A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Title: Senior commercial banker

Chris Kobold, recently hired as a senior commercial banker at Bloomington-based MidCountry Bank, brings more than 20 years of experience to the full-service community bank.

"I've had some great exposure to a variety of institutions in a variety of roles," Kobold said. "The plus for me is that I can bring experience working with a lot of different industries and a lot of different-sized companies, so that I'm able to share thoughts and help them determine what it's going to take to get them to the next level."

At MidCountry, Kobold, who most recently worked as a vice president, commercial banker and relationship manager at JPMorgan Chase, is working to retain clients and find new ones. She also is offering input on the evolution of the commercial banking practice at MidCountry, which was founded in 2003 and has a regional presence in Minnesota, southern Illinois and Nevada.

The key is "understanding individual companies and their unique needs," Kobold said. "It's being nimble, it's being easy to do business with, and it requires quick decisionmaking."

Kobold began her banking career while she was in high school and working in banks helped her pay for classes at St. Mary's University, where she received a degree in telecommunications management. In addition to commercial banking, she has worked in retail banking, operations, systems and product management. She earned a certified treasury professional designation, which helps her understand liquidity and risk issues companies can face.

Q: What do you like about commercial banking?

A: What makes this job unique and fun is that every company is unique because of what they're doing, how they're doing it and how they got where they are. It's fun to get to know the company, the management and the ownership.

Q: What's the business climate like now for your clients?

A: The recovery is, I think, pretty much here. There's been a lot of [mergers and acquisitions] activity going on. There's also been a fair amount of capital expenditures. I've got another company that's doing some major expansions of staff. People seem to be loosening up the purse strings a little bit and investing in their companies.

Q: What appealed to you about this opportunity?

A: MidCountry is at an early stage in its commercial banking and it's rewarding to discuss different approaches. There are not a lot of opportunities in banking where you're asked to provide feedback and help something evolve and grow.

Todd Nelson