By Mike Ruben - email
Preparation met opportunity for Charles "Skip" Hageboeck when he signed on with City Holding Co. The luck portion of the formula came 11 years ago when he relocated his family to West Virginia.
A native of Indiana, Hageboeck is the president and CEO of the Cross Lanes-based bank. Under his leadership, City National has gone from a financially troubled institution to bank recognized in the industry for its stability.
"The decision to come to West Virginia was not an easy one," said Hageboeck, who moved here with his wife, Samantha. "We had lived in central Indiana our entire lives, and our families and friends were there.
"West Virginia has an undeserved reputation, which concerned us as we made the move, but our family quickly discovered that Charleston, W.Va., is a fantastic place to live and work. We especially appreciate the smaller town atmosphere that has allowed us to get to know many people very quickly, and we were ‘at home' very, very quickly.
"Recognition as a West Virginia business leader means a lot to me, and I appreciate the honor," he said.
It was a combination of education and career that prepared him for his current position. Hageboeck received an undergraduate degree in economics from Butler University. He went on to earn his master's and doctorate at Indiana University, with a focus on money and banking.
His banking career began as a financial analyst while completing his doctoral dissertation.
"Which interestingly enough involved predicting bank failures," he said.
He worked at Indiana National Bank, Peoples Bank of Indianapolis and Fifth Third Bancorp. He was director of forecasting at Roche Diagnostics prior to joining City Holding.
From its rather bleak outlook, City National is viewed as an industry leader. Noting its stability in home values, Bank Director Magazine ranked the company as the third best among the 150 largest publicly traded banks in the country in the third quarter of 2011.
In 2005, City had 56 branches, 691 employees and assets of $2.2 billion. The company now has 68 branches in 18 West Virginia counties and five in Ohio and Kentucky. There are 800 employees and assets of $2.7 billion.
"West Virginia may not be a fast-growing state, but its stable economy driven by coal, chemical and timber industries and by tourism provides ample opportunity to gather deposits and make loans," Hageboeck said. "As long as we are able to grow market share, City will do well.
"City's investors have come to expect top-notch performance. The challenge, as it is for other top-performing banks, is figuring out how best to achieve growth while maintaining profitability at high levels. City has no intention of growing its balance sheet using excessive or poorly conceived acquisitions solely to be larger. We also realize that the true value of the franchise is in West Virginia."
The bank benefits from deep penetration in its local markets. City averages 2,200 households per branch compared to an industry average of 1,200.
"I have been blessed to be the president for the last seven years, and am very proud of the transformation that City National Bank has experienced during that time," said Hageboeck. "In 2001 when we arrived in West Virginia, City was a seriously underperforming bank. Some wondered whether it would survive. We did survive — and thrived. During the recession, City performed exceptionally well and never found it necessary to participate in the government bail-out program known as TARP.
"City has an exceptional team of
directors, management, employees and customers that have made it what it is today, and I am proud to have been a part of that."
The holding company also includes City Insurance, one of the state's largest.
Hageboeck said he has been fortunate to work under the tutelage of veteran bankers who served as both mentors and role models, including former City President and CEO Gerald R. Francis.
"Jerry Francis, who preceded me as president and CEO at City National Bank, was one of my mentors," he said. "I am grateful to Jerry for the trust that he showed in me by encouraging me to join him at City in 2001, and then in recommending me to City's board to replace him in 2005."
City has established several significant permanent endowments at community foundations in its service areas. Those funds will generate income for charitable purposes for years to come. The City Cares Awards and the Teach Children to Save school program illustrate the company philosophy.
Hageboeck takes an active role on a statewide and community level. He serves on the board of directors of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the West Virginia Bankers Association, the Mountain State Chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Locally, he's on the board of Thomas Health Systems, Cub Scout Pack 30 and is a certified swimming official on the interscholastic and YMCA level.
Likewise, he encourages involvement from bank employees.
"City is a ‘community bank,' and you can find City employees actively involved throughout all of our communities," he said. "Annually, we recognize several individuals within our organization for their volunteer activities. We encourage our employees to achieve balance in their lives between work, family, faith and community service."
Hageboeck and his wife of 20 years, Samantha, are the parents of four children: Charlie, 17; Katie, 15; Emily, 14; and Robbie, 12.