Company Profile

  Continental Illinois®

Yes, Conti is back !  Continental Illinois® was for many years the trade name of America’s largest Midwestern bank and financial combine.  The bank encountered funding challenges in the early/mid 1980’s and then was folded into Bank of America.  In 2010, the Lechner family purchased the marketing rights (ownership of the trademark) and the associated goodwill at a trademarks auction which was held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan.  The firm today is not a bank, it is a lawful Delaware C-corp, Continental Illinois Holding Corporation. Delaware was selected for its pro-business climate, and strong fabric of corporate law.  C-corp status was designated to facilitate corporate growth and acquisitions going forward.  Today the firm is cognizant of its great history, and the issues of the mid 1980’s and of the tremendous potential and institutional responsibility of the firm’s rebuilding.  The firm’s website includes the original artwork of the share certificates of the old Continental Illinois, both as a reminder of, and a replanting of the deep roots of Continental Illinois® in the American Midwest, nationally, and globally, and also to help illuminate the road ahead.

Today, the firm is headed by Matthew W. Lechner, as its Chairman; whose background is briefly as follows:  MWL was born in New Jersey in 1962 in a town near the George Washington Bridge, and grew up in New Jersey and Connecticut.  First job – newspaper delivery boy, Greenwich Time.  Rec’d prize in D.A.R. American history essay competition, 2nd Place.  Operated landscape and painting contractor firm, some masonry.  Graduated from Greenwich High School in 1980.  Went to college upstate New York, at Hamilton College.  Co-social chairman, Sigma Phi Society, Hamilton social fraternity.  Reporter, copy editor, and features editor of The Spectator, student newspaper; then Chairman of the Hamilton College Publications Board, overseeing various campus media including newspaper, radio station, literary magazines, and film enterprise; mainly dealing with budgetary and managerial oversight in committee format, and funding for existing and new initiatives.  Two terms in Paris, including one independent study on criticism of modern French theatre.  Worked part-time on a tree farm while at Hamilton College, also part-time as bartender for official events of the President of the College.  Graduated in 1984 with a B.A. in English, plus a minor in French.  Worked in commercial real estate in Manhattan 1984-1993.  Completed NYU Diploma in Real Estate program while working as a commercial real estate agent.  Success in industrial and retail leasing, notable successes in large mini-storage and food & beverage leasing.  Entered securities and financial consulting 1993, at a branch office of A.G. Edwards & Sons, there through 2003, practice around half private client, half institutional, with no compliance or regulatory problems.  Extensive knowledge of and experience with mutual funds, asset allocation; and separate account money management including manager selection, benchmarking, presentation of quantitative data, and performance measurement.  Significant knowledge of life insurance.  Presented research paper on quant/value approach to REIT equities at NYU investment conference on pension fund investment in real estate.  Published in “The Bond Buyer” newspaper regarding public finance and municipal bonds.  Designed very successful model portfolios for large retirement plan.  Taught course on municipal bonds at Greenwich Continuing Education.  Consultant at AGE for large fixed income client investing in Federal Agency securities.  Significant investment banking involvement at AGE in public finance (health care sector, large and midsize issuers), and some investment banking involvement on the equity side with the food processing industry. Guest speaker at meeting of the Greenwich Bar Association at the invitation of a large Connecticut law firm.  Guest speaker at meeting of Greenwich Retired Mens Association, also at Greenwich chapter of Soroptomists International.  Left AGE to start own financial consulting shop Financial Risk Consulting, LLC in 2003 see which is still owned.  Named “one of America’s top financial planners 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012” by the Consumers’ Research Council of America.  Taught real estate and financial topics at New York University, both undergrad and graduate level courses, reached academic title “Adj. Associate Professor of Real Estate and Financial Management”.  Taught “Real Estate Portfolio Management” course, mainly dealing with real estate securities, in NYU M.S. in Real Estate program for which received two awards from NYU (for the grad level teaching):  Service to the University, and Teaching Excellence.  Compiled three small finance textbooks (no original work):  ISBN’s 0-07-233846-6, 0-7863-1229-7, 0-07-232162-8.  Also taught “Investments” course within NYU CFP preparation curriculum.  Faculty advisor for graduate student’s independent study on mortgage-backed securities.  Wrote test questions for global CFP exam (investments, general practice), and for global FRM exam (credit risk, operational risk).  Interviewed in MBIA Insurance Corporation’s newsletter “Municipal Bond Intelligence Quarterly” regarding investment applications of municipal bonds.  Published in Westchester County NY senior citizens’ newspaper “60-plus”, article on personal financial and investment planning for seniors, Spring 1998.  Organized NYU seminar/event featuring representatives of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  Featured presenter, executive education webinar, vendor ExecSense “How to Best Manage Risk as a C.O.O. in 2011-2012; Assessing Your Company’s Financial Risk, Risk to Competitors, Risk to Major Customers, Partners, and Other Risks that Every C.O.O. Should Understand and Have Back-Up Plans For. (ExecSense Webinar).”  Currently maintain two professional designations:  Certified Financial Risk Manager, and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist.  Chairman of WSSIG – the Wall Street Special Interest Group.  Enjoy reading, sailing (some prizes for competitive Laser sailing, including OGYC Seamanship trophy), music, gardening, dogs.  Member:  PETA, AFA, NRA, DAV, the National Right to Work Committee, the Florida Farm Bureau, and the Global Association of Risk Professionals, and the Wall Street Special Interest Group.

Matthew W. Lechner, Chairman of the Board
(203) 979-6146