A true relationship story

June 2022

- John Rego, I am the chief financial officer of Wide Open West, sometimes called WOW, which is an engineering cable provider based in Denver Colorado.

I joined WOW actually in the beginning of the pandemic. During this course of the pandemic, we had the great fortune of literally doing a massive transformation of a company without ever meeting in person, and it sort of changed my perspective. I'm an older guy, so the idea of I'm gonna work from home just really never hit me as a good idea. And I didn't really think people could handle it, but I was pleasantly surprised to see in our company of 2000 people that actually works and people will make it happen, and things that you wouldn't expect, so no one's commuting anymore, so they're working longer.

And all of these benefits sort of inure to the company, but in ways I thought it would tear us apart, and oddly like drew everybody closer together. That being said, I still love working in person with people, and I think it's a much nicer experience. And I think ultimately we'll get to somewhere in between the two things. I used to be as a young guy impressed with banks, meaning the name of the bank. And there were two banks in particular, the most renowned names in banks and everybody had to have one or both of these banks and everything they did. And as I got older and wiser, I became less impressed with banks and more impressed with bankers.

My introduction to Key was a dear friend of mine and the best banker I've ever worked with in my life, and he decided he was gonna go with Key and tried to do something different and work more middle market kind of accounts and stuff.

And so he called upon me, he came to the office, he came to see me. And that was my introduction to KeyBank literally about 10 years ago. Again, it's been a very interesting relationship and it's been a relationship where we've made money together but it's more than that, and what I really liked about the bank and this particular banker and we all seem to be cut from the same ilk as this young man is that they're really partners to our business.

I've known so many bankers who are showing up to collect a fee when that time is here, but very few bankers who like bringing ideas or thoughts or been thinking about it, or, "Hey, John you guys are gonna be going "to the debt market in the next six months. "Let me introduce to our debt banker. "And she'll just give you kind of a sense "of what's out there and how to think about that." And like, didn't ask, just came forward with that. And I think that there's something really to be said for that, to have someone be that thoughtful.

They used to say in the olden days that a lot of investment bankers used to say, "I'm a relationship banker." It's like a term, "I'm a relationship bank." It's like an overbuild, "I'm a relationship banker." But my experience with the KeyBank bankers is that they actually are relationship bankers. It doesn't have to be a fee, let's build on this, and it's been wonderful.

John Rego brings decades of expertise to his role as CFO of WideOpenWest. He shares his learnings over time about the importance of a true relationship banker who brings new ideas and fresh thinking.

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