Member Spotlight
Q&A with Tracy Howren

November 27, 2017
Written by: CREW-St. Louis
Tracy Howren
Senior Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Lending Officer

Tracy manages commercial real estate lending in the St. Louis region, including expanding business relationships, sourcing, underwriting, and closing commercial real estate loans. She also oversees the St. Louis region’s commercial real estate loan portfolio.

Tracy joined UMB in 2015, and has more than 14 years of commercial real estate lending experience.
Q:         When did you decide to get into the commercial real estate industry? Was it always your focus?
A:         I decided to focus on commercial real estate early in my banking career. I started as a credit analyst at a bank after receiving my undergraduate degree in economics. In my work as an analyst, my interest in commercial real estate underwriting grew. I then continued to build my expertise in the space and, within a couple of years, I decided to pursue a career fully focused on commercial real estate lending.
Q:         What are some of the things you love about your job?
A:         I enjoy being a part of real estate developments; they change communities and impact the way people live in a tangible way. It’s exciting to play a role in this process. I am inspired by working with developers, who have the incredible drive and optimism that is necessary to get difficult things done. I also enjoy the team aspect in driving a development. It takes multiple people in different disciplines (all represented in CREW!).  Most importantly, I enjoy building lasting business relationships with my clients, and serving as a resource to those clients to the best of my ability.
Q:         What is your CREW-St. Louis origin? When did you join? Why did you become a member?
A:         I joined CREW in 2005 when I moved to St. Louis after starting my banking career in southern Florida. I wanted to make connections and grow my network in the St. Louis area. My membership returned so much more than I ever expected, including making important connections, establishing great friendships, growing my leadership skills, gaining board experience and more.
Q:         What was the first CREW event you attended and what were your impressions?
A:         I don’t recall which event I attended first, but I do recall that CREW events were different than other networking events. I felt a genuine warmth from members; the organization was about more than gaining short-term benefits from one another via the exchange of business cards and small talk. I quickly came to understand that through CREW, I could make lasting business connections and friends that could assist me with all sorts of challenges throughout my career.
Q:         Name a few projects you’ve been involved in, specifically in the St. Louis area, that you are proud of.
A:         I am proud to be involved in assisting with the establishment of commercial real estate in the St. Louis market for UMB. To date, the UMB commercial real estate portfolio has grown substantially, and I look forward to the positive momentum and continued growth moving forward in establishing UMB as a strong and reliable commercial real estate lender in our market.
Q:         What other associations or volunteer activities are you involved with?
A:         In addition to serving on the Executive Board for CREW, I am also Secretary on the board of a not-for-profit organization known as Gateway Housing First. Its mission is to provide safe, decent, affordable, supported housing for individuals with a wide range of disabilities, complex disorders and life situations who struggle to secure or maintain housing. I also serve on the Finance Committee for the St. Louis Equity Fund, whose mission is to effectively utilize corporate investment and available tax incentives to stimulate the development of affordable, low- and moderate-income housing units.
Q:         What else would you like your fellow CREW-St. Louis members to know about you?
A:         CREW-St. Louis is near and dear to my heart. I have benefitted tremendously, both personally and professionally as a result of my involvement with CREW. I am very excited about our current chapter’s growth in membership, and about all of the great work our chapter is doing to advance women in the commercial real estate industry. I am honored to be involved in an organization with so many talented and driven women, who inspire me to be better all the time.  On a personal note, I have been married 14 years to a wonderful husband and best friend, Andy, and we have a beautiful, fun, intelligent 8-year-old daughter named Mirabelle.