Welcome to the latest installment of “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.
Reagan Rick, 48, defies the stereotype of a banker as a beancounter with a head full of numbers and a personality as bland as vanilla pudding.
“I like to get after things,” said Rick, regional president of M&I Bank, in his corner office with a stuffed Energizer Bunny over his right shoulder. The plush pet is a gift from a co-worker, making sly reference to his practice of zipping through the halls of M&I’s local offices. It just as well could refer to his inclinations for running marathons, climbing mountains, and changing careers. (See video above.)
Rick grew up working on his family’s farms in Covington, Ind., where he learned to operate a tractor at age 8. Instilled with an independent spirit and sensitivity to the concerns of small businesses, he drifted into the study of finance while attending Ball State University.
He forged a career in corporate banking in Indianapolis in the 1980s and 1990s. With a bit of a restless spirit and desire to expand his sphere of knowledge, he also pursued a law degree in his spare time, graduating from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis in 1997. He shifted into the practice of law with a focus on business transactions, first for Ice Miller and then for a one-man firm he founded in 1999.
Wanting to again work in a team environment, he joined First Indiana Bank in 2004 as executive vice president and general counsel. When First Indiana merged with M&I in 2008, he became regional president.
“I would encourage anyone to take some risks and go out and try something different,” he said of those who are contemplating career changes. “I think that people who have gone out and run a small business or done something a little different have a much better perspective, and when they come back maybe to where they started, they have a great vision.”
In the video below, Rich discusses the lean lending environment for businesses and offers a suggestion for owners who would like to apply for commercial loans.