Champlain National Bank President and CEO Jon Cooper is retiring from the banking industry affective Feb. 1.
After almost 40 years in the business of numbers, Champlain National Bank President and CEO Jon Cooper is looking forward to a morning walk.
“I’m getting up in the morning and taking a walk with my wife,” said Cooper, who is retiring from the bank effective Feb. 1. “Then I am going to say, the day is ours, what do you want to do with it.”
Cooper entered the financial world at the age of 21, working for a public accounting firm before getting into the banking industry.
“I have stayed in banking the entire rest of the time,” he said.
In April of 2006, Cooper was hired as the President and CEO of CNB, and will have almost served seven years in that position when he departs.
“I will be around for a couple of weeks to help with the transition, if needed,” Cooper said about turning the reigns over to his successor, Joseph Shaw. “If we need a couple more weeks, I will do that. If not, then I will move along.”
Cooper said that while many would look at the numbers and spreadsheets to determine the success of the company during his tenure (to which he said, “the bank is in an extremely strong position with a solid balance sheet,” increasing revenues from just over $650,000 in 2006 to near $1.8 million now), he would look at the perspective that the customers have.
“I think we have significantly changed the image of the company,” Cooper said. “We have re-focused on what it means to be a community bank. We have been more involved in the community not only because it pays back for the bank, but you have to be willing to give back what you get.”
Part of working with the community was understanding the customer.
“You have to react to the client or customer and think about if you were them and react in the way you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes and communicate with them appropriately,” Cooper said.
Cooper also talked about the services they offered customers in the wake of tropical Storm Irene.
“We were the only bank that came out with a special loan program after Irene,” he said. “We responded within weeks and we have had zero delinquencies on those.”
Cooper said that community involvement is something that he has noticed throughout his time at CNB.
“The thing that amazes me about this community is that you can reach out to the key people around here and always get a call back,” he said. “That, to me, is why this community has not seen a huge swing downward. It’s about what is best for the region. You do not see one town against the other if it is for the betterment of the region.”
Cooper also has served as the president of the Plattsburgh Rotary Club, where he helped implement a mentorship program through Plattsburgh State.
“We would pair students up with business leaders and let them go from there,” Cooper said. “I had three students that came to work with me in the program, and all three got high-profile opportunities down the road.”
Cooper said that he plans to return to his roots in western New York upon retirement, but will bring many fond memories of the North Country with him.
“I have truly enjoyed the time here,” he said. “It is a great community with people who are always available to lend a hand.”