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Dante Dela Rosa

Dante Dela Rosa – Senior Client Relationship Representative

First Merchants Bank TIA Dante Dela Rosa

 

 

How do you build a legacy? For Dante Dela Rosa, Senior Client Relationship Representative at our Northland location in Columbus, Ohio, creating a legacy means setting future generations up for success. It’s what leads his interactions as a banker and is also a key driver in his personal life.

“When I’m not at work, I coach martial arts – and my goal is to pass on the things that my own teacher taught me that helped shape me into the person I am today,” he shared. “I teach life skills using martial arts.”

Dante has practiced Taekwondo for more than 20 years and said discovering the martial art was a life-changing experience.

“I owe a lot to Taekwondo,” he said. “Growing up, I had a lack of direction in my life – especially in my teens. In college, I took a Taekwondo class, and it helped me discover who I was. My master and Taekwondo taught me discipline, focus, respect, courage and integrity – I was able to give my life direction through those values, and I put them into practice every day.”

They’re values that translate especially well into banking.

“Integrity is one of the greatest foundations of banking,” Dante explained. “You can’t be a banker if you don’t have integrity – and in more ways than just handling cash. It’s about how you interact with customers. You have to have integrity and courage to dig a little deeper, to ask a few more questions when you chat with a customer to help discover what they need. You have to have courage to give them an honest answer and sound advice – even if it may be a difficult conversation. I could not call myself a good banker if I wasn’t willing to have those hard conversations.”

Dante’s straightforward manner can seem brusque, but it’s proven to be effective time and time again.

“I’m a straight talker because I respect my customers – I don’t want to give them the run-around,” he explained. “And they come back, time and time again, because they know I respect them and trust that I’ll tell them the truth.”

It’s the same strategy that he implements in coaching youngsters in Taekwondo – because Dante is focused on more than just small, short-term wins. He’s focused on building a legacy.

“I always ask myself, ‘What am I leaving this world? What value am I actually leaving,’” he shared. “As a competitor, that’s not much – but as a coach? My master took a chance on me when I was first learning Taekwondo to teach me those values, and I feel I owe it to them to pass on those values to a new set of kids.”

In his coaching, Dante teaches his students that, “Success isn’t on whether you win or lose, success comes from how you handle a situation and overcome it.” And it’s a lesson he teaches to his clients at Northland, as well.

“Northland is a low- to moderate-income community, so the wins here aren’t the size of our deposits, they’re how we’re able to grow our community and grow with them,” he explained. “It’s our job to show our clients how to build a future so that we’re laying the foundation for future generations – it’s our job to guide them."

So, how do Dante and his team go about building that legacy? Some of that strategy involved brining in outside partners, like the Mexican consulate, to help those recently immigrated get established financially in their new country. Some of it was getting out and getting involved in the community, doing outreach and financial education.

A lot of building a legacy, however, is a slow process. But that’s ok – Dante and his team are patient and know it will be worth the wait.

“I want, 30 years down the line, to have the same customers, to be their children’s banker, and their children’s children’s banker, and for all of them to have improved their financial situation in life,” he said. “At the end of the day, my personal goal is to grow people – and if you can grow an entire generation then you’ve done what you needed to do in life. Whether or not they remember your name, that is a legacy.”

 


First Merchants Bank’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility compels us to invest in our communities by finding ways to reduce inequalities, improve the quality of our neighborhoods, and promote positive economic mobility though our five community pillars: Employee Empowerment; Community Investments and Charitable Giving; Financial Wellness; Community Home Lending; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This series features First Merchants teammates who embody the spirit and impact of the company’s Vision: “to enhance the financial wellness of the diverse communities we serve.”