BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: John Hazod

John Hazod, President and CEO of Foundations Bank
Company address: N35W23877 Highfield Ct., Pewaukee, WI
Industry: Community bank
Number of employees: 22
Family: Wife-Jill, Son-Jack, Daughter-Haley

What was the smartest thing Foundations Bank did in the past year?
“Although we dedicated a significant amount of time and resources on improving the bank’s financial condition, we maintained a continued focus on taking great care of our current customers. It was important to continue providing the products and services necessary for our customers and be responsive to their needs.”

What will be your priorities as you transition from interim president to president and chief executive officer of the bank?
“My priorities will not change as I transition to the permanent president and CEO. My focus will continue to be running a sound and profitable bank. With the recent capital raise, the bank is well-capitalized and has the resources to grow the organization. The key will be to expand the customer base, both commercial and consumer, through reconnecting with the marketplace and having the opportunity to help businesses and consumers achieve their financial goals.”  

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We do plan to expand the lending team and build on the strengths of the current team. We are in the process of updating our website and plan to introduce mobile banking in 2014.”

What will be Foundations Bank’s main challenges in the next year?
“Our challenges are similar to all banks in regard to the overall trend of the economy and the impact it has on local businesses and consumers. Interest rates continue to remain at historical lows and have impacted our net interest margin. The challenge will be to find ways to improve the margin given the economic climate.   

“In addition, as a local community bank, we face the continued challenge of dealing with the vast amount of regulatory and compliance laws. Given the limited staff and resources, our employees are required to wear many hats at the bank.”

What sets Foundations Bank apart from other banks in the region?
“Our employees. Foundations Bank has all the financial services and products that are available at other banks in the area. However, I believe we have a group of employees that is experienced and knowledgeable, passionate about their work, and understands the importance of being responsive to customers.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“My business philosophy is to outwork the competition. If something needs to get done, roll up your sleeves and find solutions to accomplish the task at hand.”   

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“All of our directors at Foundations Bank. During the past couple years, I have witnessed their commitment and time dedicated to Foundations Bank, in addition to them running their own businesses. They played an integral part in improving the bank’s financial condition, and I learned the importance of continuing to work together to solve problems.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“My dad told me if you are going to do something, do it right, or don’t do it at all.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“My first job out of college was with the FDIC as a bank examiner. My best friend and college roommate happened to also start his career with the FDIC. Our first assignment was at a bank in Illinois, and we checked into a hotel after the first day. After talking with our co-workers the next day, we found out that we didn’t need to share a hotel room. I guess we were still in the college mode of finding the cheapest way to get by.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I like to play golf, coach my kids in football and basketball, and volunteer at various local organizations.”

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