INB was established by a group of bankers who wanted to provide exceptional customer service. Exceptional service is also important to commercial lender Susan Maurer. That’s why she joined the INB team in Florida.
“What’s lacking in the (Florida) banking industry is good service,” she explains. So, when Allen Brinkman invited her to be part of a new commercial lending team with customer-centered INB, Susan took the opportunity.
With 44 years of experience in banking and financial services, Susan wasn’t afraid to join Florida newcomer INB. Instead, she says she’s looking forward to the challenge of building the INB brand in the Tampa area. “I’ve been with several banks that were startups,” she says. “That doesn’t worry me. For us to be on the map in Florida will be easy. We just need to get people comfortable with the name.” She says once the name becomes synonymous with the lending team, people will want to work with them.
Susan notes that “working with us” requires building a personal relationship and giving customers solutions to their problems. To do that effectively, lenders need to know everything there is to know about an organization doing business with the bank. As a result, our team develops personal relationships with business customers.
The Path to INB
Susan started her banking career in Texas. Once in the door, she learned mortgage lending, and later moved to commercial lending. In 2003 she moved to Florida. There, she worked for big banks and small banks, old banks and new banks. All of those jobs led her on the path to this newest challenge.
Now that her daily commute will be 2 ½ hours shorter than with her previous employer, Susan says her new job is giving her the opportunity to spend more time with the organizations she values. When she moved back to Tampa in 2012. she knew the market had changed since she’d last lived here. To get up to speed on the business climate, Susan met with the president of the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce. She appreciated that he seemed to care about her and everyone else in town.
In 2011, Susan took part in Leadership Collier, a program she calls “a hard process.” She was eventually asked to be vice chair of Leadership Tampa, a position she held in 2016; in 2017 she stepped up to serve as chair. Last year, Susan was asked to serve on the board, and recently asked to stay on another three. “It’s a huge honor,” she says.
Admittedly, Susan was initially interested in the Chamber because it offers networking opportunities. She likes being an active member and knowing that she’s helping make an impact.
She also finds value in networking through the Downtown Kiwanis. The group raises money to help kids below the poverty line succeed in school by providing everything from backpacks to immunizations. She was board president in 2017-18 and a board member from 2015-19.
Helping Woman in Desperate Situations
But it’s her work with IAMFREEDOM GIRL that makes Susan feel good . . . and bad. “The core of the program is the prevention of sex trafficking . . . Florida is number three behind California and Texas as the top sex trafficking states. It has to do with the weather and the sporting events we have,” she explains. Girls as young as eight are drawn to the traffickers. She poignantly notes, most are dead by age 21 from drugs or suicide. Others are beaten to a pulp along the way.
A female-only organization, IAMFREEDOM GIRL members go into local strip clubs to befriend the dancers. “These aren’t the places you see on TV,” she continues. “These are places where you wear tennis shoes because you can lose a flip-flop on the sticky floors.” The clubs are very much a part of the Florida culture and even part of the business climate.
Young girls often start in the clubs and are recruited by traffickers who offer easier, quicker money, especially as young women age and aren’t as popular with strip club patrons. But the trafficker’s sales pitches are nothing more than lies. IAMFREEDOM encourages girls NOT to become involved.
We want to reach out to them before they can reach out to traffickers . . . Most of these girls have had very bad childhoods. They are sober and fully aware. They are just looking for a life that doesn’t include panhandling.”
To date, she’s aware of three young women whose lives she and her colleagues have influenced enough to find a new way of life.
Susan learned about the group at a women’s conference at her church. She couldn’t stop thinking about the stories the speaker told. “I had to do more.”
So now, once a month, she walks into the dark clubs and confronts some very bad things. “I go home, shower, drink tea. I talk about it; I cry about it.”
When asked to complete the sentence, “I wish I could…” Susan says she could ask for another 60 years because she has had such a great life. “I really do hope to keep doing what I’m doing. Helping people through my job or through FREEDOM GIRL.”
Connect with Susan.