Joe Fazio, the chairman and chief executive officer of West Bend-based Commerce State Bank, has been named 2017 national Community Banker of the Year by the Independent Community Bankers of America.

The ICBA, an industry trade organization that represents 5,700 community banks in the United States, said on October 16 its annual award recognizes "the exceptional work and commitment of individual community bank employees and their dedication to local communities." 

“As a dedicated, driven leader and compassionate and conscientious citizen, Joe’s contributions to his community and the betterment of our industry are to be commended," ICBA Chairman Scott Heitkamp, president and CEO of of ValueBank in Corpus Christi, Texas, said in a statement announcing the award. 

The industry trade organization cited Fazio's self-published book, "This Might be a Dumb Question But ... How Does Money Work?," as perhaps the best example of Fazio's leadership and passion about personal finance. The book offers practical financial management advice for consumers.

Fazio also was recognized for his leadership on boards and as a spokesman for the industry. Fazio is a board member for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and formerly was a Wisconsin Bankers Association board member. He has testified before the State of Wisconsin Assembly Committee for Financial Institutions, and has traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for community bank-friendly policies, the ICBA said.

Fazio also is active in recruiting future banking talent, serving as a guest lecturer and panelist for Marquette University’s banking career night, the organization said.

This article was originally published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.