40 Under 40 The Class of 2014

Robert Chateauneuf

Assistant Vice President, Commercial Lending, Monson Savings Bank, age 35

Rob-Chateauneut-01In almost 15 years in banking, Rob Chateauneuf has seen plenty of change — literally and figuratively.

He started out as a teller at Woronoco Savings Bank, later acquired by Berkshire Bank, while finishing his degree at UMass Amherst. “From there, I got my management degree, and I was lucky enough to be put through the management training program.”

And he found his true calling in commercial lending. “A senior lender noticed that I really like to do loans, and they’d started a small-business program; that’s how I got my first job in commercial lending,” he explained. “I really liked it.”

Eventually, Monson Savings Bank came calling, offering Chateauneuf a position as assistant vice president of Commercial Lending, a job he relishes. “People picture bankers as number crunchers, but so much more goes into it. I don’t do transactions; I build relationships.

“Every deal is different,” he went on. “And you’re helping a company that might employ a great deal of people in the area, so you’re actually helping to develop the economy in the Pioneer Valley. At the end of the day, I pick up my briefcase and computer and say, ‘wow, I feel like I contributed to society.’”

He has also contributed to the community through volunteer work, most notably by chairing the board at Hawthorn Services — a provider of programs for the elderly — until that organization merged with the Center for Human Development, where he now serves on the board of directors’ program committee. “We make sure that CHD continues to focus on the needs of our community, whether it be child services, elder care, or homelessness,” he said.

Chateauneuf, who has twin 3-year-old boys, Evan and Bryce, with his wife, Shauna, finds a certain creative spark in his job and his volunteerism — a side of his personality he used to nurture through music.

“When I finished college, I played drums on the road for five years while I was the assistant manager at the bank,” he said. “I still don’t know how I got into banking; my goal was to play the drums, to play music. I guess one day, you wake up and realize you need a job that pays the bills. And banking was where I was at the time. But I lucked out, because I love it.”

— Joseph Bednar

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