Northwest valley man with autism excels in loan-processing role

Thomas Muench ranks as a top loan processor nationally at Bank of America. He struggles with some other elements of daily life.

The 39-year-old northwest valley resident was diagnosed with autism when he was 2. Now he’s marking his 15th year working for the bank.

“I try not to let (autism) take advantage of me,” he said.

Bank of America employees in jobs like Muench’s process an average of 60 loans a day; Muench processes about 100 a day, manager and mentor Mary Ellen Manchester said. He has received several quarterly awards for being the company’s top performer, she added.

“Thomas is phenomenal at speed,” Manchester said. “You probably couldn’t keep up with his screens if you watched him.”

Muench is from Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Las Vegas with his parents when he was 19, said his mother, Pauline. He was hired to do data entry for Bank of America through a temp agency.

When management noticed Muench was picking up the skills quickly, he was asked to stay. Patricia Morrow, a senior loan processor, trained him.

“He was very eager to learn,” she said. “He just watched me for a few days and a few days later, he was working on his own. … He has the ability to shut out the outside world and just focus.”

Muench worked in data entry for five years before being promoted to the loan-processing department.

Pauline, 76, said he has made a lot of progress over the years. She said she realized he had a condition shortly after he was born, when he stopped making eye contact.

“I would put him by the window and all of our neighbors would be waving at him, but he wasn’t paying attention,” she said. “He was looking at the objects. He was looking at the cars, at the trees … in my gut I knew something was wrong.”

After taking Muench to a pediatrician and a neurologist, she learned he had infantile autism.

“I just cried all the time,” she said. “I wasn’t anything to him. His psychiatrist even said Tommy is treating you like an object.”

Muench said his first word when he was about 2 1/2: egg. Pauline recalls thinking that if he could say that, he could say anything. His next word was juice, and by age 4, he was writing the alphabet.

He attended therapy until he was 8 and was put in the mainstream school system by the time he was in middle school, Pauline said. His teachers recommended he attend Mark Twain Intermedia School for the Gifted and Talented; then he attended Edward R. Murrow High School in New York. His best subject was math, Pauline said. He later completed his associate’s degree in computer science at the College of Southern Nevada, she said, receiving high honors.

Doctors in Brooklyn said Muench would eventually get a job “stuffing envelopes,” Pauline said, adding she’s pleased he has proved them wrong.

“I’m just very proud of him,” she said. “He’s just an unbelievable special man. I really thank God every day for him.”

Muench wakes at 5 a.m. and takes two buses to work, he said. Pauline said he doesn’t like to drive, so she drives him to appointments and other places. He lives with his parents.

Although Muench was not social when he started working at the bank, he has since opened up, Morrow said. Manchester and Morrow said they forget Muench is autistic.

Muench spends a lot of time on the computer, listens to music, works on crossword puzzles and watches game shows, Pauline said. He’s also known to be a trivia wizard, plays dominoes with his parents every night and goes to bingo with his mother on weekends, she said.

He also donates time and money to nonprofit organizations including Autism Speaks and Brain Balance and is the grand chancellor of his fraternal organization the Knights of Pythias, which he joined about 10 years ago. He said he has volunteered with the Special Olympics and Opportunity Village through the bank.

“He himself is a role model for his peers,” Manchester said.

Contact Kailyn Brown at or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Driver dies in single-vehicle crash
One person is dead after an early Wednesday morning crash in the northwest valley. The single-vehicle crash was called in about 1:35 a.m. on Jones Boulevard just north of Deer Springs Way, according to Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Robert Stauffer. The driver, who was the only person inside the vehicle, died at the scene.
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services
Uber Health to Improve Patient Ride-Hailing Services On Thursday, Uber launched its Uber Health platform for healthcare providers. Medical facilities, rehab centers, clinics and hospitals can book rides for patients from a centralized dashboard – no app required. According to Techcrunch, Uber Health general manager Chris Weber noted some 3.6 million Americans miss appointments due to lack access to reliable transportation. Uber’s endeavors into health care trace back to 2014, when Uber first offered on-demand flu shots in large markets across the U.S. Since then there have been similar efforts throughout the world, from diabetes and thyroid testing in India, to subsidized rides for breast cancer screening in the U.S., to many more. Last summer, over 100 healthcare organizations joined the platform during a private beta. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas firefighters put out blaze along Bonanza Road
Las Vegas firefighters put out a blaze that burned for about 15 minutes Feb. 20, 2018, along Bonanza Road, across from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. (Jeff Mosier/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cabana Market Shooting -- Persons of Interest
On February 3, 2018 at approximately 1:57 p.m., patrol officers were dispatched to a parking lot located in the 3900 block of East Owens Avenue to investigate a report that a man had been shot. Responding officers located an unresponsive adult male suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like