p08 DixDixBy RITA DUCKWORTH
    In 1979, Gregory Dix was a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville when he got an entry-level job at a bank. Over the years the Granite City native worked his way through retail and consumer services on both the operations and loan sides. He ultimately found his niche in commercial lending.
    Twenty-five years later, he took a 10-year detour as a consultant for a real estate development company. In 2014, he returned to the banking industry where he left off – as a commercial banker.
    He joined Associated Bank in May of this year. As vice president of Commercial Banking at the Fairview Heights branch, his focus is on business loans and relationships in the Southern Illinois region. There are eight banking locations covering Madison, St. Clair and Monroe counties.
    “The Metro East is a competitive market,” says Dix. “St. Clair and Monroe counties have experienced growth in the health-care industry. Madison County has felt a surge in warehousing. Residential building is picking up everywhere. This area continues to be the center of attention.”
    Associated Bank has more than 200 branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois. They also have loan origination offices in five other states.
    “We’re part of a big bank company with a lot of capacity,” says Dix, “but people in the region don’t necessarily know that. It’s part of my job to be sure that local businesses are acquainted with the products we can offer.”
    In addition to traditional bank offerings, the bank is involved in capital markets and foreign exchanges. Associated also offers Treasury and Wealth Management services. “We have a lot more to bring to the table than typical community banks.”
    More than 60 percent of Associated Bank’s loans are in the commercial/business and commercial real estate sectors. Dix understands that his job isn’t just about lending.
    “Yes, we are loaning money, but a lot of the time business owners look to us for advice and direction,” he said. “We have the opportunity to become their trusted partner and provide solutions that will help improve their businesses.”
    The connections and relationships are what brought Dix back to the field of commercial lending.
    “It’s still all about talking business with business owners,” he says. “My favorite part of the job is helping clients find opportunities that will allow them to succeed.”
    Associated Bank is well known for its dedication to community involvement. Dix is a member of the Rotary Club and looks forward to joining additional local organizations. He and his wife live in Fairview Heights where they enjoy their roles as grandparents and “empty nesters.”