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Banking & Financial Industry Leaders Panel

August 3, 2022 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

$25.00 – $50.00

Join CREW Northern Colorado for our Banking and Financial Industry Leaders Panel. Rising interest rates and record breaking inflation remain at the forefront of the U.S. economy. Panelists will share their insights on the current state of the industry, lending trends and what the future holds for banking as it relates to commercial real estate.

Our Panelists include:

Nicole Staudinger | Market President, FirstBank

Polly Buster | Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending, First Western Trust

Pete Yoo | Chief Financial Officer, Brinkman Real Estate

Paul Watkins | Senior Commercial Loan Officer, Elevations Credit Union

Kim Buxbaum | Relationship Manager, Independent Financial


This event is open to members and non-members

$25.00 for CREW members/$50.00 for non-members

This event is sponsored by:


Nicole Staudinger | Market President, FirstBank

Nicole Staudinger is a Market President at FirstBank, Colorado’s second largest bank and one of the largest privately-held bank in the nation. As an industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience, Staudinger oversees the bank’s Northern Colorado Market, which includes seven branch locations, with 90 employees and over $1.4B in assets.

Prior to being named Market President in 2015, Staudinger was responsible for consumer and commercial lending, opening new branches in the Northern Colorado Market, and has done extensive work in all aspects of affordable housing lending. Staudinger has helped form and serve on FirstBank’s Affordable Lending Committee and has extensive experience with both debt and equity for projects utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits.


Polly Buster | Senior Vice Present, Commercial Lending, First Western Trust

Polly Buster brings over 30 years of commercial credit experience to her position of Senior Vice President, Commercial Lending at First Western Trust. The stories she could tell! Polly’s earned her stripes on a winding journey taking her through closing failing banks and liquidating the bank assets for FDIC, purchasing distressed loan packages and managing the disposition of those loans. She led a non-profit group to build and operate a 33,000 SF recreation facility.

Her entrepreneurial journey aligns with First Western Trust’s culture and spirit. Her talents include credit analysis, creative solution building, and packaging deals for credit consideration. There are not many commercial loan product types that she has not encountered. Those closest to Polly highly endorse her leadership and communication style – they tout her track record as an industry educator and advocate for both colleagues and clients.


Pete Yoo | Chief Financial Officer, Brinkman Real Estate

As Chief Financial Officer for Brinkman Real Estate, Pete Yoo executes financial planning and analysis for Brinkman operating entities and properties, in addition to managing all of the accounting related to Brinkman’s portfolio of properties. He has spent his career working in real estate accounting across various states. His background includes managing a team of accountants at a real estate management company in Chicago, as well as a history working at real estate investment trust (REIT) firms. Throughout his time in the industry, he has worked in Boston, Chicago, and Colorado.

Pete holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Tulane University, as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration from DePaul University.


Paul Watkins | Senior Commercial Loan Officer, Elevations Credit Union

Paul has helped business owners for over 20 years, advising on commercial banking solutions and middle market mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Elevations, Paul experienced working at a national bank and regional bank advising commercial bank customers. During his tenure as a commercial loan officer, Paul has funded in excess of $200MM in commercial loans for business owners, physicians, real estate investors, public entities, non-profits and high net worth families. Paul closed 13 acquisitions, for a combined enterprise value in excess of $50MM, during his two-year tenure as a business intermediary.

As a 5th generation Colorado native, Paul has a deep passion for learning about the needs of community members and providing available solutions. Paul has served on the Board of over 20 non-profits and volunteers over 100 hours per year to various non-profits and Mentees in Northern Colorado. Paul grew up on the Western Slope and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2000, with a B.S in Business Management. Paul enjoys a wide variety of outdoor Colorado adventures, working out and live music.


Kim Buxbaum | Relationship Manager, Independent Financial

Kim has 23 years of experience in the financial industry and the last six years in commercial real estate lending. She is a Relationship Manager with Independent Financial where she specializes in working with clients to achieve their business financial strategy. She brings experience in cash flow management, real estate and asset purchases, and building strong client relationships. Kim manages a portfolio of commercial clients in the Northern Colorado market and is responsible for business development of new commercial relationships. Kim has experience with several areas of real estate lending such as investment, multi-family, industrial, healthcare and office properties. She attended CSU and is a native of Northern Colorado.


August 3, 2022
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
$25.00 – $50.00



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