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Continued: Schafer: Solution to 'skills gap' is investment in training

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 17, 2013 - 9:12 PM

Paul Bees is partner in St. Paul-based Midwest Financial Search, a recruiting firm focused on filling positions in banking. He got into a 1984 training class at First Bank Minneapolis, then a unit of what’s now called U.S. Bancorp. He remembers it as a 10-month, intensive program, and he sat alongside bankers such as P.W. “Bill” Parker, now U.S. Bancorp’s chief credit officer.

“I think there were 27 people in my class, and as soon as the program was over, one guy left and went to Norwest,” Bees said. “They are expensive to run, and we were training for every other bank in town.”

That kind of training program, what Bees said was once the “keystone” of a promising banking career, became largely extinct.

Bees said his community bank clients are becoming receptive to his advice that they try to hire one or two college graduates per year and train them, because finding bankers who have been through formal commercial-credit training is becoming an all but impossible task.

“We don’t have them,” he said. “Nobody else does, either. It’s like looking for a purple squirrel.”

lee.schafer@startribune.com • 612-673-4302

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