Name: Chris Cook
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Bank of Marin
Company address: 504 Redwood Blvd., Novato, CA
Number of company employees: 239
Professional background: CPA
Education: DePaul University
What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?
In today's fluctuating economy, one must be a steward for the financial health of the organization, ever mindful of costs, risks, and opportunities. It's all about staying in balance.
What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry?
Definitely the regulatory environment has changed, with many more rules and regulations to be familiar with. We focus a lot of resources toward our compliance team at the bank.
Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?
On the positive side, we made a strategic decision to grow the bank through acquisition and successfully acquired and integrated Charter Oak Bank in Napa. On the flip side, commercial loan growth continues to be challenging, with business owners still uncertain of the economy.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
To learn as much as you can, be curious, and talk to people who have achieved what you would like to achieve.
What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment?
Stay true to your core values and principles and let those guide your actions. We've been very successful at Bank of Marin doing just that.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
More banks will consolidate as the smaller banks will be unable to keep up with the increase in regulatory burden. Bank of Marin is well positioned for possible future growth.
What is your most memorable business experience?
Presenting at my first Bank of Marin shareholder meeting.
What is your greatest business success?
Being one of the first banks in the nation to terminate our participation in TARP back in 2009.
What was your toughest business decision?
Initially Taking TARP when it was strongly encouraged by the US Treasury.
What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?
I love to cook, eat and share recipes. My most famous dish is my BBQ ribs.
Most admired businessperson outside the company: Warren Buffet, who comes from the Midwest as I do.
Current reading: Red Sunshine by Kimberly Allison
Most want to meet: Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel