Commerce State Bank CEO Joe Fazio is pictured in front
of the Cedarburg branch that opened in December 2014.
The main branch is in West Bend.
CEDARBURG — Cedarburg resident Joe Fazio has received
some national recognition this month – the chairman and
CEO of the West Bend-based Commerce State Bank, which
also operates a Cedarburg location, was named by the
Independent Community Bankers of America as its 2017
national Community Banker of the Year.
Fazio said that
he was surprised and humbled by the award.
“I know they
have a big pool to draw from, so it’s very cool and humbling,” he
said. “It’s nice to be recognized, but then you go – gee, what am I
doing that’s different from anybody else? But it’s great.”
As a result of
being named the Community Banker of the Year, Fazio will be flown to
Las Vegas for the ICBA’s 2018 Banking LIVE national convention in
The award, now
in its fourth year, draws nominations from banking professionals and
customers as well as community leaders all over the country.
Scott Heitkamp, president and CEO of ValueBank Texas in Corpus
Christi, Texas, described Fazio as “a dedicated, driven leader and
compassionate and conscientious citizen” who is set apart by his
contributions to the greater community.
In addition to
serving as the president of the Greater Cedarburg Foundation, Fazio
serves as a board member for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago,
was a Wisconsin Bankers Association board member, has testified
before the state Assembly Committee for Financial Institutions, and
has traveled to Washington to advocate community bank-friendly
policies. He is also a former Cedarburg alderman and has lived in
the community for 25 years with his wife, Lisa. The couple belong to
St. Francis Borgia Parish and are the parents of three grown
children and proud grandparents of one baby boy.
State Bank employee who nominated Fazio for the ICBA award noted
that his “passion for explaining money matters begins with the
belief that we need to stop talking about financial literacy” and
educating consumers about how to make their money work for them.
It’s a passion
that resulted in his latest project, a self-published book titled
“This might be a dumb question but ... How Does Money Work?” He
co-wrote the book over the course of three years with Jack Henke of
Cedarburg’s Henke and Associates and released it this summer.
“I want to help
people understand how money works,” said Fazio.
In the book,
Fazio uses analogies and comparisons to illustrate the concepts of
how “money makes money, and money costs money” – and how they can
ensure that theirs is the money that makes money.
credit and debit cards as “the power tools of money.”
efficient at spending your money. Just like if you’re going to use a
handsaw to cut a board, the worst thing that can happen if you slip
is a stitch or two. If you use a power tool, you cut your arm off,”
want to understand money,” he continued. “I think you turn people
off if you tell them they need to be ‘financially literate.’ That
sounds really complicated – like they’ve got to take a course and
take exams. What you really want to understand is money.”