Tony Wheelwright has always entertained the idea of owning a small business. Thanks to his job as a commercial lender, he can live vicariously through his clients, many of whom are entrepreneurs.
“Every day I come in, it’s something different. It’s either a manufacturing company that needs a line of credit, or it’s a plumbing company that’s building a new building for their office, or it’s a farmer that needs a new tractor,” says Wheelwright. “It keeps it very interesting as far as types of loans, businesses and industries that I get to work with.”
Wheelwright manages all of his clients’ financial needs – from auto loans to lines of credit – and he does all his own underwriting as well. He finds his work extremely fulfilling, but it wasn’t always where he thought he’d end up.
“I really never thought about banking. It’s really not a sexy industry,” he explains. “But when I went to do my interview, there were quite a few bank positions (available).” Once he learned about the commercial side of banking and the opportunities he’d have to advance, he was intrigued. Over the course of six years at Mountain West Bank, he worked in a variety of positions ranging from customer service representative to credit analyst. In 2011, he moved to Idaho Independent Bank, where he is currently a vice president and commercial loan officer. His colleagues describe him as dedicated, hardworking and intelligent, and several clients consider him a personal friend.
“I have worked with many different bankers in the 30-plus years I have owned my business, and Tony is one of the best,” says Idaho Mountain Touring President Chris Haunold. “Tony adds value to the relationship and has always worked hard for my business and me.”
Outside of the office, Wheelwright gives his time to organizations such as the United Way, Idaho Food Bank, Idaho Youth Ranch and the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County. He’s also a dedicated runner who often hits the trails with his dog, Leroy, to train for marathons or endurance runs. But spending time with his family is his top priority. He and his wife, Amanda, have two girls, Dylan, 6, and Aida, 3. As busy as he is, Wheelwright hopes to find a way to give back and perhaps help guide a young lender who is just starting out.
“I had excellent mentors when I first came into the commercial division,” says Wheelwright. “I’d just like to be able to be in a position where I can give back like that.”