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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, August 13, 2012, 6:30 am

CFO Recognition Awards 2012: Greg Jahn, Exchange Bank

Finance — Banking

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    Senior vice president and chief financial officer

    Greg Jahn


    Exchange Bank

    545 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa 95401, 707-524-3218, exchangebank.com

    Employees: 400

    Professional background: CFO – Northbay Savings Bank, Senior Manager Investment Analysis – Bank of America, Assistant Administrator – Sonoma County Employee’s Pension Association, Chief Investment Officer Exchange Bank, Chief Financial Officer – Exchange Bank

    Education: B.A. Business Administration San Jose State University, MBA Finance Golden Gate University

    Age: 55

    Comment about Greg Jahn: “Greg is a very uniquely talented individual with unmatched character and integrity. His decision making ability reflects a superb blend of common sense mixed together wonderfully with a powerful command over complex analytical finance and economic issues. Always unselfish in his commitment to our bank, Greg is the first one to arrive in the morning and the last one to leave at night. The respect he shows each and every employee is never qualified by title or tenure and is just one of the many great leadership qualities displayed by Greg every day. Greg is a treasure in our bank and we are blessed and grateful for all that he does for us.” — William Schrader, president and CEO of Exchange Bank.

    Questions for Mr. Jahn:

    What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?

    Identifying opportunities to enhance revenues and run the business more efficiently.

    What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?

    Dramatic increase in regulatory compliance burden.

    Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?

    We faced significant challenges dealing with the credit problems of the bank relating to the economic downturn. We currently face significant challenges to this historic low interest rate environment. 

    What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?

    Keep learning, be flexible to new ideas, experiment with new technologies.

    What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?

    Be willing to adapt to a new environment in which historical patterns and norms may no longer hold true.

    How do you think your business will change in the next five years?

    Delivery channels for banking are changing rapidly leading to a changing role of the branch office in the future.

    What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it? 

    Promoting an employee based upon credentials as opposed to an employee with less formal education but more passion. Place a higher weight upon instinct.

    What is your most memorable business experience? 

    Taking Northbay Savings Bank through an initial public offering.

    What is your greatest business success? 

    Recognizing the risk to the bank of operating in an extended low interest rate environment 10 years ago.

    What was your toughest business decision? 

    Supporting the decision to suspend the bank’s common dividend in 2008.

    What would your friends be surprised to find out about you? 

    Frequently eat cereal for lunch.

    Most admired businessperson outside the company:  Al Alys, former CEO Northbay Savings Bank.

    Current reading: Boomerang, by Michael Lewis

    Most want to meet: Warren Buffet

    Stress relievers: Jogging

    Favorite activities outside work: Spending time with family.

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