Bell Bank Begins Expansion into Denver
TJ Kern

Bell Bank Begins Expansion into Denver

TJ Kern, Bell Bank’s senior vice president/Denver commercial banking manager, has announced the opening of Bell’s first loan production office (LPO) in Denver, focused on commercial and industrial (C&I) and commercial real estate lending.

TJ, a longtime Denver area banking leader, has focused on recruiting a strong commercial banking team. Bell’s LPO is now open at 200 Union Boulevard, Suite 300, in Lakewood, and staffed by six team members: TJ, commercial banker Matt Smeby, commercial real estate banker Eric Muniz, credit officer Tim Yeager, commercial loan coordinator Lynn Schlagel and commercial loan coordinator assistant Abby Ardron.

Brent Walz, Bell’s Colorado and Arizona commercial real estate manager, is partnering with TJ to establish Bell’s Denver office. Brent notes, “What’s important in hiring is not only experience – Eric Muniz, for example, brings more than 20 years of industry knowledge to the Denver team – but more than that, he and our other hires share the right values that make them a great fit at Bell Bank.”

“We’re excited to have our core team in place at Bell Bank’s new Colorado loan production office,” TJ adds. “We’re working to build brand awareness and develop new relationships in the Denver metro area, and throughout Colorado, as we tell the Bell Bank story and highlight our competitive advantages in the marketplace.”

About Bell’s Denver Team

TJ grew up in Littleton, Colo., and earned his degree in business administration from Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. He has worked in the financial field since 1985, including commercial banking positions with CoBank, Bank One Colorado (now Chase), CoBiz Financial, Key Bank, Sunflower Bank and Vectra Bank prior to joining Bell last fall.

Matt Smeby, vice president/commercial banker, started his banking career in 2010 as a credit analyst and has more than a dozen years of experience in the commercial lending field. Originally from Seattle, Wash., he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Carroll College in Helena, Mont., and an MBA from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio.

Eric Muniz, senior vice president/commercial real estate banker, earned a bachelor’s degree in business, with an emphasis in finance, from Montana State University in Bozeman. He started his banking career in 1991 in operations, then moved into credit analysis and commercial banking. He has focused on commercial real estate banking since 1998. Prior to joining Bell, Eric held positions with Norwest Bank (later Wells Fargo), First Fidelity Bank and Colorado Business Bank (later BOK Financial).

Originally from Arvada, Colo., Tim Yeager earned bachelor’s degrees in finance and turfgrass management from the University of Colorado at Denver and Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He started his banking career in 2016 and has worked as a portfolio manager, including for commercial and industrial (C&I) clients.

Lynn Schlagel grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa, and Collinsville, Ill., and began her banking career in 1997 in St. Louis. She has held administrative and lender support roles for 25 years. Prior to joining Bell, Lynn worked at Centennial Lending, Key Bank and TBK Bank.

Abby Ardron is originally from Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, attended college in Edmonton, and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada. This is her first banking position.

Welcome to the Bell family, Denver LPO team!