Story by Emily Robertson
U.S. Bank Regional President Craig Browning’s successful career in the world of banking almost didn’t happen. Preparing to graduate from Western Kentucky University’s College of Business in 1987, Browning had applied to administrative positions within the National Park Service, expecting to relocate to Georgia or Florida for a job. An instructor from WKU contacted him about a management trainee and loan officer position with First Federal Savings Bank in downtown Bowling Green. After interviewing, he was hired for the position, and jumped at the chance to stay in the region he called home, after growing up in Edmonson County.
Thirty years later, Browning now serves as the U.S. Bank Regional President for Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois. His responsibilities include the oversight 53 bank offices that deliver retail, commercial and wealth management products and services. He is grateful to work at U.S. Bank, and is proud of the way the organization values its employees and employee development, as well as its customers and their communities.
U.S. Bank is currently partnering with the United Way of Southern Kentucky to positively impact early childhood education and kindergarten readiness in the region. They sponsor United Way’s current kindergarten readiness campaign: “Families that READ, COUNT, PLAY and LOG OFF TOGETHER… talk, laugh and learn together!” U.S. Bank wants to ensure that every child has the chance to be successful in life. To find out more about the program, go to mychildisready.com.
What are some ways that you are personally involved in the community?
I’ve led a very active civic life, and truly believe it’s our individual responsibility to give back to the communities that give so much to us. In recent years, I’ve served as President of the WKU Hilltopper Athletic Foundation, as well as Chairman of the Board for the WKU Foundation Board of Trustees, United Way of Southern Kentucky and Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky. I’ve served in other volunteer and leadership capacities with the local chamber of commerce and other entities. I’m in my sixth year of serving on the Kentucky Chamber Board of Directors, and currently serve on the South Central Workforce Development Board.
Have you received any awards or accolades?
The community has been so good to our family, so giving back is something that comes naturally. No one truly serves with a servant’s heart for awards or accolades, so I’ll share the following more so to recognize these great organizations and highlight where I’ve spent a substantial amount of personal volunteer time. I’ve been sincerely humbled to be recognized and placed in great company thanks to the following recognitions: WKU Distinguished Service Medal recipient, WKU Summit Awards (Hilltopper Athletic Foundation, Center for Leadership Excellence, WKU Foundation), Junior Achievement Impact Award, United Way of Southern Kentucky Outstanding Volunteer, and Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Volunteer of the Year.
What is your place to spend a nice afternoon in the Bowling Green area?
It’s hard to beat a beautiful, fall afternoon tailgating with friends and family at a WKU football game. If I venture outside the city limits, I love escaping to our family retreat, which borders Mammoth Cave National Park, and has a view that just makes me say “Ahhhh!”
Tell us a bit about your family.
First of all, we’re a WKU Hilltopper, GO BIG RED family!! I’ve been married to my wife, Deborah, for 29 years. We have one daughter, Summer, who graduated from WKU with a teaching degree in 2015, and is completing her second year as a teacher at Bristow Elementary School in Warren County. Summer married Cody Rich last year, and the immediate family added yet another teacher. Cody teaches, as well as coaches basketball and track, at Franklin-Simpson High School.
What do you think is something people may not know about you?
I am very passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others. I believe anyone that has the capacity to make a difference, should. If we can make a difference financially, we should. If we have good health and can volunteer to help others in need, we should. And completely unrelated, I’m a big country music fan with some close friends in the business.
What hobbies or interests do you have?
I am an avid outdoorsman and archer. I love to hike, fish, hunt and simply spend time outdoors enjoying God’s gift of nature. Our family also enjoys spending quality time together at WKU sporting events over the course of the year. GO TOPS!
What makes the community of Bowling Green such a unique place to live?
In my opinion, an entrepreneurial spirit exists in not only the private sector, but also with our elected local and state officials. Communities that can work together, across political lines and opinions, will prosper together. A sense of community exists throughout the region that allows us to work together in providing for our families. At the center of the region, with WKU as the heartbeat of the economic engine, Bowling Green offers a small town feel with the regional conveniences, amenities, and cultural opportunities of a much larger city.