Kevin Valois, newly named chief financial officer at St. Paul-based Sunrise Banks, brings extensive financial management experience to the bank’s leadership team as it pursues continued growth and greater ability to benefit the communities it serves.
Valois, previously chief financial officer at KleinBank, said Sunrise Banks’ community focus appealed to him as he weighed opportunities after the sale of KleinBank, where he had worked for more than 18 years, was announced in June.
“I looked for a company where I could give back more than the financial piece that I bring to the table,” Valois said. “Sunrise Banks really tries to take care of the communities they serve.”
Sunrise Banks is organized as a Minnesota public benefit corporation and as a Certified B Corporation, making it a for-profit business with a corporate purpose to produce social or environmental benefits. It’s also one of about 100 banks that the U.S. Treasure has certified as a Community Development Financial Institutions.
A top priority, Valois said, is supporting Sunrise Banks’ recently launched initiative to partner with financial technology startup companies that work with underserved people in the Twin Cities or across the country.
Valois is responsible for managing the bank’s finance and accounting departments as well as offering strategic financial advice to its board, CEO David Reiling and the bank’s management team.
Q: What do you like about working in community banking?
A: At KleinBank and Sunrise, I really enjoy that they’re both family-owned companies. The financial return is important to any company but I don’t think it’s always the driver when you have a family-run business. They have a little closer touch to the communities they’re in and provide a little better service to them. I like to be able to come into a smaller company and be able to make a bigger difference.
Q: What is your role in offering strategic financial advice at Sunrise?
A: In the broader picture we have an executive team that I work with closely. It’s critical to ensure that we’re moving in the right direction. David is super-innovative and has an entrepreneurial mind-set. It’s great and it’s energizing, but then you have to have a person like me to make sure we can get it done in a safe and sound manner.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at Sunrise?
A: My ultimate goal is to be like every other employee at Sunrise — just part of a team that’s trying to improve what we do. David says we have always believed that our success is directly linked to the success of the communities that we service. The more that we give back to the communities the better off they’ll be, and I do believe that.