MBA? Nice. AAP? Impressive!

brian dao

MBA? Nice. AAP? Impressive!

Brian Dao, AAP
Assistant Vice President
Commerce Bank

An MBA is good, but if Brian Dao is interviewing you for a job and you’re an AAP he’ll really be impressed.

“When I interview and hire people, a degree means they were able to put their mind to something and complete the goal. Great. I honestly don’t care which degree you have. But if you’re an AAP or an APRP, that’s going to have a lot of clout, especially in a financial institution,” said Dao, who speaks from experience. Once he passed the test in 2013, “What it really meant was that now, every line of business inside of the bank trusted me.”

Dao, assistant vice president at Commerce Bank in Kansas City, Missouri, took the exam because his manager at the time wanted everyone on the team to be an AAP. “In that part of the management group we were considered subject matter experts, and it really enhances that type of image if you have the certification,” said Dao.

And it doesn’t hurt if you’re toting a 3-pound prop.

“When I’m walking around the bank, sometimes I’m carrying the ‘Nacha Operating Rules & Guidelines,’ people think, ‘Oh, he knows that book,’” said Dao. “When they see that book, and the amount of details that the Rules require you to know and the guidelines around it, then they start understanding why there’s an accreditation.”

Having so many AAP colleagues at the bank meant it was easy to find an in-house “study buddy” for the exam, which Dao said really helped. So did the prep program from EPCOR. But he also discovered something else.

“You have to take that experience at the bank out of the equation,” said Dao. For example, he said, the bank might have more stringent timelines than the Rules call for. So it’s important to know exactly what’s in the book.

As challenging as the exam was, Dao said maintaining the credential also keeps you on your toes.

“It forces you to stay abreast of everything,” he said, citing a long list that includes faster payments and ISO 20022. Nacha, Dao said, “is really a payments organization now, focused on anything from the integration of APIs, to the rules and regulations. Now that people in my organization understand who Nacha is, they know that I’m not just ACH.”

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