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Third generation at First.

Ask David Cuddy how much he plans to change things at First National Bank of Anchorage after taking over the presidency from his father, Dan Cuddy, and he replies, "About 2 percent."

"I plan to do almost nothing different. There are certainly going to be some differences in style and focus, but Dad will be coming in every morning as usual, and I'm going to be doing the same things I've been doing for the past year." The senior Cuddy remains as board chairman and will continue at the bank.

The 39-year-old David Cuddy doesn't fit the image of a bank president, especially a bank as conservative as First National, the state's second-largest bank. His youthful and relaxed demeanor mask decades of experience in banking. He's worked in almost every department and all over Alaska.

Cuddy grew up in Anchorage, graduated from West Anchorage High and earned a degree in economics from Duke University. He says even though he had dreams of touring the country as a musician, he always knew he would be a banker.

Cuddy worked his way up at First National, starting as a teller and management trainee. Most recently, he was senior vice president in charge of branch lending. Lending remains the focus of Cuddy's activity.

"I spent most of my time at the branches, and spent four years in Fairbanks and two to six weeks in most of the other branches," he notes.

One of Cuddy's most valuable experiences was 20 years ago, working as a drive-in teller in the branch at Boniface and Northern Lights. "We had six employees and everybody did everything. I even helped with mowing the yard. You really got a good overall view of how a bank worked."

Banking is a Cuddy family tradition. David Cuddy's grandfather, Warren Cuddy, landed in Valdez early in the century, became a bank attorney, and acquired a controlling interest in First National in the early 1940s. After his death in 1951, Dan Cuddy became president. David Cuddy and his sister, Betsy Lawer, board vice chairman and chief operating officer, represent the third generation of their family at First National.

The Anchorage Cuddy knew while growing up was a much smaller place. Something has been lost, he notes. Cuddy remembers that his father worked 12-hour days, and most family time was shared on weekends. David Cuddy, too, tries to keep his weekends free for his wife and three daughters. He also devotes time to the community, serving on several boards, such as Junior Achievement of Alaska and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

Growing up in a banking family was not much different than any other, Cuddy says. "We weren't really interested in what Dad did for a living as long as he came home and spent time with us. We did the things all families do -- hikes, camping trips and fights with siblings. I don't think it matters what your profession is; I think it's all in how important your family is to you."
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Title Annotation:First National Bank of Anchorage
Author:Gerhart, Clifford
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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