Bank officer works to improve urban housing situation

| August 14, 2012 | 1 Comment
Kenneth Schaefer

Leading With Faith winner Kenneth Schaefer. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

From the nominator“Ken uses every opportunity here to bring out the best in his staff and leads by example. This is evidenced by his personal high ethical standards in always staying within the boundaries of the many regulations which govern our industry, expecting the same level of behavior by our borrowers, and at the same time dispensing as much latitude as possible in circumstances where the economy and decreased property values have caused a marked shift in our customers’ circumstances.” — Michael Smeby

In his words

I think the most important aspect is I try to deal with people as individuals and respect them as individuals and as creations of God. Banking is a little bit of a secular world some days, so that can be a little challenging. I think we have a number of instances with the recession where people are having some economic challenges, and I get the opportunity to meet with them from time to time.

In those situations that are difficult, we always try to deal with people in a respectful way, in a way that’s honest but recognizes their challenges and situations. . . . I try to be mindful of my faith in how to deal with people who are undergoing some challenges.

I went to St. Thomas Academy and the University of St. Thomas. I think the education I got at those Catholic institutions that was values-based — which, at the college level included ethics and theology — is the foundation that I have used.

I’m fortunate to work in a really good organization, Sunrise Community Banks. It’s a team environment that we work in. I’m proud of the team we have and the kind of work that we do. We have a special emphasis on helping people in the urban community. Having a team that’s out working with people in the core urban area and trying to do good things in our community is probably what I’m most proud of.

We do lots of things in the community. We work with a number of nonprofit organizations that are specifically focused on improving housing and the housing stock in the Twin Cities and in the urban community. We finance these organizations’ efforts to rehab homes and make homes that are attractive places for families to live in.

We are out every day, working with people who are taking homes that are uninhabitable and making them habitable. Typically, these would be new homes for people that wouldn’t really have a lot of other options.


Age: 54

Company: University National Bank

Title: Senior vice president/ chief lending officer

Parish: Nativity of Our Lord, St. Paul

Spouse: Mary

Children: Joe, Tom, Bill

Activities: Volunteer at Jeremiah Program, Greater Frogtown Community Development Corporation and St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, member of Nativity finance committee

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Category: Leading With Faith