Newsbytes Podcast: Banking on the Last Frontier


Did you ever wonder what it’s like to be a banker on the Last Frontier? On the latest episode of the ABA Newsbytes Podcast, co-hosts Evan Sparks and Shaun Kern interview Michael Martin, EVP, COO and general counsel of Northrim Bank, a community bank based in Anchorage, Alaska, with branches across the far-flung 49th state. Martin talks about Alaska’s unique economy, with its blend of natural resources and tourism, and how a local community bank can bring special expertise to bear with Alaska’s businesses. Uniquely for a bank of its size, Northrim employs a full-time economist whose Alaskanomics blog shares insights with the public.

Martin discusses best practices from Northrim’s recent core processor conversion, with an emphasis on “speak to other bankers” about their post-conversion experiences. “We can all learn from each other.” With Alaska being one of the earliest states to legalize recreational marijuana, Martin also discusses what it’s like to be caught between federal and state law.

And stay tuned to the end to hear Martin’s wildest story about what you might see banking in remote Alaskan villages — a reminder of the essential role banks play even on the Last Frontier.

If you can’t see the audio player above, click here to listen to this week’s episode.

In this episode:

Michael Martin
EVP, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel
Northrim Bank

Evan Sparks
Editor-in-Chief
ABA Banking Journal

Shaun Kern
Senior Counsel
ABA Office of Regulatory Policy