Roger L. Reisher

On the morning of September 25th I learned that one of FirstBank’s founding fathers, Roger Reisher, passed away after a long illness.  Roger started with FirstBank shortly after its founding in 1963, and he will always be the heart and soul behind our organization.  His many contributions to FirstBank and the greater Colorado community will be his legacy.  While many people think nothing of walking into a branch on a Saturday or one located inside a grocery store, Roger was the driving force behind these innovations at FirstBank.   His charitable foundation has made it possible for dozens of students, who might never have been able to afford it, attend a college in Colorado.

When I started with the bank in 1994, Roger had retired as president, but his influence on the company was still felt every day.  He was responsible for shaping our culture, and one of his most important early decisions was to create a “promote from within” strategy for bank officers.  All officers at FirstBank start as Management Trainees and work their way up through the system resulting in a management team that understands the organization from top to bottom, and most stay with the organization for their entire banking careers.  This is extremely unusual in the banking industry, where loan officers tend to bounce from bank to bank, creating confusion and instability for their customers.  That is not the case at FirstBank, and we are a stronger organization because of Roger’s vision.

One of the interesting things about Roger that many don’t know is that, until his illness, he would interview all prospective Management Trainees before they were hired with the bank.  I was never more nervous in my life than the day I went in to interview with him, but it only took a few minutes with Roger to realize FirstBank was where I wanted to work.  Roger was gracious and put me at ease during the entire interview, and I guess I didn’t say anything too stupid, as I was hired shortly thereafter.

The entire FirstBank family, and the greater Colorado business community has lost a friend, supporter, and visionary.  Farewell Roger, you will be missed.

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