By KATE GENO
As president, CEO and CFO of Williamsville State Bank & Trust, Cathy Gonzalez is a strong proponent of community banks and their niche in the banking industry.
“It is harder for community banks to stay viable today due to the tremendous amount of regulation being imposed on the industry,” she said. “However, community banks, such as Williamsville State Bank & Trust, are necessary because they lend a personal touch and give people opportunities they might not have at larger banks.”
In her leadership position, Gonzalez’ main objective is to protect and manage the assets of the depositors and investors of the bank. She oversees the safety and soundness of the bank, ensures the growth and well-being of the staff at the bank’s four branches, and helps clients secure a strong financial future.
Gonzalez has endeavored to be president of a bank since high school. She was inspired by her parents. Her attorney father represented community banks in Springfield and served on bank boards as she was growing up and her mother always encouraged her career ambitions. Her early ambitions may have leaned toward banking but her love for learning led her down several career paths first.
While working toward a bachelor’s in finance at the University of Illinois, she interned at the Security Pacific National Bank in London, England. After graduation, she attended Arizona State University School of Law to obtain her juris doctor. She began working at her family’s law practice, concentrating in estate planning and tax. While there, she attended night school in preparation for obtaining her CPA designation and accounting license. Gonzalez then moved to New York City to work at a law firm on Wall Street.
When she decided to move home to Springfield, Ill., she returned to the banking world and accepted a position with Williamsville State Bank & Trust.
Gonzalez said she has always taken great pride in the bank’s dedication to its community. The bank supports local schools with student of the month and year awards and internship programs. Its staff also donates countless hours and financial support to community events and organizations. As a result, Williamsville State Bank & Trust won the Illinois Bankers Association community service award in 2012.
Gonzalez is a past member of the board of directors for the Illinois Bankers Association. The IBA is a full-service trade association dedicated to creating a positive business climate that benefits the entire banking industry and the communities they serve. It provides continuing education and legislative representation for banks of every size.
In her spare time, Gonzalez is a member of the board of trustees for the Hoogland Center for the Arts; serves on the board of directors for the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois; and has volunteered on the Christ the King school board for six years.
Overall, she says the support of her family has meant the most to her career.
“It is a fine balance for women to succeed in the workplace while raising a family. Multi-tasking is essential. I have a husband and two sons that help and encourage me every step of the way.”