Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do at a young age. For Ben Nelson, it was banking. But it wasn’t until he landed a job as a part-time teller at Washington Mutual Bank in college that he found his niche – mortgage banking.
“I found that I really liked helping people buy houses,” says Nelson.
Over the years, he worked his way up the ranks. In addition to mortgage work, Nelson has worked in new accounts, consumer loans and sales. He has also opened two new bank branches over the course of his career, one as an assistant branch manager and the other as a branch manager. He is now a senior vice president at D.L. Evans Bank in Burley, where he oversees both production and operations, and loves helping customers achieve the dream of home ownership.
“A paid-off mortgage is one of the most underrated retirement vehicles,” says Nelson. “When you don’t have a mortgage payment, you really can afford to retire.”
Nelson says many home buyers are afraid of the home buying process, and think it’s too difficult. Sitting down to educate those customers on the steps towards homeownership – anything from budgeting to resolving credit issues – is something he takes particular pride in.
“So many people come in and they get scared of the whole home-buying process. They think it’s hard,” says Nelson. “Because of regulations, it can take a little bit longer, of course, to get done. But it’s just really rewarding to help people.”
Nelson is the kind of person who enjoys and thrives on challenge. He is a marathon runner (although he claims he’s “more of a finisher than a runner”) and has completed 10 so far. He also speaks Portuguese, a language he learned during his two-year mission to Brazil.
“It was hard. But once I went back to college after learning Portuguese, I thought, ‘well geez, if I can learn a new language, I think I can learn this.’”
While Nelson is not an Idaho native – he grew up in Anchorage, Alaska – he now considers it home. He and his wife, Kristen, have six children (their oldest, Jeffery, died in infancy) and are intent on raising them to be determined and confident adults.
“To have that mindset of, ‘every day I’m going to do the hard things,’ it gives you the momentum and it helps you become better, become more.”
Most memorable airplane trip: It was traveling to Brazil for a two-year mission. “I think that was one of those flights where I really sat down and did a lot of introspection about, ‘what am I doing and why?’ and really making that decision to accept the challenge and prepare my mind. That was really memorable. I’ve never been so scared in my life.”