Correspondent Banker Left Retirement to Join Bell

Having worked in banking for more than 44 years before deciding to retire, Mike Pate certainly earned his retirement. But it was short-lived. After only 4 months, he came out of retirement in 2019 to work as a correspondent banking business development officer for Bell Bank.

“It was a difficult decision,” Mike affirms, adding that after talking with Gene Uher, who retired after 51 years in banking, Mike started to be convinced. “He was so generous with his thoughts and outlook. He said I’m perfect for this position and suggested I talk to the team. I did and really enjoyed the conversations I had. They’re great people, and Bell is a great company. You know when the culture is strong and it fits.”

Based in Omaha, Mike covers Nebraska, talking with senior lenders, bank presidents and chief financial officers on how Bell can help their banks with everything from legal lending limits, in-house limits and concentration issues to bank stock lending and loan participations.

“As the former president and CEO of a community bank, I understand bankers and what their needs, wants, issues and successes are,” Mike notes. “To compete, they need assistance from a reliable partner like Bell Bank.”

Mike’s experience includes chartering and later selling United Republic Bank in Omaha. He has also served as Nebraska Bankers Association chairman.


Valuable Lessons Learned

It all started in 1974 when Mike worked as a part-time teller at Omaha State Bank while attending the University of Nebraska Omaha.

“I’ve wanted to pursue a career in banking ever since I was in high school,” Mike remarks. “I have always been fascinated by money and how it’s used and invested. My first banking job made it even more exciting for me to follow that path.”

His career took off quickly. He was part of the bank’s management team by the time he was 24 years old and president of a bank by 37.

“There is not a single job I have not done at a bank,” Mike comments, adding that learning about every area of the bank has been valuable, both in chartering a bank and working with community banks.

“All banks are similar with regard to regulations, issues and how they operate, but community banking is a little unique from larger institutions,” Mike notes. “In community banking, it’s really about building relationships.”

Solid Nebraska Ties

Throughout his career, Mike has gotten to know just about every banker in the Omaha area and many across Nebraska.

“Although I competed with them, I consider them all friends,” he says. “What better job is there than to go out and meet and talk to bankers across the state? They’re great people.”

Tom Ishaug, Bell’s correspondent banking manager, says Mike “brings a wealth of banking knowledge to Bell’s correspondent banking team,” and is an asset to have on the team.

Jeff Restad, Bell’s correspondent banking business development manager, adds, “His knowledge and relationships that he has built over his working career are very helpful in making his career at Bell successful.”
Mike is also very active in the Omaha community, having been appointed by Mayor Jean Stothert to serve on the city planning board and on the city’s finance committee. Mike has also been elected to the Millard Public Schools board of education for 6 4-year terms and has served as board president. Serving more than 24,000 students in suburban Omaha, the school district is one of Omaha’s top 10 employers.

“I grew up in Omaha, and I’ve always felt that if you’re going to have an opinion, you ought to be actively involved in the community,” Mike comments. “I love Omaha. I love Nebraska, and I want to be involved in the community and the state that have given me so much.”
Mike and his wife, Shari, live in Omaha and have been married for more than 40 years. They have an adult daughter and 2 grandchildren.


To learn more about how Mike can help your community bank, call him at 402-301-3707 or email

Back to Correspondent Banking