Judd P. Kirkham '01

Judd Kirkham quote


Judd P. Kirkham ’01, business management-international business emphasis, is the chief credit officer at Altabank, which provides commercial, personal, mortgage, and home loan services throughout the state of Utah. Here, he shares some career advice, industry challenges, and thoughts about why UVU is so important to our community.

What was one of your favorite memories at UVU?

Learning about financial statement ratios from Ken Fakler.

What led you to choose finance/banking as your career?

I’m an “accidental banker.” I got into the industry to put myself through school and realized I liked it. My father was also a banker and I watched him as a kid growing up.

What are some of the key responsibilities of your role? What does a “day in the life” look like for you?

Primary responsibilities include keeping good credit quality at the bank; having systems, processes, and trained people in place to make good loans; monitoring loans through the life cycle; and ultimately making sure the bank gets repaid. I closely monitor loan loss, delinquency, underwriting quality, appropriate construction loan draws, audit reports, and other regular dashboards.

What is your favorite part of your job or what are you most proud of and why?

It’s very rewarding to provide loans to local businesses and see those businesses flourish and provide jobs to the community.

What is one of the key issues your industry is facing and your thoughts on addressing this challenge?

I feel like, after years of seeing a healthy economy, we are on the cusp of a recession. How long or deep the recession could go is unknown, but banks are usually impacted by recessions and have to make important decisions about loan portfolio management, loan policies, and loan loss reserves to keep the bank healthy. I feel like I have helped position Altabank as a financially healthy institution that is better prepared to face some uncertainty in the market.

What advice do you have for someone interested in finance/banking?

It’s a great industry. It can be demanding and stressful. It can provide a good living for a family. Be willing to stick with it and learn the trade, which can take years.

What are three transferable skills that you think contribute to professional success?

  • Tenacity – You have to be willing to stick to it.
  • Problem Solving / Critical Thinking – You add value to your employer by being able to think through and solve problems that come up instead of just asking for someone to provide the answers. Be a solutions-first person instead of complaining about a process and hoping someone else fixes it.
  • Teamwork – You have to be able to work with others even though they may have different viewpoints or motivations.

What’s something about you that might surprise people?

I enjoy riding dirt bikes (motorcycles) with friends and family, including my wife, son, and two daughters.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to the UVU community? Why does UVU matter to you?

I think UVU fills an important niche in our community. The university provided me with a great education at a reasonable cost and is one of the tools I’ve used to create a comfortable lifestyle in the community where I was raised. I had great professors who were often employed in the industries they taught. They gained real-life experiences and transferred that knowledge onto students. This business community needs the students that UVU educates!


Utah Valley University is proud of the impact our more than 100,000 alumni make in diverse industries. Visit uvualumni.org for more Wolverine Stories and alumni and student networking programs. For opportunities to give back to UVU, go to uvu.edu/evergreen.