Roger Mericle thinks there are three key things a commercial lender needs to do to land a deal.
“Ask a lot of questions. Take a lot of notes. And come back to the bank to kick things around the table with 15 other experienced lenders,” he said. “By understanding your clients’ needs, and understanding what their goals are, you can put together a package that’s creative, outside the box.”
That’s the philosophy Mericle brings to his new post as senior vice president and commercial business lending manager at Fidelity Bank.
Mericle, 45, has more than 20 years’ experience in banking, including as a commercial lender and leader. He was most recently Wichita community bank president for Winfield-based CornerBank.
He replaces Jeff Ronen, who was promoted to president of Oklahoma Fidelity Bank.
Mericle, who grew up west of Wellington in the town of Mayfield, is a Kansas State University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He also attended the Colorado Graduate School of Banking.
Q. What about the job at Fidelity was most attractive to you?
A. It would have been the Bravely Onward campaign I saw about two years ago, coupled with working with several of the bank’s officers closely over the last four years. I just saw the way they treated customers, stood behind them. It became an opportunity that I just couldn’t say no to.
Q. Was the focus of your banking career to always be in commercial lending?
A. Yes. I started out more on the agricultural side … the fundamentals are still the same. The business cycles may be different but … the core principles are the same. As I worked in the Wichita market … for the last nine years, 70 percent of what I worked on was commercial in nature. And I just really enjoyed that.
Q. Why do you enjoy commercial lending?
A. Just being able to help people meet their needs, achieve their goals. Being a part of that has been a very good experience for me.
Q. What is demand like right now for commercial loans and in which industry sectors do you think it’s the strongest?
A. I’ve been here (at Fidelity) for 30 days. I’ve been working with Jeff Ronen as he transitions to Oklahoma, meeting and greeting his customers, some of who I know. During that time, if we made 15 calls, we walked away with 12 opportunities for new business. People are expanding. People are reinvesting. People are acquiring new companies. It looks like people are coming off the fence, so to speak, willing to invest in their future. And it’s across the board. It’s manufacturing. It’s aviation. It’s retail. It’s a good time to be in banking.
Q. What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
A. Probably most people would not know I am a cancer survivor of 10 years. It was a rare form that they were able to take out. That caused me to lean pretty heavily on my faith, deeply in my faith. Today I rely on my faith to get me through everything.