Case Study: Monona Bank – Loan Review Services

The Challenge

Monona Bank serves Madison and surrounding Dane County with a variety of community bank services including personal banking, home loans, and investment management. Their business loan department meets the needs of a variety of industries, from commercial to agricultural, offering a range of loans from small to complex.

Meeting the daily needs of customers while also staying on top of regulatory updates, underwriting changes, economic trends, and banking industry news can be a tricky balancing act. Katheleen Blakeslee, Vice President of Commercial Operations at Monona, says trying to maintain that level of perfection without support could have given her lots of sleepless nights.

Fortunately, Katheleen has enjoyed a decade-long relationship with Enlighten Financial. “We really view the Enlighten team as partners. They come in and validate our practices or share knowledge with us, and that’s like a security blanket so we can sleep at night.”

Enlighten Financial Solution

Twice each year, Enlighten performs loan reviews for Monona, selecting a segment of the team’s portfolio. They review the entire loan process, from underwriting to loan documentation, to ensure all procedures meet best practices. Katheleen said she relies on this bi-annual feedback to improve their systems, but she also appreciates broader insights provided by the Enlighten team.

“I value their ability to consult on the current economic situation, give the latest on industry issues, and provide regulatory updates, as well as the current best practices they’ve found in their work with other banks,” she said.

The Monona team also values the year-round responsiveness of Enlighten, even when loan reviews aren’t being conducted. The team often reaches out to Enlighten to ask questions and gain insights, particularly when the bank is creating a loan structure for an unfamiliar industry. Because Enlighten’s team has decades of industry experience, their advice is given within the context of real-world challenges.

The Results

Enlighten covers all aspects of the loan review process, while also providing bigger picture insights. The combination not only helps Katheleen sleep easy, it has been a key reason Monona has maintained excellent credit quality, even during economic downturns.

“I tell people it’s essential to have Enlighten as a partner to ensure credit quality and help monitor policies and procedures,” she said. “It’s been a great partnership because we set high standards, and Enlighten helps us meet them.”

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