Philadelphia Business Journal highlights our Commercial Lender, Traci Kelly

Posted on 3/16/2017 by in News

Dear Spring Garden Lending Friends, This just hot off the press…a Philadelphia Business Journal article featuring Traci Kelly, our Vice President for Commercial Lending. We are very proud of Traci and wanted to pass this onto you. I took the liberty to re-arrange the article to put Traci first in the line - up of featured millennials. However, all of these professionals’ stories are well-worth reading. Enjoy…

From the Philadelphia Business Journal:

We’re banking on youth: 16 millennial bankers to keep your eye on

Philadelphia’s next generation of bankers are making their mark

Jeff Blumenthal Reporter Philadelphia Business Journal
Mar 16, 2017, 2:32pm EDT

Related Slideshow Millennials to watch in banking

We selected 16 millennials in the local banking scene. They were chosen based on our own institutional knowledge and from recommendations by our network of news sources in the banking community.

The Philadelphia Business Journal has committed this year to highlighting millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) who are beginning to make an impact on their industries in Greater Philadelphia.

This week, we selected 16 millennials in the local banking scene. They were chosen based on our own institutional knowledge and from recommendations by our network of news sources in the banking community.

By no means is this a complete list. But it shows the depth and variety of young professionals who have made their mark in the local banking world.

Many of them were lucky enough to receive at least some formal training, something local banks are doing more to better recruit and retain talent.

Many of today’s most senior bankers are products of training programs that Philadelphia banks of yesteryear like CoreStates, PNB, Provident, Mellon and Girard would use to grow new generations of talent. Those programs were largely eliminated in the 1990s as all of those institutions were eventually acquired.

“And they really weren’t picked up again for 15 years,” said Alan Kaplan, CEO of Wynnewood search firm Kaplan Partners. “So there is a huge gap between generations that were not formally trained by their bank.”

Kaplan said most banks today hire people and put them into RMA (Robert Morris Associates) training or their own program. They start as analysts but technology has made training quicker.

“I’m sure some banks get concerned about putting all this money into training only to have them get poached,” Kaplan said. “That might be the case but you need to have professional development opportunities if you want to keep them.

“Larger banks do have more resources but that’s not necessarily always going to work out in their favor. I’ve seen a lot of community banks do a better job retaining their talent. You just need a plan. There’s lots you can do without spending tons of money.”

And it is clearly important to millennials, who are estimated to make up 45 percent of the U.S. workforce and 75 percent of the global workforce by 2020. A recent study of top millennial goals and aspirations conducted by Kleiner Perkins Calfield & Byers and the Independent Community Bankers Association shows that more than a fifth (22 percent) chose training and development, just behind desire for meaningful work (30 percent) and high pay (27 percent).

Millennials are talented, empathetic, tech savvy and they want to do a good job but they have a reputation of being demanding and they want to get paid. In reality, they are not that much different than any other generation.

Our list includes those who are prominent in retail, lending, wealth management, finance and operations.

We asked them: What is your career motivation? What unique challenges does your generation of bankers face? What is your favorite place in Greater Philadelphia and why. You can see their responses here.

Traci KellyTraci Kelly
Age: 31

  • Title: Vice President, Commercial Lending
  • Company: Spring Garden Lending
  • Original hometown (or city neighborhood): Downingtown
  • Current hometown (or city neighborhood): Philadelphia
  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree in finance, Immaculata University

Last year, Kelly rejoined former Valley Green Bank CEO Jay Goldstein for his new venture. Spring Garden Lending Group, which specializes in short term loans to acquire, rehab, construct and refinance real estate investment properties. As an investor and part of the founding management team at Spring Garden Lending, Kelly is responsible for originating, underwriting, and administrating real estate and construction loans averaging in size between $100,000 and $2 million. Since joining Spring Garden Lending in October 2016, Kelly has closed 21 loans for more than $6 million. While a commercial loan officer at Valley Green, her portfolio hovered around $50 million.

What is your career motivation?
I find lending to be a unique hybrid of problem solving and creative financing to help customers achieve their dreams. At Spring Garden Lending, it has been rewarding to see the positive impact our lending has had in the various Philly neighborhoods.

What unique challenges does your generation of bankers face?
Millennials lack experience with the ups and downs of market cycles. Lenders who have been through several cycles have the expertise in navigating clients through the down markets; millennials have yet to experience that.

What is your favorite place in Greater Philadelphia and why?
I love the bustling energy and the eclectic offerings of the Reading Terminal Market. I always leave with inspiration for my next culinary creation.


Tara Brady
Age: 35

  • Title: Customer Experience Leader PA/DE
  • Company: Wells Fargo Bank
  • Original hometown (or city neighborhood): Allentown
  • Current hometown (or city neighborhood): Downingtown
  • Education: Sacred Heart University

Brady oversees customer experience initiatives for Wells Fargo’s 300 branches in Pennsylvania and Delaware, strategizing with the regional executive team about service, partners with area presidents on service opportunities and visits branches to coach employees.

What is your career motivation?
I am motivated by my amazingly loving and supportive family, my desire to coach team members and my love of competition.

What unique challenges does your generation of bankers face?
Bankers today face the challenges of ever-changing technology, regulatory pressure and high consumer expectations.

What is your favorite place in Greater Philadelphia and why?
I love the food and culture of Center City while appreciating the museums and the zoo. Lastly, passing Boathouse Row always brings back great childhood memories.

Farbod Farzad
Age: 29

  • Title: Regional Banking District Manager, AVP
  • Company: Wells Fargo Bank
  • Original hometown (or city neighborhood): Los Angeles County
  • Current hometown (or city neighborhood): Chester County
  • Education: Attended Fullerton College in Fullerton, Calif.

In eight years time, Farzad has worked his way from a teller position to oversight of eight branches and 76 employees. Described as an “amazing teacher,” he was responsible for the development and promotion of seven team members within a two-year period who moved to larger roles at the bank and his team shows in the upper 90th percentile in team member engagement surveys.

What is your career motivation?
My career motivation is people. I truly enjoy working with people. From talent development to a mentorship/support role and everything in between. My people are what keeps me going.

What unique challenges does your generation of bankers face?
I cannot speak for an entire generation. However, one unique challenge that comes to mind is the gap in the digital space in our industry. The worlds technology is far too advanced for banks to be so far removed. Although millennials enjoy the personal touch, they will judge the banks on their digital capabilities.

What is your favorite place in Greater Philadelphia and why?
My favorite place in Greater Philadelphia is … Ravanesi’s Pizzeria in Glen Mills, owned and operated by Dave Ravanesi. Never in my life have I tasted a more authentic Italian pizza.

Aaron Graves
Age: 33

Graves is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with several of the most active commercial real estate investors and developers in the mid-Atlantic region — handling a mix of commercial real estate, including merchant banking and loan workouts. Bank of America said he has grown his portfolio into the hundreds of millions of dollars, up 30 percent since he joined the company in 2015. In that same time, he has also increased deposit balances by 20 percent and nearly doubled the revenue in his portfolio.

What is your career motivation?
It’s all about building long-lasting relationships with clients, listening to their goals and strategies, and helping them grow their business. I’m lucky to work in a dynamic company with a great group of people who share this common goal, and the opportunity to collaborate and provide creative solutions to our clients is very rewarding.

What unique challenges does your generation of bankers face?
Technology and innovation continue to rapidly evolve which will have a significant impact on banking and commercial real estate. In addition, we are operating on a more global and interconnected basis, with elevated amounts of sovereign debt currently outstanding, and it will be interesting to see the impact that economic and political decisions will have on our generation over the next several years.

What is your favorite place in Greater Philadelphia and why?
Being from a smaller town in the south, I would have to say the entire city of Philadelphia itself. It has a great energy, history and culture and there is so much to do and see. Combined with Philadelphia’s ease of public transportation and accessibility to the Shore, my wife and I couldn’t be happier that we moved here six years ago.

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