Plansmith Blog

Welcome Peter How, Planning Advisor!

Posted by Sue West on 1/10/23 10:20 AM

Join us as we welcome our newest Planning Advisor, Peter How! At Plansmith, we’re excited to have such an experienced community banking veteran on staff. Read on to learn about Peter’s career and how his background will add value to our clients’ planning experience.


Peter How has worked his entire career in community banking. Most recently, he was Vice President of Commercial Lending for Heartland Bank and Trust Company – a $3 billion, publicly traded bank with offices in Illinois and Iowa.

After earning a BS degree in Business Administration from Illinois State University in 1980, Peter began his banking career with Suburban Bank of Elk Grove Village, IL  In 1981. During subsequent years, he secured an MBA in Finance from Roosevelt University in 1987, successfully completed the American Banker’s Association Commercial Lending School in Norman, Oklahoma in 1990, and completed the IBA School of Compliance Program. 

While working for the Suburban Bank group, Peter married a co-worker and took a position with AmericaUnited Bank and Trust Company (f/k/a First Bank of Schaumburg) in Illinois as the manager of consumer lending. Over the next two years, the portfolio grew 600% through the establishment of indirect auto loans and home equity lines of credit programs. In 1992, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of lending at the bank where he remained until 2016 when Heartland Bank purchased AmericaUnited. Working for community banks afforded Peter the opportunity to wear many hats and gain experience in diverse areas of banking and general business. He enjoyed alternating between negotiator, manager, legal work, accounting, sales and much more. During his many years there, Peter was also the Compliance Officer, Assistant Trust Officer (primarily land trusts), 401K Trustee and member of several committees including the Asset/Liability Committee, where he was introduced to Plansmith’s Financial Compass product.

Peter spent much time over the years working with Illinois and FDIC bank examiners regarding safety and soundness and compliance. This experience proved invaluable during the last few years at AmericaUnited Bank. The bank was heavily invested in real estate lending including residential development and non-owner-occupied commercial properties. The “Great Recession” in the years 2009 to 2012 caused great stress to the loan portfolio. This led to what Peter believes was his most significant accomplishment at the bank. Many of these real estate loan relationships could easily have been “classified” by the FDIC which, if even a few of the larger ones had been, the results could have been devastating to bank ownership. Through great effort, the lending team prevented this awful outcome.

Personally, these days, Peter gets a great deal of enjoyment spending time on the golf course, reading and now doing something new – being a grandfather to his first grandchild.

Peter says that he is looking forward to working with everyone at Plansmith. The variety of work, the close relationships that the organization has with its clients, and the dedication to quality and service are what he has strived for during his entire business career.  He says, “I feel it will be like coming to work with old friends.”

Topics: Customer Service

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