“It’s all about integrity—always.” –Melissa Ballenger, CFO, Mosaic
When Melissa Ballenger stepped into a deputy CFO role for TD Bank’s U.S. subsidiary back in 2011, she did so knowing that she had been recruited to be a change agent.
Having recently generated business headlines from acquiring two sizable banks in the U.S., TD Bank had U.S. expansion plans that were hardly a secret.Read More
“A lot of competitor banks in the U.S. were still back on their heels at the time from credit concerns, capital considerations, and other things like that, and TD had the opportunity to take share profitably from competitors,” recalls Ballenger, whose new role at first involved interfacing with the different management groupings and teams of executives who were expected to help to drive a finance transformation designed to position’s TD Bank’s U.S. subsidiary for the coming decade.
“We had a very interesting mix of people. Some were from the parent company in Canada, others were from the legacy organizations in the U.S., and still others were executives who were available to be brought in from the industry because they had been displaced by the financial crisis,” continues Ballenger, as she draws our attention to what she credits as being a primary lever for helping to put the transformation in motion.
“I was resolved to listen to all of the key finance leaders and talk to the executive committee in the U.S. and understand what their business needs were. It sounds pretty basic, but I don’t think that I could have gotten things started otherwise, because I needed to know what their business needs were. They were each kind of uniquely different, and their personalities were different as well,” reports Ballenger.
What began as a listening campaign helped to lead to a broadening consensus around the adoption of a new management structure involving the appointment of business unit CFOs who would report to Ballenger but at the same time partner with leaders for each of the lines of business inside the new U.S. entity.
Next came the technology platforms and communication processes.
“We built analytics that were needed for timely, informed decision-making, and, being a public company, we knew that our forecasting capabilities and our communication with our parent would be critically important,” comments Ballenger, who says that while the finance transformation provided many leadership lessons along the way, her biggest takeaway arrived early in the process .
Says Ballenger: “Begin by listening.” –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about Mosaic—what does this company do and what are its offerings?
Ballenger: Mosaic is one of the largest providers of financing for clean energy and sustainable home improvements in the U.S. Think solar panels and systems for residential homes, as well as energy-efficient home improvements, windows and doors, HVAC, and these sorts of systems. We’re one of the largest providers of the financing for these systems in the U.S., with over $4.5 billion in loans having been funded through our platform since its inception.
We’re passionate about our vision, which is 100% clean energy for all. We make a difference by providing consumer financing or loans for making reliable, clean energy home improvements affordable to home owners. Since 2012, Mosaic has helped more than 180,000 home owners with sustainable, clean energy solutions for their homes.Read More
Our company believes that the home plays a critical role in combating and adapting to climate change. Our priority is providing home owners with increased purchasing power and flexible financing options to be able to afford appropriate improvements. For example, in solar, the majority of our customers save 10% to 20% overall in costs with solar compared to utility bills in their first year. As utility rates rise over time, we expect their savings to grow. In fact, many customers can expect to save more than $50,000 over the life of a system. Systems like HVAC, roofing, windows, and doors also play a huge, huge role in the energy efficiency of a home, but as they age, they become less effective and require investment.
My personal first priority is to support and drive profitable growth in the business. We have significant growth objectives, and partnering with my colleagues, my business leaders, to get this done and to support it in all ways possible across all finance functions is paramount.
Closely related to this is continuing to build and develop our finance capabilities in terms of people. We want to make sure that we have the right people in the right functions not only to meet our business needs and provide business support, but also to protect the business aspect of what a finance team does.
Mosaic | www.joinmosaic.com | Oakland, CA