Heartland bankers are dedicated to their profession and proud of their work/life balance. Bennett Musselman is the perfect combination of devoted Agribusiness banker, husband, father and farmer. This might sound challenging, but for Bennett, it’s just another day on the farm, in the office, and in the backyard.
Bennett’s career at Heartland began in January of 2016. With previous experience at Farm Credit, he joined the Agribusiness banking team as they were restructuring and revamping for increased exposure and efficiency. “My primary responsibility is to build and strengthen relationships with farmers and agribusinesses while promoting Heartland Bank and the services our team offers throughout the great State of Ohio,” he explained when asked to describe his primary responsibilities. As a banker with a side-gig as a farmer, he can relate to his clients’ needs and challenges, ultimately creating a personal relationship.
“We take pride in building relationships with our customers. Sure, we want to understand your business, but more importantly, we want to understand you. In today’s fast paced environment, a lot of businesses are losing that personal relationship and Heartland is just the opposite. We are in the people business that happens to offer a great banking experience!” Additionally, Bennett understands that these farm-business relationships are built where the people are – and farms are not generally located in metropolitan areas. “Although Heartland has physical locations in Central Ohio, we have customers in 51 counties throughout the state. Just like farming, the banking industry has made big technological advancements. The advancements allow us to effectively and efficiently serve customers that are not near a brick and mortar location.”
As a 4th generation farmer, Bennett exemplifies commitment and dedication. These qualities go hand-in-hand with the qualities displayed by Heartland’s Quality and Excellence award winners. This award is given to associates by associates for demonstrating exceptional customer service. Bennett earned this award in April of 2017. “Quality and Excellence is special to me as the nomination comes from your peers. It shows that you have demonstrated to others in the bank that you share the same values and mission that the Heartland family believes in.”
When asked what advice he’d give to new Heartland associates, Bennett responded, “There are a lot of amazing people who work at Heartland. Make good on any opportunity you get to connect with those people, listen to their story.” Bennett’s agribusiness team recently reached $150 million in loans, and he is a testament as to how they got there. He notices the strategic teams, dedicated associates and envisioned leaders. Giving credit where credit is due guides him toward personal success.
Originally wanting to be an Ag teacher and later changing his path, Bennett completed his education in the evenings as he helped on the family farm and worked a retail position. After graduating from Franklin University in Business Management and Human Resources, he pursued his farming passion from a different angle – helping farmers with acquiring financing. Agribusiness banking became his focus, and his success at Heartland is directly related to his agricultural interests.
“I currently operate a farm with my Dad, Mom, and wife, Liza. We raise corn, beans and wheat using regenerative farming practices. We utilize a no till farming system with 100% of our acres planted in cover crops each fall. Additionally, Liza and I are serving as Chairs of the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals State Committee. We have served on this committee for the past 2 years. I also sit on the Pickaway County Farm Bureau Board of Trustees where I am currently the Vice-President and the Pickaway County Fair Sales Committee,” shared Bennett as he reviewed the responsibilities that he embraces outside of the Heartland family.
His goals for the future: “To contribute however I can to the continued success of Heartland Bank. We have a great thing going here! In my personal life, I would like to continue our farming operation to give my boys an opportunity to farm if they see fit.”