15 Minutes With…David Mason

IB: You’ve been in commercial lending for more than 15 years. What business advice would you share with others in the field?
Mason: I have been fortunate to be mentored by some great community bankers who shared some very practical advice. One piece of advice is, “Be clear with your customers; they are smart people and appreciate clear expectations and plans.” Next is, always ask yourself, “How am I going to get repaid?” when you get to the end of your loan decision. It should be a simple answer, but it keeps you focused on successful lending.

Quick facts

David Mason and his family built their
706 sq. ft., 15 ft.-high yurt in 12 hours, topped off with a “yurt-raising party.”

Heat for the insulated yurt, necessary during the harsh North Dakota winters, comes from a wood-burning stove.

IB: What challenges have you faced and overcome as president of First International Bank & Trust’s Bismarck branch?
Mason: Our branch was a full startup in the Bismarck market, so many of our challenges were related to logistics. Introducing ourselves in the market and hiring a talented team of bankers have been very important. Operating in our temporary space while our new facility is under construction has its challenges; however, we have decided to totally embrace and enjoy the uniqueness of that experience. I’m looking forward to serving customers in our state-of-the-art branch in early 2018.

IB: One of your favorite hobbies is camping. What do you enjoy about the outdoors?
Mason: I have a fondness for adventure and figuring new things out. There are few greater crucibles to teach you how to solve your own problems than being in the outdoors. You have all the same problems as you have elsewhere, but you now have limited resources, which I find increases your creativity in finding solutions. I do some camping with my wife and two kids. Several years ago, we decided to build our own yurt on the family farm. It’s a great place for us to escape and slow down. Most of the best camping memories I have are less to do with places and more to do with who was around the campfire that night. —Sara Schlueter