Heartland associates meet goals and achieve milestones often in their careers. When asked what achievements you are most proud of, Jeff Kessler answered very simply, “When I was in the retail branch, it was helping clients meet their financial needs every day.” This speaks volumes to the character of most Heartland associates and Jeff personally and professionally – care about the customer, the community and the team…the Heartland Way!
Jeff’s career at Heartland started in 2011 as the Market Leader of the Capitol Square office. He then moved to Branch Manager at the Gahanna office where he established close ties to the clients in this community as Gahanna is also his home. After the retirement of a senior management member, Jeff moved into his current role of Business Manager to assume the responsibility of managing the business of the bank.
Jeff defines the business of the bank as “including many facets of the Bank’s business. Some of these are being the Regulation O Officer for the bank; handling the Director’s and Officer’s and Property and Casualty insurance renewals and claims; reviewing new and renewal contracts of our vendors; working with legal counsel pertaining to the Bank’s business; reviewing and approving trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents for account openings; participating in loan collections from problem loans; approving wire transfers; providing authorization codes for checks, deposits, and joint insurance checks; and providing Medallion Guarantee STAMPS for clients, just to name a few.”
This may sound daunting, but Jeff takes it all in stride with the underlying belief in the Heartland Way. “The associates really do care about the well-being of their clients. Most banks say they care, but few deliver like Heartland Bank with its associates actually being active in the communities we serve at the grass roots level. We know our clients’ names and serve in community, school, and church functions with them. Our clients are not just a number to us, we treat them like family.”
Family is Jeff’s description for the environment at Heartland giving light to the Bank’s continued success and growth trajectory. “I have been here at Heartland Bank for over eight years now. I have worked at four other banks in my career and can honestly say Heartland Bank is the best bank I have worked for. This includes the people I work with, the overall benefits, and the family culture far exceeds other institutions. Some people may say ‘we don’t have this, or we don’t have that,’ but no place is perfect. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence until you get there.”
Jeff is also passionate about his own family, evidenced by his picture portfolio. “I am a 1982 graduate of Otterbein College (now Otterbein University), lettered four years in basketball and was a captain my Senior year. I met my wife, Kim, there.” Married for 37 years with three children (Lindsay, Matt & Drew) and 2 grandsons (both 1 year old and 17 days apart), Jeff is proud to share that Lindsay and Drew both worked at Heartland Bank previously.
Additionally, volunteer work has been a part of Jeff’s devotion, to his community and the banking industry. “I have been a member of the Gahanna Community Improvement Corporation for 10 years. The CIC is a non-profit volunteer board that helps the City of Gahanna Development Department in attracting and retaining companies in Gahanna. I currently serve as Vice President and was Treasurer for 6 years. I also serve on the Legislative and Regulatory Committee of the Community Bank Association of Ohio (CBAO). Every spring, we have the Independent Community Bankers Association annual fly-in to Washington D.C. to call on our Senators and Congressional representatives to lobby on behalf of the numerous community banks across the nation.”
In the office, Jeff is continually quoting movie phrases, song lyrics, and is famous for telling everyone that they are late, even when they aren’t. He was probably the class clown, although his dad was the principal and his mom was one of his teachers. His sense of humor is appreciated at the Heartland Bank Corporate Center, where he has his office home. At his family home, it seems that Kim is no stranger to his humor too, “My wife told me to get a hobby four years ago (because retirement is not far away), so I started collecting bourbon. Today, I have about 300 bottles and now my wife wishes she would have just told me to go golfing!”
If you would like to experience the Heartland family and witness the Heartland Way, stop by any of our 16 local branches where “everybody knows your name!”