ken Wanlass have a lot in common. They are all Senior Credit Analysts poised to graduate from the Academy at the end of 2018. Upon completion of the 18-month program, they will become Portfolio Managers, overseeing a full loan portfolio of commercial clients.

The Academy was created primarily by Misako Stewart and Charlie Clifford, both Senior Vice Presidents in Commercial Lending, and Shayne Jones, Vice President and Employee Development Manager at Bank of Marin. The CBA is designed to provide formal training in credit underwriting and teach comprehensive lending skills that can be applied to real-life customer situations.

When asked how the Commercial Banker Academy has helped in his current job, Ken replied, “Without the Academy, I would have spent years trying to acquire the same knowledge through work experience. The most satisfying part of my job is seeing the end-result of all the hard work that goes into closing a new loan.”

According to Chris, “No two businesses are the same. This work keeps you on your toes.” After looking at two beverage companies recently – one selling kombucha and specialty teas, and the other a small batch craft brewer – he reflected that each had completely different customers, strategies and cultures.  “The CBA has taught me to look behind the numbers to really understand the health of an organization.”

Based in the Bank’s Oakland Commercial Banking office, Garrett has appreciated working with a variety of business owners and colleagues, to try and understand what they are dealing with in their everyday lives. “I have been able to learn quickly in this role because I’ve been exposed to so many different situations with different people. The Academy has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.”

Pictured: Garrett Stone, Chris Vavuris, and Ken Wanlass

Pictured: Garrett Stone, Chris Vavuris, and Ken Wanlass