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Executives of the Year: Hoffmann merges culture and community

Photograph by Shawn Harper

(page 1 of 2)

No executive becomes Executive of the Year without business achievement, and in this area Paul Hoffmann, who has been with the locally owned and managed Monona Bank for more than 10 years, led the successful acquisition and merger of Monona Bank and Middleton Community Bank. The merger played a key role in growing Monona Bank’s assets from $330 million to more than $840 million, and was negotiated after receiving more than 40 competing bids from other banks.

The success of this transition is one of several reasons why Hoffmann, president and CEO of Monona Bank, was selected as Medium Company Executive of the Year and overall Executive of the Year.

No merger ends with the signing of a deal because of all the integration work that must follow, work that actually begins with an assessment of cultures in the due diligence phase. Now with a workforce of more than 150 people at nine locations, Monona Bank was able to retain all of the Middleton bank’s former employees, and for that Hoffmann credits that pre-merger due diligence, the collaborative work done over the years with people at various local banks, and the support of Monona Bank’s shareholders and board of directors.

Hoffmann calls the merger a major accomplishment, given how well two cultures with a passion for serving the community have fit together. “I would say definitely the merger with Middleton Community Bank is our biggest accomplishment from the past year,” Hoffmann notes. “This is something we have been working on for a little while before that, and I’m really proud that everybody at Middleton found a job in our organization so we didn’t have to let anybody go at all.

“It’s really exciting when I see the contributions that people are making,” Hoffman adds, “so I’ve seen the two organizations come together. It’s special to me because I got to know them before and so now when I see them working in different departments and thinking about what we can achieve, it’s really gratifying to see it all come together.”

Merging bank with community

Banks seldom get credit for their support of nonprofits. Yet banks, especially community banks, have stepped up in very meaningful ways to help nonprofit groups meet community needs. Whether it’s financial or in-kind support of organizations such as Madison Development Corp., Forward Community Investments, or upward mobility programs such as Operation Fresh Start, Monona Bank has expanded its corporate-giving program under Hoffman’s direction. The bank has implemented an associate volunteer program to encourage employees to get involved with community organizations through volunteerism, and they receive an extra day off after they complete 20 hours of volunteer work.

Come celebrate with
Paul Hoffmann and our other winners at the Executive of the Year Awards on February 15.

For Forward Community Investments, the bank’s loan reviewers have donated their time to inspect documents, which frees more money for the organization’s mission of financing community development. FCI’s Salli Martyniak calls it expertise sharing. “For the last five-plus years, Monona Bank has sent its entire lending and compliance team to FCI for one day to audit our loan files,” she explains. “What this means is that every lender is assigned a pile of loan files to scour and confirm that we’ve dotted our I’s and crossed our T’s.”

For Operation Fresh Start, which helps at-risk young people earn opportunities in the construction trades, the bank plans to finance the construction of its new building as part of the Building Futures Campaign. Greg Markle, executive director of Operation Fresh Start, says Monona Bank has been a great partner, in part because its youth are generally “unbanked.”

As part of its affordable housing and conservation projects, young workers receive an income-support stipend. “Under Paul’s direction, over 120 unbanked youth are able to use Monona Bank to cash their checks without a charge,” Markle notes. “This is a big service for these youth as other options, such as check-cashing places, would take a huge chunk out of this very limited income.”

(Continued)

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