Whether it’s a corporation or even a group of friends, most people like being members of the inner circle where trust has been earned and responsibilities are great.
Steven BeLow has earned his way into the circle of trust.
Last month, the senior financial adviser at U.S. Bank in Naperville was among 30 other advisers who were honored with the 2013 President’s Club Inner Circle Recognition Award. U.S. Bancorp uses the award to recognize “the region’s top achievers and for displaying outstanding leadership qualities and superior dedication to their clients.”
BeLow, 51, brings more than 30 years of financial experience in helping folks build, manage and preserve wealth. His decision to enter the banking field years ago, he said, was driven by “making sure I’d be able to marry the woman of my dreams and take care of her.”
“No one in my family went to college, and after high school, I took some courses at a junior college, but my wife wouldn’t let me put a ring on her finger unless I had a real job,” BeLow said. “I was going to pursue my tennis career, but I had a brother working for the Suburban Bank.”
A job there offered management training, which took five years.
BeLow moved on to a four-year stint with First National Bank, where he became an assistant vice president and branch manager and then transitioned into being a financial consultant in 1991.
He admits that working in the banking industry was not something on his radar, but that he was deeply influenced by the financial crisis his parents and millions of others experienced in 1987.
“My parents lost most of their IRA after selling on Black Monday back in 1987, and there was no one to help them,” he said. “We came from a very blue-collar home, and there was no one to educate them.
“We do a terrible job of educating people in this country about how to manage and invest money, and for me, it’s been a great concern and had a huge impact on my parents and our relationship. Since then, I’ve wanted to guide and educate people.”
BeLow said that right after the ’87 financial crash, he started reading about the market, took out a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, and began his journey to help others in managing their wealth after realizing early on that people “weren’t going to live just on Social Security and their pension.”
Terry Newman, regional manager for U.S. Bancorp in Chicago, describes BeLow as “a very intelligent guy with a thoughtful approach.”
“Steve is not rash, and the things that make him special to everyone are that it’s never about Steve, but rather everything is done within the context of the firm or to help other people,” Newman said. “He has broad experience that affects the practice level of not just our clients but in giving back to the community of U.S. Bancorp as well. He’ll call other people that we’ve hired and offer them words of advice.”
Newman said BeLow has reached out to so many people, he has transcended service to almost become the servant. BeLow’s performance during the recent financial crisis, Newman said, has been exemplary.
“During that time, Steve did not waste time trying to find the right answer, but he continued to reach out to clients and tell them ‘we’re going to find an answer,’ and he kept them in the pipeline,” Newman said. “I never stop hearing from people about how much they like Steve. Where some people don’t do enough, Steve over-communicates.”
About his latest recognition, BeLow said he is humbled to be recognized by his company and his peers.
He adds that working for years in Naperville has been a great experience.
“Given the history of the bank here with Naperville National being one of the first in the area, I feel that Naperville is a Midwest success story given that it sprung from a farm community,” he said. “There is a Midwest mentality here where people roll up their sleeves and get things done. Naperville has a reputation for excellence.”