Just a few months ago, Gary Anderson was among 600 attendees at SNAP’s “Ode to Opportunity” lunch, jotting down thoughts on how he could create opportunity in his community.
The exercise at the Spokane Convention Center involved guests writing personal resolutions for civic betterment on self-addressed post cards that would be mailed to them a month later. For Anderson – a career banker whose professional stops have included First Interstate, Washington Trust, Sterling and Umpqua – the question last October provided a chance to reflect on the past and prioritize for the future.
By the time he’d completed his comments, Anderson wrote that he’d like to focus on “giving of my experience to people who need help and recognizing each individual’s unique self-worth.”
As 2017 dawns, that post card is now thumb-tacked to a wall in Anderson’s office at SNAP in the East Central Community Center. The Spokane native officially changed career gears earlier this month when he was hired as the lending manager for the agency’s thriving small business program.
“I certainly didn’t know back then that I’d get this job,” Anderson says. “Now, I can look at that post card and ask, ‘I am doing this?’”
In addition to 41 years in banking, Anderson brings valuable background with SNAP to his new role. He has served on the agency’s Micro-Enterprise Loan Committee since 1997 and the strategic planning committee since 2010.
“Gary has been a great asset and support to SNAP for many years,” said SNAP CEO Julie Honekamp. “Now we’re thrilled to have him on board as a full-time colleague. I think he will add an exceptional layer of insight and expertise to SNAP and our small-business clients. We feel fortunate to have him as part of our team.”
A third generation Spokane resident, Anderson graduated from Lewis and Clark High School before attending Washington State University where he majored in political science. After earning his diploma from WSU in 1975, Anderson transitioned across the Cascades, accepting a job in Seattle as a teller at the University branch of First Interstate Bank.
Gary met his future wife, Linda, in the Emerald City shortly after she had graduated from the University of Washington. The couple are the proud parents of two grown children, Ian and Clare.
Anderson returned to Spokane with his family in 1995 after First Interstate was acquired by Wells Fargo. He signed on with Washington Trust after landing back home and worked there for 13 years before joining Sterling Bank.
From his perspective in the private sector, Anderson said he was “always impressed with SNAP.”
“Working here now, I’m reminded of the reason I got into banking in the first place, and that’s to help people,” Anderson said. “I want to promote the capabilities of our department and the people who work at SNAP. We have a lot of really smart folks who work here.”
As for his priorities as lending manager, Anderson said he is excited about supporting local small business owners who have the vision and work ethic to realize their goals.
“I like that we’re there for local businesses that are going to pay a living wage and be part of our market,” he said.
Financial Stability Manager Chris Pasterz said Anderson will add a new dimension to SNAP’s small business effort. In 2015, SNAP helped start or expand 101 local businesses.
“Gary brings a picture perfect blend of lending experience, both as a former volunteer for SNAP’s Business Loan Committee and as a commercial banker for over four decades,” Pasterz said. “Gary has been bridging the worlds of mainstream high finance and socially impactful micro-business lending for a very long time now. He was just having to switch the hats he was wearing. We are delighted that Gary has chosen to lead our lending team, full-time, and help us to further expand the reach and impact of SNAP’s lending services for our clients.”