Mission accomplished

By on November 13, 2019

Groff retiring from ENB after 52 years; forged plan to ‘remain an independent bank of undisputed integrity’

Aaron Groff’s final days as president and chief executive of Ephrata National Bank are winding down, as is his remarkable 52-year career.

Last week, prior to an ENB-sponsored event held by Northern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, Groff discussed his tenure and the future of the company.

Though he’ll remain as chairman of ENB Financial Corp. — at least until May — the last official day at the bank is Dec. 31 for the 68-year-old.

Growing up with an agricultural background, banking wasn’t exactly Groff’s first choice of careers. But his English teacher announced “they’re hiring at the local bank” in January of his senior-year in high school.

Aaron Groff. Photos by Missi Mortimer.

“After weeks of ignoring it, I followed a friend of mine who actually came and applied,” he said.

Groff joined Ephrata National Bank in April 1967 as a teller and became president on Jan. 1, 1999.

During that time, ENB clearly has maintained a small-town bank feel about it while continuing ties with both the agri-business and the non-agricultural communities — 27 percent of its business has an agricultural connection or component.

“That would be people in the business of selling products and services for the agricultural (community),” Groff said. “A lot of it is production agriculture where a farmer has the cows, hogs chickens, and raises the crops they need to feed the animals.”

Aaron Groff, accepting a leadership award from Northern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Ackerman. The new award celebrates his legacy and leadership, and is represented by a motorcoach, something Groff has driven on the side during his banking career.

Under his leadership as president, Ephrata National Bank grew from four full-service branch offices in the greater Ephrata area to 12 full-service branch offices and two free-standing drive-thru facilities in Lancaster, Lebanon and Berks counties.

He said the company looks for board members who have an interest in small business and “live, work, play, and worship in the areas that we serve.”

“We believe the board represents the pulse and heartbeat of the communities we serve,” Groff said. “We promote from within…our mission is to remain an independent bank of undisputed integrity.”

Aaron Groff will retire as Ephrata National Bank president and chief executive officer next month, but he’ll remain as chairman of ENB Financial Corp. at least until May.

During his tenure, he held the positions of co-manager of data processing, assistant cashier, cashier, systems analyst, director of marketing, and vice president.

Company assets grew from $338 million to over $1 billion as Groff played a significant role in establishing what has become known as the bank’s Ephrata Campus.
It includes an expansion into three buildings that currently house the bank’s technology center, money management group, marketing department, contact center, credit department and ENB Mortgage.

In his spare time and on weekends, Groff drives passengers on a motor coach, often to Manhattan where he parks and bikes around the city.

He has four grown children, who are all married, and 10 grandchildren aged 1 to 15 years old.

Four of his grandchildren live in New England where he also visits often but not quite enough.

“When I retire — which will be soon — I hope to spend longer periods of time in Massachusetts rather than crammed weekends here and there,” he said.
Groff admitted his coach-driving hobby (don’t call it a bus) is stranger than most.

He’s tried golf and didn’t like it.

“(Golf) is the only sport where you have to look for your own ball,” he joked.

Succeeding Groff as president and CEO will be Jeffrey S. Stauffer, who will become the eighth president in Ephrata National Bank’s history.

Stauffer, a Cocalico grad and Ephrata area resident, began his banking career at Ephrata National Bank in February 1982, having most recently served as senior vice president and senior lender of commercial loans.

Groff reacts last Thursday to the news that a Chamber leadership award was being named in his hono at the Northern Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Business After Hours” at the Brossman Business Complex.

After starting his 36-year tenure with the bank as a teller, Stauffer served as assistant branch manager, commercial loan officer, and vice president commercial lending manager before starting in his current role.

“Jeff Stauffer has been a high performer and tremendous asset to ENB throughout his distinguished career,” Groff said. “His extensive knowledge of banking as well as our culture and communities will allow us to continue our mission.”

In addition to growth, Groff’s presidency will be remembered for his integrity, customer focus, innovative and visionary thinking, strong and visible leadership, ability to communicate and capacity to inspire.

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve the communities in which we do business, not only by helping customers achieve financial success but in how we’ve been able to give back through financial and volunteer support,” he said.

Groff, who workers describe as approachable and down-to-earth, said he’ll miss the many bank employees — among a 280-plus workforce — he’s built relationships with over 50-plus years.

“Most of all, I will cherish all of the people that I have worked with, the relationships we’ve forged, and the successes we’ve achieved together,” he said.

Patrick Burns is news editor of The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 717-721-4455. 

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