Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2008Kellogg School of Management
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Making a world of difference
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Sally Sharp Lehman '88
Joseph Hasten '78
James Reynolds '82
Jamee Field '04
Rick Waddell '79
Daniel Hayden '01
Melanie Chan '06
Horace Allen '04
Joseph Seminetta '05
David Pope '94
Cory Zanin '91
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Joe Hasten '78: Mission and competitive advantage can be one

By Aubrey Henretty

  Joe Hasten '78
  Joe Hasten manages the 'triple bottom line'.
  Making a world of difference
Following his tenure as vice chairman of U.S. Bancorp's corporate banking business in St. Louis from 2001, Hasten returned to his hometown of Chicago in 2007 to become president and chief executive officer of ShoreBank, a $2 billion company with locations in nine U.S. cities and around the world. Though the mortgage industry at large has nearly collapsed under the weight of easy credit and unscrupulous lenders, Hasten says it's no surprise that ShoreBank's mortgage portfolio is "performing very nicely."

Founded in 1973 to bring financial services to underserved urban communities, the bank — whose tagline is "Let's change the world" — launched a program in September to help locals refinance high-cost, subprime adjustable rate mortgage loans. According to Hasten, the program has already saved more than 100 borrowers from losing their homes. "By the end of this year," he says, "I want to save another thousand."

The first MBA in a family of lawyers, Hasten worked in a bank after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut. When he was applying to business school, he decided to study finance in hopes of moving up through the ranks in banking. He says he chose the Kellogg Part-Time MBA Program because he knew he would learn a lot more than number crunching: "[At Kellogg], you aren't just majoring in finance. You're majoring in management."

ShoreBank home energy conservation loan program project  
ShoreBank home energy conservation loan program project  
Green savings: ShoreBank promotes green design and sustainable development opportunities.  Its Home Energy Conservation Loan program encourages energy-saving home improvements, such as adding insulation to this Chicago bungalow, ENERGY STAR appliances and more. These enable homeowners to wrap the purchase price of the home and its improvements into one mortgage payment that will reduce energy costs and consumption by 25 to 50 percent while adding value and comfort.  

Hasten says his Jesuit education instilled in him a strong sense of community from a young age, and he rejects the idea that community involvement is strictly a feel-good exercise that eats up company resources. "You can pursue social goods without sacrificing your returns," he says.

More than that, Hasten says, aspects of ShoreBank's social mission that appear to have little to do with banking — including the bank's environmental sustainability initiatives — all contribute positively to the "triple bottom line" that aims to maximize shareholder return, social return and environmental return. "This wasn't just a nice liberal point of view that was added to the mission because it was virtuous," he says. In addition to financing the renovation and clean-up of neglected buildings, homes, and manufacturing sites, the bank also offers free energy evaluations to its home-rehab loan customers. "If they see us advising them in ways that other lenders don't, i.e. around making their home energy-efficient, they see us as more committed."

Hasten says even he didn't fully grasp the scope of ShoreBank's triple bottom line until after he had been invited to join the company. "I thought ShoreBank was a community bank with a very nice social mission on the side," he recalls. He was subsequently impressed and delighted to find that "[that] was actually what the place was all about. The mission was the competitive advantage.

"None of us in my generation were really trained to think of business in terms of social responsibility," Hasten says, noting that a younger generation of MBAs is driving social responsibility to new industries all the time. "I think there's a lot more interest in the social impact of business."

Hasten remembers when the formula for profitable banking was purely mathematical. "As you read more and you grow older, you realize it's not that simple," he says. "The fact that ShoreBank is pursuing its mission is actually driving its profits."

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