Jon Park joined Westfield Group in 2000 with the challenge of creating Westfield Bank, and it was an opportunity he had been training for his whole career.
He began his career as a member of the banking group of Ernst & Young LLP in Cleveland and had also worked at Financial Stocks Inc. in Cincinnati, Signal Corp. and Signal Bank in Wooster, and Summit Bank in Akron.
This new challenge of founding a bank was not without risk. He envisioned a new banking model that capitalized on cost efficiencies and the conveniences of online technology while also preserving access to personalized services from knowledgeable professionals. His model breaks away from the traditional and costly approach of expanding a banking business by operating branch offices; instead, Westfield Bank’s customer transactions are done online, and bank representatives are mobile, going to customers wherever and whenever they are needed.
The challenge came in convincing customers that Westfield Bank could provide all of their banking needs and excellent service without having a branch office network. He had to recruit bankers to join him in building the business, people who not only had experience but who were also willing and able to leave behind the traditional model of banking. On top of all of this, he had to introduce new, innovative banking concepts within a 160-year-old organization in the insurance business.
Park was ultimately successful because he introduced his bank’s services to Westfield Insurance’s independent agency business partners. By helping the larger organization achieve its financial goals, the bank enhanced its business value and relationship with that organization. By working with Westfield agents, he was able to showcase the bank’s capabilities and convince the insurance company executives that the bank could be equally successful in serving the general marketplace.
Today, just eight years after founding the bank and under Park’s leadership as president, Westfield Bank has garnered a reputation as one of the region’s most innovative financial services companies and is one of Northeast Ohio’s fastest-growing savings banks.
How to reach: Westfield Bank, (800) 368-8930 or www.westfield-bank.com