Ben Chaney likes to be busy.
Growing up in Boise, he watched his mother, a foreign-language teacher at his private high school, work from dawn to the early hours of the morning, taking care of the family and her students at the same time. The next day, she’d get up and do it all again.
“I guess that’s all I’ve ever known,” Chaney says. “I think I get my work ethic from her.”
This nose-to-the-grindstone mentality began manifesting during Chaney’s education years. Without financial family support, Chaney had to work while earning his undergraduate degree from Boise State University. He worked 40-plus hours every week in the sales and management departments at Sears. Chaney figured sleep would come after graduation.
Years later, when Chaney went back to BSU to earn a master’s degree in business administration, life got even crazier. He was married with a young daughter and working full-time, and his mother, who had contracted Alzheimer’s, required his near-constant care. Most days, Chaney would go to work, leave to help his mother get dinner and then to bed at her home nearby, go home to do homework and fall into bed a few hours past midnight. And just like his mother had done years before, he’d follow the same schedule the next morning. She passed away while he was still pursuing his MBA.
“She epitomized what it meant to be a true servant and help others with zero expectations in return,” Chaney says. She gave him the determination to complete his graduate degree. “It was in her memory and honor,” he says.
Chaney originally set out to be a teacher himself — his undergraduate degree was focused on secondary education. During school, however, a friend who worked for Northwestern Mutual told him that being an agent for the company could supplement a teacher’s salary and even allow for educating clients on financial matters. That was when Chaney caught the bug for business and banking.
After two years with Northwestern Mutual, Chaney took a position with U.S. Bank, working as a financial specialist and branch manager. He then became the financial services regional manager for First Horizon National Bank and a vice president and branch manager for Zions Bank. Finally, in 2014, Chaney moved to Northwest Bank, where he is currently a vice president and treasury management officer. Today, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the bank and goes into the community to educate business owners about the bank’s model for helping grow business in Boise. His favorite part of the job, Chaney says, is the people.
“It’s fun to meet with them and see the wide array of products the Treasure Valley is producing, both locally and nationally, and to feel their passion for their businesses,” he says. “It’s great to help them find solutions for their needs.”
Chaney also makes time to help those outside his office. He does extensive work with Terry Reilly Health Services, which offers healthcare to all, regardless of ability to pay. Chaney serves as a member of both the board and finance committee. He is also a member of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and a guest lecturer at BSU.
“I enjoy the feeling of seeing others succeed or in some way be better through something I have helped them with,” he says.
When asked about extracurricular hobbies, Chaney’s first and immediate response is “motorcycle riding.”
“If it’s got two wheels, it’s being ridden,” he says with a laugh.
Growing up, he admired his uncle, the eponymous Buzz Chaney of Boise’s Buzz Chaney Motorcycles, who was Evel Knievel’s mechanic for a time. He also rode dirt bikes with the neighborhood kids. As an adult, he’s taken his Harley for weekend trips to the Tetons, Jackson Hole, Coeur d’Alene and Bend, Ore., among other places. His wife will join him occasionally, but Chaney says he’s mainly a “lone wolf” on his hog.
Chaney has been married to his wife for 16 years and the two have a soccer-loving daughter in high school.