First Republic Client Story - Christina Pham, M.D. and Johannes Kratz, M.D.

Christina Pham, M.D. and Johannes Kratz, M.D.

UCSF Medical Center

Christina Pham and Johannes Kratz are parents to three young children and doctors at UCSF Medical Center. Hear about their experience with First Republic’s customized approach to banking.


"When we found we could refinance our student loans with our First Republic personal banker, we jumped at the chance."


WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ENTER THE MEDICAL FIELD? 

Johannes: Both of our fathers are physicians, so we had an early exposure to medicine. My father is a neurologist, and I think I was very influenced by him. He always told me that the reason he chose medicine was because he wanted to help people. I think there was always this calling to do something where it felt like I was making a difference. 

Christina: In medicine, the work of your hands is what you see effectively changing the lives of the people around you. And when I experienced that for the first time, it was life-changing. I want my patients to feel like my goal is just their good health.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW MEDICAL STUDENTS? 

Christina: There are two things that I would want someone starting out in medical school to know. The first is that it's a really hard road. And when you think about all the steps that are required, it can be very daunting. But now — having gone through it — I think the thing you need to focus on is if you care for the patient, everything else will fall into place.

The other thing that I would want someone to know is there are many times when you have to put other things in life aside. You might miss weddings and birthdays. But there's a reason that we do this. It’s the privilege you get when people open themselves up so that you can help heal them.

Johannes: What advice would I give to somebody starting out in medical school? Maintain an open mind. Because it's a long journey, you're going to change your mind multiple times along the way. If you come in with an open mind, I think you'll be much better off.

FUNDING A MEDICAL DEGREE CAN BE A DAUNTING ENDEAVOR. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE ABOUT TO MAKE THE INVESTMENT?

Christina: When we had our loan with the federal government, we felt like one in many thousands of people. We didn't feel any different from anyone else who had a loan. They didn't take into account our earning potential. They didn't take into account our goals and how we've been able to reliably meet the goals that we set. And that made us feel very anonymous.

When we made the switch over to First Republic, we felt recognized. Recognized in the ways that we worked hard, how we had made goals and work to have a certain earning potential in the future. I felt that First Republic really recognized that and made us feel like people.

HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT FIRST REPUBLIC?

Johannes: We heard about First Republic through friends. They said it’s a totally different way of banking.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH FIRST REPUBLIC?

Johannes: I knew instantly First Republic was going to change our view on banks and our relationships with banks. 

Christina: With what we’ve seen at First Republic — how they’ve been our partner through our growth — we’re completely confident that not only will First Republic will be able to grow with us, they’ll be able to enable our children to reach their financial goals as well.