For Henry Walker, chief executive of Farmers & Merchants Bank in Long Beach, every day at work is a family affair. His brother, Daniel, is president and chairman, while a niece, nephew and great uncle also rank among the bank's employees. Walker's father, Ken, still spends time at the bank even though he stepped down as chief executive last year. In fact, since Walker's great-grandfather founded the bank more than 100 years ago, Farmers & Merchants has been headed by a Walker. Even the d & #233;cor in Henry's office reflects his family ties: a stuffed mountain lion shot by his grandfather stands just outside Henry's office window. "He tracked it for four days and shot it down on the rim of the Grand Canyon," said Walker, proudly. "It kind of blocks my view, but it's staying." Walker attributes much of the long-running, successful ownership to the family's deep, nondenominational Christian faith. He sat down recently with the Business Journal at the bank's ornate headquarters to discuss his family, his career and how the bank is faring during the recession.

Question: You and your brother are now in the top positions at the bank that has been in your family's hands for more than a century. Were the two of you groomed for these careers?

Answer: We grew up in a business environment because of my father. Even as children, we were always involved in business. He was always entrenched in banking. He would oftentimes quiz us on percentages and interest rates, and work with us in that environment to help us understand.

Q: Did you ever consider not going into banking?

A: I considered my other options.

Q: What would you have done if you hadn't taken this path?

A: If I hadn't chosen banking, I often think I probably would have picked construction or some level of development.

Q: Why?

A: The creative aspect.

Q: In this environment, you're probably thankful you did not choose that career.

A: (Laughs) For sure.

Q: Did you ever work anywhere other than a bank?

A: Yeah, I worked in machine operations in a machine shop as a youth. And I managed some horses and some laborers in my youth as well.

Q: How old were you when you picked banking?

A: It wasn't till I was in my late teens in college that I decided that I wanted to go into banking. Obviously I am blessed to have other family in the bank with me. It creates a great team environment with the other family members. I have a core belief that you enjoy what you do well so pick something early, work hard at it and when you do it well you will enjoy it. So that drives my decision-making. Since I had advantages in the area of banking, I chose to continue on in banking.

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