Howard Bank's Coffman Wins SmartCFO Award

George Coffman - CFO

Howard Bank CFO George Coffman has been named one of the region’s top 10 CFOs by Baltimore SmartCEO Magazine.

Winners need to do more than talk the talk.  “Oftentimes financial jargon can be confusing to someone who does not work in that area.” says SmartCEO senior editor Georgia Patton.

One of the questions about nominees was, “How has your CFO explained his processes or the company’s current financial state to people in the company who are not financial-minded?” Coffman’s response to this question elevated it to the source of his proudest moment at the bank  when he explained “The thing that I believe produces the most pride has nothing to do with accounting principles, disclosure requirements, regulatory burdens, or any other process related issues. To me the thing that provides the most pride, is being able to take what are complex, confusing, and abstract issues, and explaining them in a way which simplifies the issue to a point where the listener can understand not only the concepts, but also the basics as to why the issue is important to them.”

A founding executive of Howard Bank, Coffman is not only willing to explain his company’s finances in terms employees understand, he’s overseen major changes since the bank opened its doors in 2004. Howard Bank is the only locally owned and operated bank in Howard County.

Bank chairman, president and CEO Mary Ann Scully says Coffman “has been successful in a rapidly transitioning position that many would say could not be filled by one person.”

In just three years “he has been instrumental in taking the company from true start-up mode to the point where sophisticated financial reporting and investor relations are the norm.”

He was responsible for closing on a stock offering (the first of three that he would administer over the last three years) and then quickly established all accounting/asset and liability management and investment software.
“He managed all the steps in not only establishing that infrastructure but actually completed all regulatory and public company reporting requirements for over a year until our controller was hired to support him,” Scully says. “George is also responsible for interfacing with regulators and establishing correspondent bank and investment banker relationships.”

Coffman has overseen changing investor relations, too, first manually managing a 450-shareholder database and then leading the transition to the bank’s first registrar agent arrangement. He then led the formation of a holding company parent for the fledgling bank and won another set of regulator approvals for that company.
In nominating him for the award, Scully said “How many others could work their way in three short years from a manual start-up to an OTC quoted company with an investor relations Web site that’s updated every day? George manages to do this while being an exceptional team player.”

For his part, Coffman expresses as much confidence in the future as he takes pride in past accomplishments “Even though we are only three years old, we are now the only bank that is locally owned and headquartered in our market. There has been significant consolidation of the local banking alternatives, and we are poised to grow by demonstrating that while we are the local community bank, we have all of the same sophisticated products available as our larger competitors, and can provide them with a level of knowledge and access that big banks simply cannot offer. Over the next five years, I see unlimited growth potential given all of the internal strength, market conditions, and customer acceptance that we have received in our three short years thus far.”
A resident of Howard County, Coffman graduated from the University of Maryland in 1986. He began his banking career with Citizens Bank of Maryland, was CFO of Sequoia National Bank  and a financial executive with both Farmers and Mechanics  banks and its successor organization Mercantile Bankshares before joining the founding team of Howard Bank.

The Smart CFO award honors area CFOs who go “above and beyond” to maintain their companies’ financial integrity and have a strong impact on their company's bottom line.

Howard Bank provides a full range of banking services, and addresses the traditional as well as the more sophisticated needs of local businesses with a high touch, face-to-face style of banking. It has branches in the Village of Hickory Ridge in Columbia, on Snowden River Parkway in Ellicott City and on Johns Hopkins Road in Maple Lawn. A fourth branch in Ellicott City at the crossroads of Route 40, Centennial Lane and Frederick Road is under construction.

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