Listen to the story of Westfield Bank's beginnings to today's record growth from Chairman and CEO, Jon Park.
Jon Park, CEO & Chairman:
My name is Jon Park. I have the exciting opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself and Westfield Bank. I started my career as a CPA, worked for one of the large public accounting firms, Ernst & Young, and I specialized in banking. From there, I left and I became a Chief Financial Officer of two publicly traded banks. So, I learned all kinds of things about banking and when I met Westfield, I believe it was in the year 1999, Westfield Insurance was exploring the idea of opening a banking division. So, I made the decision in early 2000 to join Western Insurance. I was the first employee of Westfield Bank and the person who formulated the ideas, hired the team, and implemented what we now know is Westfield Bank.
From the very beginning, our team has a sense of pride and ownership, so we kind of think and act like owners. We're very entrepreneurial team, graded, adapting, and figuring things out as we go. Hardworking - We have kind of a work hard, play hard culture, great comradery. We all consider ourselves kind of our work family. It's been a lot of hard work, but it's also a very rewarding feeling because we're all working together to build this great organization that we now know as Westfield Bank.
We think about size and timeframe, and we are growing significantly. We're one of the faster growing banks in 2015. We not only had record sales, we grew the bank and size by 15 percent, which is generally unheard of with banks. We also had record profits. I mentioned we started at zero - We're currently at $1.3 billion in assets. Our goal is to continue growing, but balance growth with profitability. We're not just all about growth. We're about growing with the right business segments, the right customers and, of course, making money and getting acceptable returns along the way.
Westfield has a wonderful brand recognition in Northeast Ohio. We won numerous awards as a top employer. We have this beautiful campus where we're sitting today, which is kind of like a quaint college campus, which is very attractive to people. But the culture, probably the most important secret recipe of Westfield, is the culture and the people. We’re different than some other companies. It sounds a little bit quirky, but if you get the trust and the respect of your customers, you build a rapport and you consistently deliver value, you get long term relationships with customers.
Successful employees - they're usually energetic and driven. They're usually helpful and solution oriented. They're most often great team players. They usually have the banking experience. Oftentimes, they come from a banking competitor, so they're familiar with our industry and they're willing to roll up their sleeves and help us to figure things out and get things done.
We have a great track record of building talents and capabilities internally and we like to promote our team from within. So, as our bank has grown - I was the first employee, we now have 175 - many of the people who are in the executive and managerial positions have grown along with us over time as well.
I often like to say the most important ingredient, what makes Westfield Bank successful, is our people. And one of the most important jobs that I have is to convince our people and motivate our people to get back in their car every morning and be excited about driving back to Westfield Bank. Because it's the people that drive our success. It's a team success. We all work together.