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Alumni Spotlight

Kevin Speaker

Kevin Speaker

2011 EMBA grad likes the finance challenge

April 28, 2012

Kevin Speaker is vice president for credit administration at United Bank in Morgantown. His principal role is managing a team of credit analysts who underwrite and analyze the bank's larger commercial loans. It's a highly regulated business sector, which makes for challenges, but for Speaker, that's OK.

"Working in a heavily regulated industry can be challenging, but facing challenges and solving problems is exciting to me," he said.

An example of "high regulations" is the emphasis on Troubled Debt Restructures (TDRs), Speaker said. "TDRs are usually created out of necessity to allow borrowers to keep up with their payments. TDRs require unique accounting and disclosure requirements and can greatly impact earnings. I find this to be exciting because it is a challenge to me to gain a good understanding of what constitutes a TDR and to determine whether or not a request could result in a TDR. I enjoy learning, the mental challenges, and problem solving."

From January 2008 to last June, Speaker was a commercial loan officer, during which time he enrolled in the College's EMBA program. "I decided to go back to school and pursue an EMBA because I wanted to enhance my management abilities and gain a more complete understanding of all business disciplines, " he commented. "I felt that a wider knowledge would improve my ability to eventually manage and increase my responsibilities. Upon graduating with my EMBA in May 2011, I was soon presented a new opportunity at United Bank to put these new skills to use. I truly believe that the EMBA program has enhanced my ability to handle this new role."

Founded in 1893, United Bankshares Inc. has headquarters in Washington, D.C., and Charleston, W.Va. It is a bank holding company with full-service banking offices in West Virginia, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Banking and finance have proved to be a good career choice, Speaker said. He likes his work. "I like many aspects about my banking career," he said. "It is especially gratifying to know my job can positively impact growth in the economy. I also like learning about numerous industries and businesses and working with interesting people both internally and externally."

Speaker said a big part of his day is working with his group in examining trends of both the company and the industry, scrutinizing sources of repayment, diminishing as many risks as possible, and "ultimately aiding in the recommendation and approval of loans."

Students who are planning a career in banking and finance, or any other area for that matter, should work hard and smart, he said. "Hard work is the key to success in both school and in the professional world, but you must also remember to work smart," Speaker said. "The combination of the two can produce extraordinary results."