Born in Sacramento, Calif., Scott M. Turner, commercial loan officer at Pikes Peak National Bank, grew up in an Air Force family, living in Fairfax County, Va.; Montgomery, Ala.; San Antonio; and the Air Force Academy for five years in the ’60s.
After attending school at the University of Houston, he sold commercial audio equipment in Southern California for a few years, before moving back to Colorado Springs in 1981. Turner started working in consumer finance with Associates Financial Services in 1992.
Along the way, he became a master scuba diver and has dived in such locations as the Roatan barrier reef, the British Virgin Islands, and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How has your career prepared you for your current position?
I got into lending by running retail stores. And in running retail stores, you do a lot of financing for third parties, which led to my time with Associates Financial Services, a third-party lender.
I remember standing outside my retail store on Christmas Eve, madly dialing the manager of the local financial company to get my checks so I could book that business before Christmas Day. Rogers [the manager] showed up about 2 o’clock that afternoon, and said he’d been home since 10 a.m. and had to go back to the office to print my checks. He asked me how long was I going to do this before I got a real job. He called back in January and offered me a job as a consumer loan officer. I accepted — a job with real hours and weekends off was nice.
The grounding of being in retail business, working incredibly long hours in a heavy emotional environment, gives me a better understanding of the needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs. And that has always been my passion — to work with them and to meet their goals.
From consumer lending, I transitioned to a large regional bank as a retail banker and learned small-business lending. I had a blast and got very involved in the community, which the bank encouraged me to do, and that has been very rewarding.
Then I moved into business development and treasury management and got an excellent education over 10 years into what banking was really all about. Then I had an opportunity to meet with Robin Roberts [president of Pikes Peak National Bank], and I was so impressed with her vision and her insights into the role of small business in a community, the role of community banks with small business and how those work together to create a vibrant local economy.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Working with small-business owners, family businesses and entrepreneurs is a kick. My biggest thrill is when I drive by a business and know that business exists because I helped them — by taking an existing business and helping it grow with a bigger location, or more revenue, or helping transition a family business from one generation to the next, or at a basic level helping an entrepreneur create the business plan and provide the funding to launch a start-up.
What are the challenges in banking right now?
I think the availability of capital for small- to mid-size businesses, especially new businesses, has been reduced, constrained and constricted by the regulatory oversight of federal government, which has forced the majority of banks to be so restrictive in their lending that there’s only black and white. But small businesses quite often operate in a gray area. … That’s the new advantage for very small, locally held banks: to be able to design products and services that small businesses need, whereas big banks have generally moved out of that market.
What are your goals for the bank in the next year or so?
At Pikes Peak, working alongside someone like Robin Roberts, and the owner, John Georgeson, we’re really in an excellent position to be the premier small-business lender in El Paso County — a lender that truly caters to small businesses. … We’re taking the lead in sponsoring the Small Business Development Center. The SBDC is amazing and offers an amazing variety of services to help entrepreneurs get started and to help small businesses grow. Small-business owners and entrepreneurs can reach out to them with little or no cost. And we’re moving more from a commercial sales organization to a consultative business development organization.
What nonprofits are you involved with and why?
Currently, I’m the president of the board of directors of the El Paso Fountain Valley Senior Center, and we’re working hard to position the center and the services in the center to more than triple in capacity and services in the next five years. We take people shopping or to dialysis and we deliver meals to hundreds of people. In Fountain Valley, there are 7,500 seniors and in 20 to 30 years that will grow to 25,000 to 30,000.
But we are at capacity, today. So we’re in negotiations to buy the [40-percent occupied] Fountain Valley Shopping Center — to revitalize and redevelop it and use the revenue created by the businesses to support the Senior Center for the next 30 years. If we can accomplish that goal, it will take a high level of public-private partnerships and can become a model that will be replicated across the country.
I’m also on quite a few county boards, and I chair the Highway Advisory Commission for El Paso County, and chair the Fountain Valley Salvation Army Advisory Board, along with a seat on the Citizens Budget Oversight Committee and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.
I think it’s vitally important for business people to be involved in the development and future of their community. I’ve gotten so much from being a part of El Paso County and Colorado Springs and to live here and be a banker here, that I think it’s important to give back what you can.
Whenever someone comes to me with a concern about something in the community, I direct them to the citizens advisory board involved with that issue, because it gives them a platform to directly address elected officials.