Sometimes the littlest things can send people down their career paths.
For Ben Nelson, it was a piece of candy worth about a nickel.
“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to be a banker,” Nelson says. “Any place that will give you a free sucker, well that just really caught my attention. I thought: ‘Wow this is a cool place. I love going to the bank.’”
And more than three decades later, he has that same thought as he heads to work each day.
“I just feel really good about what I do,” Nelson says. “I help people accomplish goals.”
Nelson is the senior vice president of residential mortgage lending for D.L. Evans Bank in Burley.
But that title wasn’t just handed to him on a platter.
Instead, Nelson is where he is because of determination and hard work.
After growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, Nelson attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics. While he was still in college, Nelson began working in banking.
“I started as a teller and I really had to start from the bottom and work my way up,” he says.
Within two years, he was promoted from teller to new accounts representative (he jokes that the biggest reward of that promotion was being able to sit at a desk after numerous shifts where he stood on his feet all day).
Later, he accepted a position as an assistant manager – but it wasn’t the most glamorous of promotions.
“It was at an in-store branch, where the hours weren’t as good, and it was a really bad performing branch,” he says. “But by working hard you can make a difference. Anybody can run a good branch, right? But if you make a bad branch good that just makes you all the better of a banker.”
That philosophy has served him well since his days as a teller.
“You just keep taking the hard road,” Nelson says. “By taking jobs at the more challenging branches I was able to move up faster. People would hold out for the better branches … but I think I became a better banker and a better person. You know what success is when you really have to create it, by taking on the challenges that everyone else wants to pass on.”
And Nelson has certainly had his share of success since joining D.L. Evans in 2007. He funded more than 800 loans for over $100 million from July 2007 to August 2015, and he is D.L. Evans’ top producing loan officer for loan volume, loan files closed and purchase mortgage business.
Along the way, he and his wife, Kristen, have had five children: four sons and a daughter who range in age from 4 to 12 years old.
“I work hard during the week so I can really commit to my family on the weekends,” Nelson says. “I love just hanging out with my family and doing things together. … There are a lot of really cool things to do around here and that’s why I love Idaho.”