Eric G. - Commercial Loan Officer

I’m Eric Guttormson, Commercial Loan Officer with Sunrise Banks. I studied music for 15 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in cello performance before starting a career in banking. As I grow as a banker, I continually realize how much studying music prepared me for my career including discipline, preparedness, clear communication, and meaningful connections. 

Music on the page follows a set of rules including key signature, time signature, tempo markings, and notes based on five lines per row, called a staff. There are many types of music, but they all follow musical form when written on a page. I found a meaningful connection to the way accounting principles are used to form a balance sheet and income statement. Regardless of the business, financial statements follow a similar set of rules. The knowledge and interpretation of those rules, whether music or accounting, is a discipline.

I remember well that looking at a written piece of music for the first time was overwhelming. Practicing taught me to break down the information into smaller sections or even just a few notes at a time before playing the piece of music from beginning to end. In the same way, starting a new credit presentation as a credit analyst or discussing a complex loan request with a potential borrower was too much information to take in all at the same time. Learning to compartmentalize information into smaller sections made credit presentations or lending discussions move with more ease and efficiency. 

I showed little natural ability in music early on. In fact, I was so far behind with technique and musical skills, I needed extra lessons in order to stay in the school orchestra. It was in one-on-one lessons that sparked my willingness to develop technique and skills necessary to excel. A series of inspirational teachers including a Catholic Nun, a Computer Programmer with IBM and avid Surfer, Soviet Defector, and Mennonite imparted their discipline and connection to the cello. My connections in music ultimately led me into new opportunities including a full-ride scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a seat in the cello section of the Pan American Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC. 

I am unlikely to receive applause or standing ovations as a banker, but the job requires just as much discipline, preparedness, communication, and strong connections to make good lending decisions and lasting relationships.