With 30 years of banking experience, Chief Credit Officer and Senior Lender John Purdie brings curiosity, insight, and a host of best-practice banking wisdom to his customers.
What is a typical day like for you?
I don’t know if there is such a thing as a typical day! I’m in charge of all the lending for the bank, including consumer, mortgage, and commercial loans, which means there’s always a lot going on. I spend the majority of my time working in commercial lending as it’s the most complicated and the transactions are generally higher dollar and higher risk.
What are the aspects of your job you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the fact that no two days are alike. A lot of what I do involves problem-solving and structuring loans in ways that are beneficial for both the borrower and the bank. Most of the time when things come to my desk it’s because the request is very large,unusual in some way, or because something has gone wrong with a loan or a relationship. In these cases my authority is required to make a judgement call or to help solve a problem.
I also enjoy being out in the field and interacting with customers. On any given day I might walk through a borrower’s factory learning about their production process or sit down with a borrower whose business is struggling. Restructuring a struggling loan relationship can be stressful, but I enjoy the challenge and the negotiation process. Most of the time we can find a middle ground that works for a business and the bank provides needed time for a business to recover.
What motivates you at work?
The truth is, what motivates me is helping people—business owners in particular. I’ve been in virtually every type of business there is throughout central Indiana, learning how they do what they do and how they succeed. Our ultimate goal is to grow the loan portfolio of the bank and that involves earning the trust of business owners, so they are excited to become our customers.
What is one of the most interesting businesses you’ve worked with?
It can really run the gamut from the mundane to the unique. I’ve toured a local factory that bends wire coat hangers, and I helped a gunsmith purchase real estate and construct an indoor firing range. I have financed a little league sports facility, and I have worked with a brewery to set up equipment and start selling beer. I have to say I was so impressed with the gunsmith that my family and I went back to learn self defense and how to properly handle a handgun. My wife and my three (then) teenaged sons and my 80-year-old mother have all learned to handle and shoot handguns in the range that Citizens Bank financed.
What might people be surprised to learn about you?
This year, I started taking piano lessons. My wife and I are new empty nesters, and I finally have some fabled “free time.” I consider myself a rather novice player, but I truly enjoy it and it is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m embracing my mediocrity! Part of what made me want to learn is my love of jazz piano. It’ll be many years before I can play at that level, but I do practice daily.
What do you do outside of work?
I have always loved to read and spend much of my downtime with a book or tablet. I mainly choose historical novels, and I read the Bible as well.
As an avid reader, do you have any favorite books?
My favorite author is CS Lewis, and my favorite book of his is Mere Christianity—I reread it at least once a year. The thing I like about Lewis is that he’s exceptionally logical - like me. In Mere Christianity, Lewis assumes you believe nothing and builds a case for why he feels that Christianity is true.
How do you like to connect with your community?
I’m involved in my church at a number of levels with stewardship and finance. I’ve had the privilege of being an elder and a deacon as well. I also serve on the board of zoning appeals locally, which further connects me with the business community.