Manasquan Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Cathy Franzoni is responsible for maintaining the bank’s financial stability. But she has evolved the position into much more than that.
When she accepted her self-described “dream job” in 2004, Franzoni was excited about being able to touch each and every department in the bank. “My job is to keep the bank safe, financially sound and viable moving forward,” she says. “In order to do that, I need to have involvement in every department.”
Her strategy is apparently working. The bank’s financial benchmarks are stellar. “We are among the top 11% of banks in the country in terms of asset size and the FDIC would categorize us as well capitalized,” she reports.
“Our Return on Assets, in 2015, was 78 basis points; well above the national average is 46. Our 2015 Net Interest Margin was 3.31%, which is also above the national average of 2.96%. Our efficiency ratio came in at 58%, whereas the national average is 80%, (the lower the better)” she continues. Her ability to recite these statistics without referring to a single document would lead casual observers to assume she’s solely a numbers guru. . They would be wrong.
In fact it was Franzoni who spearheaded the bank’s highly successful Community Days held the past two Octobers. Both events attracted thousands of residents who enjoyed a mini-carnival in the heart of downtown Manasquan.
“The Community Day is one of our most visible ways of showing the bank’s commitment to our communities,” she says. “All of our employees pitch in and we feed a small army during the course of the day. The town of Manasquan is so gracious in giving us the use of the square and the people turn out in droves. It’s a great family day.”
Franzoni also serves on the board of the newly formed Manasquan Bank Charitable Foundation. The Foundation has awarded upwards of $100,000 in grants in its first year. “The donations represent a true cross-section of our community,” she says, noting that contributions have been given to senior and youth organizations, sports leagues, history preservation societies, the arts, and health services. “We’re especially proud of being able to do this with our own assets. It is truly giving back to our communities.”
Franzoni adds that Manasquan Bank is also a major supporter of the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan. “We strongly believe in the positive impact of the arts within the community. The Algonquin not only offers a diverse mix of events, but has been a shore landmark since 1938. The Theatre has operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization since 1992. We are honored to be their Broadway Series Sponsor,” she explains.
Franzoni likes to call Manasquan Bank’s community commitment “The 6 Degrees of Manasquan Bank”. “We are part of our communities, whether at an event, throwing an event or making a donation,” she says. “We strive to be connected everywhere, at some level or another.”
Franzoni points to a different area of community support the bank is involved in. They are directly soliciting the municipalities in and around their branches. “Every town has significant banking requirements. The amount of cash collected and dispersed is mind-boggling. Large banks can handle the high level of transactions, but they are not equipped to provide the level of service and personal touch that is sometimes required,” she notes.
Bay Head and Sea Girt are the two latest municipalities to switch their banking to Manasquan Bank. “There are quite a few others preparing to move their accounts to us as well,” notes Franzoni.
The bank is also expanding its footprint based on an aggressive three year strategic plan. “We identified a series of promising opportunities in our markets and we are acting upon them,” explains the Point Pleasant resident. She notes to the opening of two new branches in 2016.
“We’re opening a second branch in Howell, right near the Freehold border. We’ve done exceptionally well in western Monmouth, so we’re going to increase our involvement there,” she says, noting that the new branch will debut a new look as well as some important technological advances that will make banking more convenient.
The new Ocean Township branch on Route 35 North will address the lack of truly local lending source in the area. “We have identified a void and we are going to fill it,” she explains, noting that the branch will have a resident commercial lending officer. “We have clearly made a name for ourselves in the small to medium business lending market,” says Franzoni. “No other bank can touch our personal service, experienced lenders and commitment to timely decisions. We expect to make an immediate impact in Ocean when the branch opens later this year.”
Franzoni has always had “sand between her toes”. While she grew up in Bloomfield, her childhood summers were spent in Normandy Beach. Twenty years ago she moved to Point Pleasant and loves being out on the family boat. An accountant by trade, she began her banking career at Pulse Bank in South River and later at First Savings Bank, Woodbridge as Vice President and Treasurer. But she always looked southward.
Manasquan Bank has turned out to be a great fit for Cathy and, as importantly, the Bank has prospered tremendously under her expertise and leadership.
Franzoni also serves on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.