Rob Pestinger made an unplanned return to banking. Pestinger, who spent nearly 30 years in banking before leaving the industry in 2005 for a real estate career, was asked in October to temporarily fill in as a key executive at RelianzBank.
At RelianzBank, Pestinger is serving as chief lending officer. It was a position held by Brian Chamberlin, who left the bank to become president of Andover State Bank.
Pestinger also is a director and a minority shareholder in RelianzBank, a $40 million-asset bank started by chairman and CEO David Harris in 2005.
Pestinger's banking career started at the former Kansas State Bank & Trust.
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"I did the teller thing. I repossessed cars," he said of his first banking jobs.
He went on to work for Intrust Bank, which acquired KSB&T, Bank of America and Commerce Bank's Commerce Trust Co., where he was executive vice president and trust manager.
He joined his wife, Shirley, at Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate in 2005 as an associate broker selling residential and commercial real estate, fulfilling his dream, he said, of being self-employed.
Was your decision to get actively involved in managing the bank because you missed that work or was it simply a response to Harris' call for help?
"It was primarily his request for assistance. However, being involved on the loan committee (as a director), it reminded me of the days of commercial and commercial real estate finance. And in my career of banking I enjoyed that aspect more than any other."
About how much of your time in a given week is spent on the bank, and how much on your real estate work?
"This is a very unconventional arrangement. I do not keep track of time. It's been a mutually acceptable experience, I believe, for both of us. I like what I'm doing. (Harris) seems to like what I'm doing. And... what was meant to be a short-term, 90-day solution has evolved to become a little bit longer. He and I have a good enough relationship where if I felt it wasn't working out for me or if it wasn't working out for the benefit of the bank we would sit down and have that conversation and change it or just abandon what I'm doing right now. "
So you are enjoying it?
"Oh, I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying doing both real estate and commercial banking. He's not looking over my shoulder asking how much time am I spending here like other organizations might do. And we've had good performance in the six months or so that I've been here."
What are the similarities in what you do as a real estate broker and a banker?
"The people skills obviously cross over, listening to your clients, clearly communicating with them, having your actions match your words. The negotiating skills. Those all cross over."
How long will you continue to do this?
"We will probably sit down at the end of the year and talk about it."