INSIDE: HOME-BASED BUSINESSES A GROWING MARKET FOR BANKS
THE RESOURCE FOR NEW ENGLAND’S FINANCIAL LEADERS
with Christopher Oddleifson of Rockland Trust Bank
THE RISKS AND REWARDS OF NON-BANK LENDING PLUS MODERNIZING CRIME: ELDER FINANCIAL ABUSE
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Is the High Ground High Enough? Is the New England economy reviving? From a long-term viewpoint, the components that were always the strongest and most stable are still the strongest and most stable. Christina P. O’Neill Editor, Banking New England
But the components that depend on the ebbs and flows of the bigger markets are still questionable. It’s always been that way, and not just in New England. For contrasts in the economic terrain, look at the stories of economic survival in developing countries – literally, look at their location. Businesses and individuals on the high ground seldom suffer property and casualty injuries from monsoons and floods, and so have far less risk to their economic integrity than the businesses on lower grounds. The people on the lower grounds are there because the cost of land or rent is low enough for them to subsist. But the risk is higher, and that’s OK, until it isn’t – when forces of nature or dysfunctional human element call in their chips. As our economy improves, the gap between the improving sectors and the non-improving sectors will become more evident. A balance will be needed to make wise investments in the lagging sectors.
In Europe, the Euro Zone nations have gotten a crash course in the fiscal conditions of Greece and Spain, and the risks taken by tiny Cyprus’ biggest banks. The Euro Zone’s original concept was that there would be strength in numbers and that a single currency would serve as the rising tide that lifted all boats. That idea was OK, until it wasn’t – and now the Euro Zone is scrambling to isolate the boats that could sink the flotilla. Our cover interview subject, Rockland Trust President and CEO Christopher Oddleifson, provides significant insight on how to invest in things that work, how to stick to mission when things change – and how to rethink when change is needed. The bank’s approach to community investment and wealth management strike a balance between high ground and low, and that’s the essence of what banking in New England should be. BNE
Strengthening Massachusetts one home loan at a time.
www.masshousing.com/lenders BANKING NEW ENGLAND
A PUBL ICAT ION OF T HE WA RRE N G ROUP
Reducing the Paper Jam with E-Signatures
THE RESOURCE FOR NEW ENGLAND’S FINANCIAL LEADERS
FTC Tightens Rules on Banking Apps
The Risks and Rewards of Non-Bank Lending
Home-Based Businesses a Growing Market
GUARDING THE GATE
Elder Financial Abuse: The Crime of the 21st Century
Cross-Channel Banking More in Demand Than Ever
The Evolution of the Virtual Branch
16 STABILITY, KNOWLEDGE, ADVOCACY Building Better Relationships
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Reducing the Paper Jam with E-Signatures BY CHRISTINA P. O’NEILL Editor, Banking New England
he Electronic Records and Signatures in Commerce Act took effect 13 years ago, giving electronic signatures the same legal authority as ink on paper. But it’s only been within the last five years – coinciding with the mortgage crisis, in which missing paperwork is often named the culprit in processing delays – that community banks and credit unions are increasingly implementing e-signatures in their business processes. The acceptance of e-signatures marked a turning point on Jan. 7 of this year. That’s when the Internal Revenue Service began to accept e-signatures on the common mortgage origination document, Form 4506-T, which lenders use to verify a borrower’s income. It had been the ‘holdout’ document – the last one to require an ink on paper signature. With the acceptance of e-signatures, mortgage originators can now perform 6
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the entire mortgage origination process electronically. “Since the mortgage crisis, banks are under tremendous pressure to meet regulatory requirements,” says Mary Ellen Power, vice president of marketing for Silanis, the nation’s leading e-signature provider. In 2006, before the mortgage crisis, one million 4506-T forms were processed. That number is up twenty-fold today, heightening the demand for a cost-effective way to handle the forms. E-signing can reduce error by 90 percent and eliminate 50 percent of risk. Customer error, such as failing to fill out all required data fields in a paper document, is eliminated with e-signature systems that won’t let the user sign until all data fields are filled in. A Silanis report on a large bank client that adopted a digital approach to its retirement and wealth
management processes, notes that paper document errors were requiring one or two additional visits to a customer’s home or office, and a process that took two hours to fix. Then the customer would have to sign all over again. E-signing also documents the process the user goes through. Advisors meet with customers to review documents before signing, and make sure that the terms of the agreement are understood. Power says that financial institutions want proof when moving into the electronic domain, that if someone is going to raise a question about the validity of a signature, that the institution has a legally enforceable transaction. “You need to make sure the process is good, with an e-signature solution underpinning that transaction, to protect the institution and to demonstrate that this is the process the end user went through,” she says. BNE
FTC Tightens Rules on Banking Apps Recommendations Aimed at Building Transparency
BY LAURA ALIX Laura Alix is a staff writer for The Warren Group, publisher of Banking New England.
“The report considers four different groups involved in mobile phone applications: platforms or operating system providers (Google would be an example), app developers, advertising networks and other third parties, and app developer trade associations.”
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s the proliferation of smartphones and mobile applications grinds ever onward, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has tightened up its rules and recommendations for players at every stage of the smartphone app game. In a staff report entitled “Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency,” the FTC makes myriad recommendations aimed at better securing consumers’ personal information. The report considers four different groups involved in mobile phone applications: platforms or operating system providers (Google would be an example), app developers, advertising networks and other third parties, and app developer trade
associations. Banks that offer mobile banking apps would fall under the umbrella of app developers. Banks, of course, are already extremely strict about keeping their customers’ personal information secure. And the FTC doesn’t exactly have jurisdiction over mobile banking apps. “The FTC is not the banking industry’s regulator,” Holly Towle, a partner at K&L Gates, points out. “Banks typically have strict privacy, but that’s because they are governed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and that is implemented by the banking regulators.” Marc DeCastro, research director at IDC Financial Insights, tends to agree: “I would think that most of the
FTC weight will be more towards the carriers, the AT&Ts, the Verizons, the Sprints. The banks have their own set of regulators.”
not that much harm that can happen,” he said. “And quite honestly, we’re still in the infancy of exploring mobile devices. I think as we see more and more attacks on people’s personal devices, you’ll see people getting more selective with their applications and who they open themselves up to.” Third, the FTC recommends that businesses improve coordination with third parties that provide services so that developers can provide better disclosures to their customers. Towle sees that as a particular challenge. “It’s a complex chain and though the FTC is correct that the whole chain needs to work together, but the legal, practical, and financial structure isn’t in place yet,”
she said. Finally, the FTC recommends businesses consider participating in selfregulatory programs, trade associations and industry organizations, for guidance on writing short, uniform privacy disclosures. Of course, there’s one other little matter to consider. “These are not regulations; they’re best practices,” Towle says. But nonetheless, “the reality is that the FTC is out at the forefront of helping inst adapt privacy and security rules relevant to mobile. So I think it’s relevant to everyone,” she said. DeCastro summed it up neatly, “I think they’re good rules of thumb, but I don’t think the bankers should be too worried.” BNE
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The Risks and Rewards of Non-Bank Lending Services Aimed at Those Who Don’t Want to Borrow From Banks BY LAURA ALIX Laura Alix is a staff writer at The Warren Group, publisher of Banking New England.
t reads almost like a lowbudget commercial playing on a local cable station during the breaks between “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Marc Kaye needed cash, and he needed it fast. Real estate in New York City moves lightning quick, and he had to make a decision – and a deposit – within 48 hours, or the space he wanted to lease would be gone. “I have three kids in college, so sometimes I’m a little cash poor,” he explained. Kaye, an art collector and health care consultant, said he normally borrows money from banks, but because he needed
the money fast, he chose to go a slightly different route. He worked with a Manhattan-based lender called borro to secure a loan for $20,000 against a Picasso pencil sketch he owned. He got his cash within 24 hours, plunked down his deposit and repaid his loan within a couple months. Borro is one of a myriad of non-banks lending investor’s dollars to people or businesses who can’t or don’t want to borrow from a bank. The company makes collateral loans against highend assets, like classic cars or art works, and its founder,
Paul Aitken, posits borro as an alternative to simply selling that asset. Aitken said that since the diligence he does is on the asset, rather than the borrower, this option is especially attractive to people with lackluster credit history or who don’t want to disclose certain information to a bank. In the years since its inception, Aitken says borro has made about 15,000 loans to the tune of about $67 million. On the other end of the spectrum is Fundation, an Internet-based start-up that has pumped considerable cash and effort into developing an expedited online credit check
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process, founder Sam Graziano said. It makes loans strictly to businesses in amounts between $25,000 and $250,000, at two-, three- or four-year terms. “We kind of act like a fund manager that uses an Internet channel to source its assets instead of going out to the stock market and buying stock,” he said. They operate radically different business models, but both companies highlight the speed and simplicity of their process, and both say they are filling a need that banks are cautious to meet. Aitken asserts the type of lending he does is not risky. If the borrower defaults, he says, borro can sell the asset and recoup its losses. Graziano, by contrast, acknowledges the risk in loaning to his target market. “It absolutely is [riskier], and that’s why a lot of banks don’t do it. That’s why companies like ours, who can create sophisticated technological platforms, have to do it,” he said.
And while many borrowers may consider a non-bank for its speed or its willingness to lend to people who might not qualify for a loan at the bank, they could also wind up shelling out for that speed and convenience. Interest rates at Fundation vary depending on the borrower’s credit profile, Graziano said. The riskier the client, the higher the interest rate. At the low end, rates could be in the high single digits. At the high end, they might be in the low 20s. Borro charges 2.5 to 4 percent interest per month. Annualized, that can mean as much as 30 to 48 percent interest, but Aitken asserts that is not too relevant because his customers typically borrow for very short periods of time, generally six months or less. Regulatory oversight of non-bank lenders can be ambiguous, too. Neither
Businesses holding back
But banks can hardly be blamed for cautious underwriting, especially since the recent financial disaster, and small business advocates say the claim that banks aren’t lending, or aren’t lending enough, is simply not true – at least in the Bay State. At the Massachusetts district office of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Assistant District Director For Lender Relations Anne Hunt said that SBA lending in January of this year showed loan approvals at their highest levels in the past five years. The issue is not credit availability, but rather the reticence of businesses to borrow in times of economic uncertainty. “I think a lot of businesses are just holding back a little based upon the economy, but in terms of a credit source, I think our banks are very flush with cash and would love to be lending their money. They are really out there searching for credible applicants that they can make a loan for,” Hunt said. Data from the Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) showed that Bay State banks – community banks, specifically – actually increased their lending throughout the recession.
Fundation nor borro are licensed by the Massachusetts Division of Banks, the division said. Fundation is regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services, and borro is regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs, their respective founders say, but neither agency had returned requests to confirm this information by the time this story went to press. In their characteristically cautious fashion, bankers urged consumers to do their due diligence, as well. MBA spokesman Bruce Spitzer said small businesses should seek out information from their local community development corporation and cautioned: “If you are a small business that is undercapitalized or you have questionable credit, you need to be careful about doing business with these kind of high-rate, non-bank lenders.” BNE
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Home-Based Businesses a Growing Market for Financial Institutions BY PHYLLIS HANLON Phyllis Hanlon is a freelance writer.
“The web and other technologies allow businesses to compete from home, while the tremendous advances in online and electronic banking allow them to operate more efficiently and effectively.” Jordan D. Hoy, vice president of business banking, Savers Bank
alk into a local Starbucks and you’ll likely see several individuals huddled in a corner booth, laptops open and files spread across the table. In response to the growing trend of corporate downsizing, job elimination and bankruptcies, more and more individuals are starting home-based businesses. The advantages: Low start-up costs, the opportunity to make your own hours and, possibly, fulfilling a dream.
12 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics counts approximately 18.3 million home-based businesses; other organizations estimate as high as 38 million. While home-based businesses are knowledgeable about their products/services, many still require the guidance and expert advice that financial professionals can offer to keep operations running smoothly. Tim Houlne, co-author of The New World of Work: From the Cube to the Cloud and CEO of Working Solutions, a
virtual agent and technology solutions provider in Dallas, asserts that for the home-based entrepreneur nothing takes the place of a good old-fashioned relationship with a financial institution. He recommends that business startups build and maintain a banking relationship over the longterm, for maximum benefit when it is needed the most. The longer the relationship, the easier it will be for the home-based business to secure business credit. “This is true as
long as your small, local bank is progressive enough to offer products and services that can help you maintain a competitive advantage,” he advises. Houlne recommends that home-based businesses choose between an asset-based lender or a cash-flow lender. Asset-based lenders require collateral in tangible equipment. Cash-flow lenders lend money based on cash received.
Collaboration makes it work
During his 40-plus years as a commercial lender, Louis H. Guevin Jr., executive vice president of commercial services at Bank of New Hampshire in Laconia, has helped dozens of home-based companies from jam-making operations and mail order businesses to woodworkers and interior decorators. In the 1970s, he assisted an individual who launched a pet rock company. Regardless of industry, all these businesses benefited from the team of experts that collaborate with the commercial lending professionals. Partnerships with attorneys, accountants, insurance experts and an experienced banker can help the home-based company access all the necessary tools and industry knowledge it needs to thrive. “We work closely with the SBA and SCORE to offer workshops and seminars,” Guevin says. Some of those events have addressed financing a business, using online banking and appropriate insurance coverage for a business. Dealing with a small, local financial institution carries other advantages. At startup some home-based businesses may hesitate to apply for a loan, thinking that a small customer base, inventory and investment in the company will lead to rejection. Guevin reassures these business owners. “Primarily we look at cash flow, not collateral. Cash pays the loan, not collateral,” he says. “We work with economic development agencies and do unsecured and secured lending. If you walk into a bank with a great idea, we’ll figure
According to the 2007 Census: 52% of respondents were home-based businesses 57% made less than $25,000 7% made $250,000 or more 30% launched with less than $5,000 in start-up capital 1.5% required $1 million or more
out a way to get it done.” Also, lending officers who live and work locally can provide quicker access and faster turnaround times when it comes to loan approval. The relatively small size of loans for home-based businesses enables local institutions to use their “lending authority,” says Guevin.
Technology facilitates the business connection
Without a doubt, technology has changed the way the world does business. Jordan D. Hoy, vice president of business banking at Savers Bank in Southbridge, Mass., cites the important role technology plays for businesses based out of a home, which are typically “sales-serviceconsulting, expense-sensitive or lifestyle driven operations.” He says, “The web and other technologies allow these businesses to compete from home, while the tremendous advances in online and electronic banking allow them to operate more efficiently and effectively.” Savers Bank offers Business Express solutions, an online cash management platform, where businesses can deposit checks, wire funds, or make ACH payments from the home office or on the road. To help home-based companies manage the technological learning curve, Savers offers informational sessions
for both retail and business customers. “Currently, we are offering a free online three-part tutorial titled Security Awareness Training. It addresses the growth in cybercrime and important steps to protect sensitive personal and business information,” says Hoy.
Credit unions join the ranks of lenders
Credit unions entered the commercial lending market in the mid-1990s, offering similar benefits as banks to its members, including home-based businesses. Rules no longer tie membership to employment situations, thus opening eligibility to a wider customer base. “You have to live, work or worship in a particular geographic region,” says Vinod Vaidyanath, assistant vice president of business development at Mass.-based Webster First Federal Credit Union (WFFCU). With a $5 minimum deposit in a savings or checking account, home-based companies can open no-fee checking accounts and apply for loans. “SBA lending helps qualify those who don’t have the collateral they would need for a regular business loan,” says Vaidyanath. “And the SBA gives an 85 percent guarantee on loans of $150,000 or less and a 75 percent guarantee on loans of $150,000 or more.” Thomas Boland, assistant vice president Continued on page 24
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Elder Financial Abuse: The Crime of the 21st Century BY PHYLLIS HANLON Phyllis Hanlon is a freelance writer.
In 2010, more than
7.3 MILLION AMERICANS 65 and older were victims of financial swindles of at least
14 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
hen the caller from Bright Coaching Service in Florida told 91-year-old Maine resident Sally that his company could eliminate her $6,800 credit card balance and the approximately $2,500 in interest fees in addition, she jumped at the opportunity, promptly providing her credit card number and agreeing to pay the $1,290 service fee. Fortunately for Sally (whose name has been changed for reasons of confidentiality), when forms arrived from Bright Coaching Service, a money management volunteer
from Spectrum Generations, the non-profit organization that services the elderly in seven Maine counties, was making his monthly visit to her home. Since she was hard of hearing and had poor eyesight, she asked the volunteer to open the package. He discovered a clause at the bottom of the documents indicating the service could not be canceled, and immediately contacted a volunteer financial coach from Spectrum Generations. Although the agreement appeared to be legally binding, closer inspection revealed that Bright
Coaching Service had no legal authority in Maine. Sallyâ€™s credit card company refunded her fee, canceled her existing card and reissued a new one. Such scenarios are becoming more and more common. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reports that in 2010 more than 7.3 million Americans 65 and older were victims of financial swindles of at least $2.9 billion. CFPB quotes The MetLife Study of Elder Financial Abuse, June 2011, which indicates a 12 percent increase in money scammed from seniors between
2008 and 2010. In 2011, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reported a marked increase in the number of financial institutions that filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to elder financial abuse. The American Bankers Association (ABA) reports that seniors are prime targets for fake accident or grandparent scams, lottery schemes, reverse mortgage cons and unsolicited work on the residence or property ploys. Seniors with a more trusting nature, impaired mental capacity and/or loneliness, are more vulnerable to such swindles. And while unscrupulous strangers may perpetrate these scams, more often family members, caregivers and others known to the senior devise a financial scheme. To combat this problem, local, state and federal government agencies, medical associations, elder law attorneys and private organizations as well as financial institutions have implemented informational programs.
federal laws, prevention strategies and ways in which banks can help raise awareness. The course is divided into four modules with self-checks throughout to test the user’s knowledge. Coursework is updated on a regular basis, and also whenever information about new scams and other elder-abuse activities become available. A typical bank will use the Frontline courses for more than just the frontline audience, Callaway says. While tellers, customer service representatives, branch managers, etc. may be the obvious recipients, it’s notable that many other job functions, including the bank’s CEO, are often assigned the Elder Financial Abuse course. To date, nearly 20,000 bank employees have taken the ABA course, currently the 12th most assigned course in ABA’s eLearning catalog. The course’s popularity, possibly due to the lack of an existing federal training requirement, indicates that banks are proactively alerting staff and protecting customers, says Callaway.
Courses offer up-to-dateinformation and resources
Scams affect elders’ independence
In March 2012, the ABA created the Elder Financial Abuse course, part of the Frontline Compliance program, in response to numerous bankers’ requests. Leslie Callaway, CRCM, CAMS, compliance project manager in ABA’s Center for Regulatory Compliance, notes the “patchwork of regulations.” She sought to create a comprehensive resource drawn from personal experience and many other sources. The ABA course does not address individual state laws and requirements regarding financial abuse. Instead, it covers the basic issues: a definition of elder financial abuse, how to identify abuse,
In Maine, where the justice department reports that 33,000 of its seniors will fall victim to financial exploitation or abuse, Spectrum Generations launched a Money Management Program four years ago in conjunction with Maine’s Office of Elder Services. The currently-unfunded program has 18 volunteers who ideally work one on one with seniors. Sixteen seniors are currently enrolled in Spectrum’s program with 25 more on a waiting list. The program assists seniors at seven centers across the state with creating a budget, writing checks, balancing a checkbook and dealing with creditors when necessary. Originally funded by AARP, the
INDICATORS OF FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION • A confused older person executes a power of attorney. • Bank activity that is erratic, unusual, or uncharacteristic of the older person, such as unusual withdrawals. • Bank activity that is inconsistent with the older person’s ability (for example, the ATM card has been used when the older person is housebound). • Changes in the older person’s property titles, will, or other documents, particularly if the person is confused and/ or the documents favor new acquaintances. • Forged or suspicious signature on documents. • Suspicious activity on credit card accounts or other financial accounts. • The older person is concerned or confused about “missing funds” in her accounts. • The older person is not aware of, or does not understand, recently completed financial transactions. Source: American Bankers Association
program now survives on grants from area organizations, including banks. Patricia Greenleaf, LPN, Adult Disability Resource Center (ADRC) counselor and senior Medicare patrol coordinator, has worked at Spectrum for 20 years and cites a worsening of Continued on page 24
BANKING NEW ENGLAND
STABILITY, KNOWLEDGE, ADVOCACY
RELATIONSHIPS BY CHRISTINA P. Oâ€™NEILL
ockland Trust Bank is on a growth path, both through acquisitions and organically. The bank, with $5.8 billion in assets, 77 branches, 200,000 customers and more than 1,000 employees, has reaped accolades from sources such as J.D. Power and Associates, Forbes, The Boston Globe and The Warren Group, publisher of Banking New England. Rockland Trust has been named as the top SBA Lender in Massachusetts and the top 504 lender for the second consecutive year by dollar volume. It has also been awarded $66 million in New Market Tax Credit Allocation authority, allocated last year, for utilization until 2017, which provides tax incentives for investment development in low-income
16 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
communities across the country. In its role as a New Market Tax Credit program participant, Rockland Trust reports it has created 3,000 jobs and rehabilitated more than 2.7 million square feet of real estate. Christopher Oddleifson has been Rockland Trustâ€™s president and CEO since 2003. Prior to that, he was president of First Union Home Equity Bank, a national banking subsidiary of First Union Corporation in Charlotte, N.C., which had acquired Signet Bank in Richmond, V.A., where he had been executive vice president, responsible for consumer banking. He is also the immediate past president of the Massachusetts Bankers Association.
Rockland Trust Bank President and CEO Christopher Oddleifson. Photos: (c) Mike Ritter
Banking New England recently met with Oddleifson at Rockland Trust’s administrative offices in Hanover. Situated just off busy Route 53, the building’s grounds are tree-filled and tranquil, belying the intense activity that has fostered the bank’s growth. In February, Rockland Trust completed the conversion of nine branches that formerly constituted Central Bank, the latest in a string of acquisitions dating back to the year 2000. Oddleifson and his crew have a way of making a visitor feel at home – a quality which has served the institution well. Its corporate slogan, “Where Each Relationship Matters,” is taken seriously by staff. Rockland Trust stands by lending standards that Oddleifson maintains have stayed the same through good economies and bad. The bank’s disciplined approach gives it the ability to rebound from setbacks such as an unusual case of customer loan fraud that the bank discovered in secondquarter 2012. through its own internal audit system. Following are edited highlights of a conversation with Christopher Oddleifson. BNE: Now that economy is picking up, you’re going to see businesses getting bolder and going places they wouldn’t have gone before. How do you pick a good investment? CO: The same way we’ve been doing it for the last 15 or 20 years. In 2005, we originated $339 million in commercial loans at a time when it seemed that nothing could go wrong. If a loan did go bad, you could sell the collateral. In 2006, it was still “don’t worry, be happy.” But we saw the credit terms and the pricing of our loans
deteriorate. We elected not to lend into that market. Our commercial lending volume went down to $293 million in 2006. So, here it is, the sun’s shining, and we’re cutting back our lending. We didn’t change our credit standards. They stayed exactly the same. We’d go to investors’ conferences in 2006 and nobody would talk to us. BNE: Why? CO: Because they said there were much more exciting banks down in Florida and Nevada, and California. Those banks were lending like mad, and these places were about to go bust. So the story continues: In 2007, there were dark days; our commercial lending volume was about $318 million. In 2008, it was $388 million, and in 2009, $497 million. Now, why did our lending volume go through the roof when the economy was tanking? Our lending standards didn’t change. However, everybody else in the market panicked and cut back on lending. Rockland Trust kept on going. And we kept on lending into the market and were able to form really, really good relationships at terms and pricing that we thought were very fair. Things changed around us. But our conservative and prudent view of how we originate and manage loans did not change. BNE: And would it be fair to say that the customers with whom you forged those relationships in the bad years keep coming back to you? CO: When we talk about customer relationships, we have three watchwords: Stability, knowledge and advocacy.
We’re able to look at the individual company and how it’s operating in the context of the environment. we’re able to structure loans that are appropriate for each company. There’s no cookie cutter for commercial loans. We have a loan committee meeting every morning where the lending officers to bring their loans in, but there’s a lot of structuring allowance to make them more acceptable to us and workable with the customers. So again, that’s an example of customer focus. So now, the question is, what are we investing in? On the retail side, we have mobile technology. We were the first in the market to allow customers to deposit a check with their phone. We have a new, more-secure online banking platform that we have installed in the last two months. We have a lot of business development specialists who are bringing new customers into the bank, both retail and commercial. And our investment management group is opening a Boston office. We have already opened a Providence office, for wealth management and commercial lending. IMG now has $2.2 billion of assets under advisement. We have a whole shelf of products that can help you but we are not product pushers, we are relationship builders. And that’s the distinction. In the IMG structure, each customer gets a relationship manager and a portfolio manager who can answer investment questions and listen to you about your risk profile. Our portfolio managers are all certified financial analysts. Another large investment is in training and tuition investment. And we invest in our communities. We sent $500,000 into our communities in 2012. Through RockCorp, our employee-based volunteer group, staff gets two paid days a year to go Continued on next page
BANKING NEW ENGLAND
STABILITY, KNOWLEDGE, ADVOCACY
Building Better Relationships Continued from page 17
work at nonprofit. The culture around here is that most people volunteer more on their own time. We set the example. Our fortunes are going to rise and fall with the communities we serve. We’re not so large as to think of the Boston market as one of many markets. This is our home. BNE: To that effect, we want to discuss mergers and acquisitions. Some of the media coverage of the Central Bank acquisition was rather diffident about it, and questioned its value. Your reply was that its market area is one of the wealthiest in your territory. CO: We think it’s a very dense market, and a wealthy market, so it seems like it was a perfect fit for us. BNE: Here’s a devil’s advocate question. It’s a high-income geographic market, but how
18 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
many of Central customers were in the high income bracket, and if they weren’t, how are you reaching out to them? CO: We mounted a large ad campaign in Central Bank’s territory to raise our visibility in Central Bank’s market area. There’s an enormous upside. BNE: On the other side, what are the biggest challenges as the economy improves? Specifically, the customer loan fraud the bank encountered in second quarter 2012. How do you make sure that you keep the level of care and caution that you’ve always had? CO: We remain disciplined in our credit underwriting. In 2005 and 2006, we saw the same phenomenon. The sun was shining every day and yet we turned away deals. We said, we are uncomfortable with this credit,
we are uncomfortable with these terms, we are uncomfortable with this pricing. That discipline is going to be maintained. The consumer loan fraud was a one in a blue moon occurrence. It was an elaborate fabrication of an alternative universe that was very carefully documented. So the external auditors, our external field examiners, did not detect this when we originated the loan. Our internal review processes, though, did eventually catch it – after we originated the loan, unfortunately. We did another field exam and began to see some irregularities. We probed, and the house of cards came down. Folks who have been in the business a lot longer than I have, our external auditors, and loan reviewers, probably combined, … say that they in their careers have seen one or two frauds that were as comprehensive and as thorough as this. So fortunately, this
Things changed around us. But our conservative and prudent view of how we originate and manage loans did not change.
doesn’t happen but very, very rarely. BNE: What keeps you up at night? CO: It’s not unique. What keeps me up at night is the low interest rate environment. Deposit rates can’t get much lower, and
the loan yields are coming down, so we’re getting the revenue squeeze. BNE: Yes, and the savers aren’t happy either. CO: I worry about that. Also, with all these new regulations, staying compliant.
We have a very big compliance staff, internal audit staff, we have external help in this area, but there is a voluminous amount of detail that you have to make sure you understand, and then build it into your processes. Being recommended by The Boston Globe as a Best Place to Work as the result of an employee survey is very important, as it relays a creditable third-party endorsement. The J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction award doesn’t give us overconfidence. We still have to maintain standards. After winning such an award, the only place to go is down, so we have to work hard to stay up there. BNE Christina O’Neill is editor of Banking New England.
BANKING NEW ENGLAND
GUARDING THE GATE
Cross-Channel Banking More in Demand Than Ever How to Get Your Bank on Track in 2013
BY JOE TRAFTON Joe Trafton is senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Avon, Conn.-based COCC, Inc., a 45-year-old firm focused on outsourced technology service and support.
20 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
ave we all heard too much about the nuts and bolts of today’s banking technology, and too little about its effect on customers? I think so. It’s time to expand our view of technology and acknowledge that customers are less interested in any one banking channel – including the almighty mobile – than they are in having all their banking channels work together. In fact, the more channels banks introduce to the market, the more customers want those channels to access and update a common pool of information in real time. In technical terms, we call this “integration.” In terms of the customer, we know it as “convenience.” From the bank’s point of view, it’s called “crosschannel.” Yet access to the same information and functionality across channels is a challenge for most banks today. Why? Because the banks’ technology wasn’t originally designed to support cross-channel banking. For many years, the branch, ATM, debit, call center and Internet channels were powered by separate systems. These systems communicate by passing batch updates – many of them at the end of the day – which creates discrepancies between the balances and other information available via different channels. Is it any wonder that bank customers are confused and that bank call centers are busy beyond belief?
The good news is that technologies are now available to unify the customer’s experience across these channels – from Internet to mobile to debit to Ye Olde Branch. The better news is that these technologies are poised to usher in a new age of banking for our cross-channel customers. We call it game-changing. Here’s how and why:
All information in real time
The time-honored approach of using a separate system for each banking channel and batch updates to connect them is becoming obsolete. In its place, we have real time updates with uniform information across all channels. That means information changed in one banking channel is automatically changed in all the others. Just imagine the improvement in the customer’s experience. The balance on his ATM receipt matches the balance he receives on his mobile phone, Internet screen – really wherever the customer touches the bank. This level of information also opens new service opportunities, such as real time alerts. A bank customer on a shopping trip can receive an alert message telling him whenever his purchase will take his balance negative and/ or generate a fee. A business customer can review her pending ACH items as they enter her ACH warehouse.
A business’s wire request can be reviewed by the bank as soon as the request is made, reducing the opportunity for fraud and moving legitimate wire requests faster. If you were a customer about to choose between a bank with real time updates and a bank that updates in batch, you would almost certainly choose real time. The reduced opportunities for fraud, fees, ill-informed decisions, and frustration will win every time. Real time costs less to support, too, because of the reduced call volume. Beyond the cost and efficiency factors, the change from batch to real time reflects today’s new speed of life. Our mobile customers expect to run their own shows, and they expect their bank to provide the information to help them make and manage their financial decisions through all of its channels. As these customers purchase products and pay bills in real time, they expect their bank to respond and reflect their decisions in real time as well.
The new view
If bank customers conduct 80 percent or more of their business outside of the branch, why should banks maintain their most comprehensive customer experience inside the branch? Answers to that question are creating a revolution in banking experiences across all channels. They are also leveling the playing field between functions available
on the Internet, in the branch, through the call center, and on mobile devices. Internet and mobile banking are rapidly evolving into the customer’s “front end” to all their banking needs. Their personal finance pages – updated in real time – no longer need to pull information from the bank’s core system. Instead, the information is displayed in the order and categories that the customer has specified – automatically. This is information “my way,” and it’s changing the way customers interact with their bank. Not only can the customer can re-arrange her screen displays to show the information that’s most important to her, she will also begin to see screens that were previously restricted to bankers, such as service charge fees. The ultimate vision for banking channels is that each should reflect the rest, enabling customers to perform the same functions on any channel they choose. Business accounts, consumer accounts, even external accounts are becoming visible on the bank’s modular page, displayed in dashboard form the way the customer wants. All the passwords that the customer had to remember – they’re being consolidated into one. That’s where next generation banks are heading. Now we have a tool that can redirect call center activity away from troubleshooting and toward new products and services.
The third component in today’s game-changing technologies is custom functionality. Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach to banking capabilities that has held our industry so tightly, banks now have the ability to select functions for their customers and have them running overnight. Today’s technology enables bankers to customize their customers’ experiences by shopping for plug-in enhancements – called core processing apps – in an online store. Core processing apps are a far cry from the bank’s annual wait for its technology version update. Core processing apps are a game-changer for two reasons: They enable bankers to “decommoditize,” or differentiate their capabilities from the competition. Better yet, apps enable banks to respond to customer demands at market speed.
to the old absolutely makes the difference in delivering true productivity gains. We see it in our business every day. As our increasingly mobile customers expect to run their financial lives through every channel at their
disposal, they will continue to expect their banks to provide information that will help them do that at the speed of now. The question is – are you ready to serve the new crosschannel marketplace? If not, how long are you willing to wait? BNE
The secret to changing the game
Behind every successful technology advance is training and best practices. Integration, customized displays, and rapid implementation of in-demand functionality – all of these improvements represent major changes to bank operations. Having experienced people who know what works and how to encourage employees to try the new instead of clinging
BANKING NEW ENGLAND
TIME TO GOGOOD ONLINE COMMUNITY WORKS
The Evolution of the Virtual Branch BY MICHAEL BOUCHARD Michael Bouchard is web director for Pannos Winzeler Marketing.
22 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
ecently, the analyst group Javelin Research & Strategy predicted that by 2015 over 50 percent of new accounts will be opened online. Pannos Winzeler Marketing has already seen clients coming close to reaching that mark. An increasing preference to apply for loans and open accounts online has begun a rapid evolution in the way financial institution (FI) websites are designed and the capabilities and information offered. Where websites were once little more than brochures limited to providing general information about products and services, now web-savvy customers expect to
do more online. Today financial institutions’ websites are modeled after successful retail sites like Amazon and Best Buy. Applying for a loan or signing up for a new account is usually just a click or two away and the key metrics are no longer just page views and visit duration. Conversions – converting a visit to a customer – is the critical measurement used to evaluate performance. Analytics are employed to study the path of customers through the website to the point where they become customers or sign up for additional products. This combined with online advertising, means financial
institutions are able to measure their marketing efforts with more precision. The evolution to a more retail-based design has many financial institution’s homepages looking to enhance engagement and deliver a powerful brand experience by employing high quality imagery that project local connections and a commitment to personal relationships. Today websites are also focused on improving the user experience with intuitive navigation featuring easy to use buttons to open accounts and access frequently sought information. One of the more radical notions from online retailers that
has been adopted by a few FIs is the ability for customers to post product reviews and rate products. Online retailers have seen that reviews create trust and provide additional information about products and services. FIs who allow customers to post reviews and share them recognize the value of social recommendations and user reviews. Another feature of retail websites that is gaining widespread adoption is the integration of online chat allowing customers looking for assistance or information to quickly reach a customer support representative. Many FIs are also investing in financial literacy providing educational content on their websites. Some develop the content themselves and others use third party providers like Truebridge to help customers better manage their financial lives. Many customers no longer make frequent
trips to the branch, often preferring to visit their bank’s homepage in order to access their online banking. As a result, many homepages now take advantage of these frequent visits to promote social communities. Every visit gives customers a chance to interact and connect with real time updates from Facebook, Twitter YouTube, Blogs and other social sites. Much like a trip to the branch, a visit to the homepage can now provide the chance start a conversation and create a deeper relationship than one may have ever imagined. A new challenge for tomorrow’s websites is customers’ rapid adoption of mobile devices. Not only are customers looking to find new financial relationships online, they increasingly want to be able to open accounts using a tablet or smartphone. Andera, a large provider of online account opening
technology, recently noted that in June 9.55 percent of traffic originated from mobile devices, an increase of 130 percent over the year. We have seen similar growth on our own clients’ websites. As a result most FIs will be considering developing a separate site for mobile devices or developing full mobile optimized websites that seamlessly fit any device or desktop computer. Overall, the biggest change in websites has been their increasing role in customer acquisition, maintaining customer loyalty and delivering customer service. Most financial institutions have been successfully using physical branches to accomplish those goals. In the future your website, and the ability to access it on any device may be as important to your success as your branches and your staff. BNE
BANKING NEW ENGLAND
Home-Based Businesses Continued from page 13
of commercial lending at WFFCU, notes that a low-interest home equity loan may be a more attractive option for some borrowers. He points out, however, that some lending institutions may not allow members or customers to use equity funds for business purposes. According to Vaidyanath, Webster First relies on face-to-face encounters to keep in touch with members. “I go into the community, attend chamber of commerce meetings and networking groups to promote Webster First,” he says. “It’s all about building relationship and trust.” He notes that, in general, the credit union’s marketing department maintains a website, sends email blasts and issues newspaper and billboard
advertisements that target all its customers. Like most other financial institutions, credit unions have integrated electronic services into their portfolio. Vaidyanath points out that home-based businesses can take advantage of mobile banking, online banking, bill pay and remote deposit capture. Boland adds, “From your iPhone, you can take a picture of a check and have it deposited into your account.” Jon E. Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager for the Maine Credit Union League, says that credit unions attempt to create a favorable environment for small businesses, which form the backbone of the Pine Tree State. “Our services focus on technology and allow us
to bring technologically-based services to the members,” he says. So should a home-based business owner conduct business with a bank or a credit union? According to Houlne, either option can work. “The lines have blurred between the two so much that whichever institution provides the best rates, more personal service and most progressive products should win your business,” he says. The growth of home-based businesses presents a budding niche market for financial institutions of all stripes. These cottage industries may never become the next Apple, Disney or Yankee Candle – all of whom started in a garage. Then again … BNE
financial institutions are bringing their fiscal knowhow to the general public. Ingrid Adade, financial literary officer at Leominster Credit Union in Massachusetts, takes her fiscal safety talks on the road regularly to senior centers and other venues that serve elders. Her workshops have covered several important topics, including money management, post-retirement spending and consumer fraud. “Many people are interested in understanding what fraud is. I go to senior centers, which lets people know that someone has their ear. The sessions are not just for folks who go to adult day care, but for the community at large,” she says. Since Adade is herself a senior, the individuals she counsels can identify with her. “I understand them. We are more trusting and came from an era where we expect the best from everyone. We answer the phone without checking caller ID and we don’t use electronic devices as much,” she says. At the elder events, Adade distributes directories with detailed contact information for various agencies that will assist if disaster does strike. Adade monitors national trends and issues alerts before a scam can reach the
East Coast. Once she learns of a con in another part of the country, she knows it’s only a matter of time before it reaches local residents. Adade says she sees more lower-income seniors fall victim to financial swindles. “Those with limited incomes are always looking for that extra $1,000. They still believe in windfalls. They let their guard down and the scammers know this,” she says. “The financially savvy usually have a financial advisor they trust or know more about finances and are more careful.” In the future, Adade hopes to train branches to perform outreach activities in their local communities. “It’s definitely important for frontline people to have this type of education. There is a personal relationship as well as a financial side to banking.” As the population continues to age, swindlers will find new ways to separate seniors from their hard-earned funds. Financial institutions, in conjunction with community agencies and organizations, are ideally positioned to play a leading role in raising awareness and instituting educational programs that can protect elders from financial catastrophe. BNE
Elder Financial Abuse Continued from page 15
financial scams regarding the elderly. “It’s been called the crime of the 21st century because it cheats the elderly of their financial stability, makes them vulnerable and takes away their freedom and independence,” she says. Greenleaf says fraudsters target seniors, who are lonely and willing to talk to anyone, and will provide social security numbers and other vital financial information when asked. “Once that happens, everything is compromised,” Greenleaf says. Preventing such financial disasters for the elderly requires the combined efforts of doctors, case managers, elder law attorneys, financial advisors, community care teams, the general public and financial institutions. “This is a perfect opportunity for banks to get involved,” she says, adding that an exclusive annual sponsorship for Spectrum’s programs is $5,000 per year, though donations of lesser amounts are also welcome.
Financial institutions educate the public In response to the growing number of scams targeting New England seniors,
24 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
Your life insurance partner should do more than just tell you what you already know.
Vantis Life® has been helping banks sell more life insurance since 1942. We know what works and what doesn’t work. And we share this knowledge with you. Vantis Life has an insurance distribution model that creates a better life experience by meeting the specific needs of your institution. Whether that includes using licensed bankers, financial advisors, online or direct response methods, we customize your program and support it with best-in-class training, wholesaling and marketing.
To find out how Vantis Life can offer you a better life experience, call Craig Simms, Senior Vice President, at 860-298-6005 or visit us online at www.vantislife.com/ABLE.
©2012 Vantis Life Insurance Company, Windsor, CT. All rights reserved. Vantis Life and A better life experience are trademarks of Vantis Life Insurance Company.
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COMMUNITYGOOD GOODWORKS WORKS COMMUNITY
Financial institutions large and small have been making a difference in their communities for years. In this space, we acknowledge them, and welcome readers to submit news of their own banks’ efforts and endeavors. For submission information, see page 27.
Featured Banks • Bank of New Hampshire • Berkshire Bank • Claremont Savings Bank • Kennebunk Savings Bank • Merrimack County Savings Bank • Needham Bank • Rockland Trust Bank • Saco & Biddeford Savings • Watertown Savings Bank
Bank of New Hampshire
Bank of New Hampshire recently awarded The PLUS Company, of Nashua, a $5,000 grant to support its financial literacy program. Money management is one of the many programs offered by the Adult Education Department at The PLUS Company to promote the independence of those adults with developmental disabilities served by the agency. More than 98 percent of individuals served by The PLUS Company participate in one or more adult education programs, which provide an opportunity for individuals to learn new skills, participate in an enrichment activity or socialize. Offerings range from life skills to yoga to quilting and computer training. The PLUS Company has had the opportunity to offer woodworking programs, swimming lessons, self-advocacy classes and nutrition thanks to the generosity of individuals and organizations such as Bank of New Hampshire.
Berkshire Bank’s two charitable foundations awarded $1.33 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and Vermont during 2012, a 5 percent increase in charitable donations from 2011. Peter J. Lafayette, executive director of both Berkshire Bank Foundation Inc. and the Berkshire Bank Foundation – Legacy Region cited the bank’s growth as instrumental in its ability to increase its charitable giving. The foundation funds programs in Berkshire County, Mass.; Pioneer Valley, Mass.; Connecticut; New York and Vermont; and funding from Berkshire Bank Foundation – Legacy Region is dedicated to Berkshire County only. More than 320 organizations received funding from the two foundations in 2012.
Claremont Savings Bank
Claremont Savings Bank celebrated the grand opening of the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center on March 2. The event is the culmination of a five-year commitment, as part of CSB’s 2007 centennial anniversary, initiated by the bank’s $3 million pledge toward the total $10 million construction cost of the city of Claremont Parks and Recreation building. The land on which the building stands was also donated by CSB. More than 500 citizens attended the opening. “After the ribbon cutting, laughter emanated from the pools, basketballs started bouncing on the gymnasium floors, people started walking and running on the track, and the exercise equipment was put to good use. The halls were filled with people wanting to see this beautiful facility,” said Sherwood Moody, CSB’s president. 26 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
Pictured, from left: Danny Edgecomb, vice president, Kennebunk Savings Insurance, and Brad Paige, president and CEO, Kennebunk Savings, hand a check to Christopher Grenier, executive director of 3S Artspace, Portsmouth. 1
Kennebunk Savings Bank
Kennebunk Savings Bank has made a $20,000 capital campaign contribution to Portsmouth, NHbased 3S Artspace. 3S is a multidisciplinary arts nonprofit located in the north end of Portsmouth, is beyond the halfway point in its $2.2 million campaign to create a 2,000-square-foot art gallery, a 375-capacity flexible performance space and a farmto-table restaurant called Gather at 319 Vaughan Street. Bradford C. Paige, president and CEO of Kennebunk Savings, commented on the decision to grant funds to 3S, “We have always been passionate about our support for the arts community, whether in Maine or seacoast New Hampshire, [and] we know just how vital the arts are to this area. Kennebunk Savings is dedicated to the communities it serves.” Each year, as part of its Community Promise, the bank contributes 10 percent of its earnings to nonprofits. In 2013, Kennebunk Savings, through its Community Promise, will distribute over $700,000 to local nonprofits.
Merrimack County Savings Bank
Merrimack County Savings Bank recently granted $17,000 to The Concord Area Trust for Community Housing (CATCH) Home Buyer and Financial Success Center. The sponsorship will further CATCH’s mission to provide families with stable, affordable housing. CATCH offers a full spectrum of housing services in Merrimack County, NH. Its mission is to strengthen communities with opportunities for permanently affordable, quality housing for individuals and families who are otherwise not being served.
Needham Bank supported the Westwood Elementary Schools Coalition Spring Social, held March 16 at Moseley’s on the Charles in Dedham, Mass. The social raises funds for all five Westwood Elementary Schools and their parent teacher
Paul C. Rizzi Jr., president and CEO, Merrimack County Savings Bank (left), presents grant to Rosemary M. Heard, president, CATCH Neighborhood Housing.
Pictured, from left to right, are Bill Matteson, Rockland Trust, Lt. Rebecca Kirk, Salvation Army, and Marie Hynes, Braintree Electric Light Company.
organizations. “Needham Bank is pleased to support the Westwood Elementary Schools Coalition Spring Social,” said Mark Whalen, president and chief operating officer of Needham Bank. The Westwood Elementary Schools Coalition (WESC) allows Westwood parents and businesses to work together to raise funds for all five elementary schools and the PTOs.
Rockland Trust Bank
Rockland Trust has donated $12,187 to the Salvation Army’s Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund. The program is a cooperative effort between Massachusetts energy companies and the Salvation Army of Massachusetts that provides energy assistance to those in temporary crisis. Rockland Trust made the donation as a result of the bank’s fourth annual Warm for the Winter drive, collecting contributions in its nearly 80 branches from November 13 through December 31, 2012. Over the four years it has participated in the program, Rockland Trust has gathered nearly $40,000 in donations to the Good Neighbor Energy Fund. “We are thankful for Rockland Trust’s support for the fourth consecutive year,” said Major David Kelly with The Salvation Army. “With the support of our partners at Rockland Trust, we’re glad to be able to assist so many in Massachusetts who continue to struggle economically.” The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund assists those throughout the state who do not meet federal and/or state assistance guidelines, yet experience a temporary need for assistance due to unforeseen circumstances. Since its inception in 1985, the program has assisted more than 80,000 families and raised more than $18 million. Rockland Trust donated $12,000 in 2012 as well.
Saco & Biddeford Saving
Saco & Biddeford Savings gave close to $350,000 to area non-profits and organizations in 2012. With giving for Maine recently reported at record lows, Saco & Biddeford Savings continues to answer the call. “Providing much needed funding for the arts, education, our youth, the elderly, our environment, and most importantly, serving the most vulnerable populations with food and fuel assistance, it is our mission as a mutual bank to help sustain and advance our communities,” said Kevin Savage, president of Maine’s oldest bank. In the last 10 years, the bank has donated over approximately $3.5 million to programs in Maine. Representative organizations include: Maine Cancer Foundation, Southern Maine Agency on Aging, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Biddeford Free Clinic, the United Way, Rotary, and hundreds of other local organizations.
Pictured, from left: Ron Dean, CEO, Watertown Savings Bank; Karen Condor, assistant, Club 50; Coordinator Joan Galgay, assistant vice president, Watertown Savings Bank, and coordinator, Club 50; and Erica Fitch, director of operations, Waltham Boys and Girls Club. 4
Watertown Savings Bank
Watertown Savings Bank donated $5,000 to the Waltham Boys and Girls Club late last year. The bank presented the donation at WSB’s annual Club 50 holiday party, on behalf of the more than 3,500 Club 50 members. The Waltham Boys Club opened in 1938. It provides positive programs for youth, offering daily programs in fitness and recreation, health and life skills, character and leadership development, educational and career development, and the arts. It serves more than 1,000 youths, ages 6 to 18, from throughout the Waltham area. Club 50 is a special program for bank customers, age 50 and older, who meet a qualifying balance. BNE
SEND US YOUR GOOD NEWS! Does your bank have news of its community support activities? Whether it’s a cash donation, a financial literacy initiative, a nonprofit organization volunteer day or another creative outreach, we’d like to recognize it in Banking New England. Please send press releases and accompanying photos to: Christina P. O’Neill, custom publications editor, via email at email@example.com. BANKING NEW ENGLAND
Career achievers in banks across New England are constantly on the move, with their professional journeys reflecting a combination of mobility and longstanding service. We acknowledge them, and welcome readers to submit news of their own staff. For submission information, see page 29.
Featured Banks • Commerce Bank • Kennebunk Savings • Merrimack County Savings Bank • The Nashua Bank • North Middlesex Savings Bank • Peoples United Bank • Village Bank • Watertown Savings Bank • Westfield Bank
Appointments and Elections
Kennebunk Savings Kennebunk Savings has promoted James Thompson to vice president and New Hampshire market manager for commercial lending. Thompson joined Kennebunk Savings in 2010 with an extensive knowledge of the New Hampshire market and a high level of expertise in commercial lending. Prior to joining Kennebunk Savings, Thompson had more than 25 years of experience working in various roles as a commercial banker for banks in Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Thompson earned his bachelor’s degree from Rider. Kennebunk Savings has also promoted Christopher Kehl, corporate lender in York, Maine, to vice president and Maine market manager for commercial lending. In his new role he will be responsible for growing the bank’s commercial lending portfolio in the bank’s market areas in Maine. Kehl has more than 25 years of banking experience, and previously worked in a management
New Arrivals Merrimack County Savings Bank
Gerard Tautkus has joined Merrimack County Savings Bank as financial advisor, Infinex Investments, Inc. He has more than 30 years’ experience in financial planning and investment Gerard Tautkus advice. He previously worked at Members First Credit Union in Manchester for nine years. He also managed and operated Tautkus Insurance and Financial Services, Inc. for 13 years prior to Members First. He earned his bachelor’s degree from 28 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
position at a New Hampshire financial institution. He joined Kennebunk Savings in 1999 as the manager of Kennebunk Savings’ York office and in 2005 was appointed commercial lending officer for southern York County. A John Burcke graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Kehl was named “Individual Lender of the Year” in 2010 and 2011 by the Finance Authority of Maine for his work in getting businesses access to funding through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Kennebunk Savings is pleased to announce that John Burcke, small business lending team leader, has been promoted to vice president and retail market manager. In his new role, Burcke will oversee the bank’s southern market, including branches located in Berwick, Kittery and Eliot, Maine, and Dover and Portsmouth New Hampshire. In addition, Burcke will manage the Hampton, New Hampshire office, opening this spring. Burcke joined Kennebunk Savings in February 2011 as the Portsmouth branch manager. He has more than 16 years of experience in the banking industry, having worked previously in retail management roles at a New Hampshire area bank. Burcke attended Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
the University of Maine, and is a chartered retirement planning counselor, courtesy of the College of Financial Planning. He is an active member of the Manchester Rotary Club.
The Nashua Bank
The Nashua Bank, a division of Lake Sunapee Bank, has hired Karin Duchesne as a mortgage loan originator. She will originate loans for Nashua and surrounding markets. Duchesne has worked in Karin Duchesne the greater Nashua area the past seven years for a mortgage lending company, and for the six years prior, was a
residential loan officer for a national bank. She has served on the area’s Habitat for Humanity, the Nashua Chamber of Commerce, the Nashua Symphony Association, local PTOs, and fundraising committees for youth programs, as well as helping with many more organizations. In 2011, Karin received her certified mortgage professional designation from the New Hampshire Mortgage Bankers and Brokers Association.
Exeter and New Hampshire Public Radio. Whitney, also of Manchester, retired from Bank of America in 2007, after 30 years in the financial services industry. He is principal at The Daymark Group LLC, a business consulting firm, and sits on the board of directors of several organizations, including Centrix Bank, the Norwin and Elizabeth Bean Foundation, and several private companies.
Watertown Savings Bank has promoted Nicole J. Biggins to serve as treasurer. She has served as the bank’s controller and vice president of finance. Biggins is responsible for overseeing the bank’s investment function, in addition to the daily accounting function. Hired as the bank’s accounting manager in 2005, Biggins had previously Nicole J. Biggins worked as a teller for the bank while attending college. In 2007, she was promoted to assistant vice president. That same year she also became a certified public accountant. In 2011, she was promoted to vice president and controller. Biggins is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, where she earned two bachelor’s degrees. Upon graduation, she was hired as an auditor for PWC, where she had interned.
Mark G. Jurilla has joined The Village Bank in Newton as vice president of retail banking. In this newly created position, he will direct all retail banking functions and resources, products and programs. Jurilla has more than 15 years of senior retail sales management experience. He was previously with First Commons Bank N.A., where he most recently served as senior vice president and chief retail officer. Previously, Jurilla served seven years with RBS Citizens N.A. as vice president and branch sales manager. Earlier in his career, he was senior business development manager/district sales manager with the Verizon Communications Group. Jurilla has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and completed three years of post-graduate studies at Harvard University.
Promotions North Middlesex Savings Bank
North Middlesex Savings Bank has named Michael A. Noble as COO. In this position, he will oversee the finance, operations, information technology and retail banking departments. Noble also retains the positions of executive vice president and treasurer, for which he was originally hired at the independent community bank in September of last year. Prior to joining NMSB, Noble amassed more than 30 years of banking experience. Most recently he served as senior vice president of operations and IT at The Nashua Bank of Nashua, NH. He was also COO at North Country Savings Bank for 10 years, following nearly 20 years at Canton Federal Savings & Loan Association, where he served first as accounting clerk and rose to senior vice president and treasurer. Noble earned an associate’s degree from SUNY College of Technology, and completed graduate level programs at the National Graduate School of Banking and Institute of Financial Education School for Executive Development.
People’s United Bank
Dianne Mercier, People’s United Bank President for New Hampshire, and Michael Whitney, former New Hampshire President of Bank of America, were recently elected to the board of directors of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies. The center is a nonprofit public policy research organization based in Concord. Mercier, of Manchester, has served as New Hampshire president for People’s United Bank since 2009, and has worked in banking in the state since 1985. She is active in many state business groups and nonprofits, including the boards of The New England Council, Elliot Health System, Riverwoods at
Watertown Savings Bank
Westfield Bank has promoted Jeremy Casey to the position of assistant vice president of commercial services. Casey has worked at Westfield Bank for five years, serving as commercial services officer. In this new role, he will work closely with mid-size commercial, municipal and non-profit organizations and address their Jeremy Casey depository and cash management needs. He holds an MBA from American International College, and is involved in many community organizations. BNE
In the January-February issue of Banking New England, a photo of William M. Mahoney inadvertently accompanied an incorrect story. Mahoney is an executive vice president at Whitinsville, Mass.-based Unibank. We regret the error.
SEND US YOUR PERSONNEL NEWS Does your financial institution have individuals who deserve recognition as they celebrate a career milestone? If you’d like to see them recognized in Banking New England, please send press releases and accompanying photos to: Christina P. O’Neill, custom publications editor, via email at coneill@ thewarrengroup.com. NOTE: Photos should be in color, jpeg format, file size no smaller than 400 KB.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Mutual Bank to Open 10th Branch
At the groundbreaking, shown, left to right, are Bill Hurley, construction supervisor, Coastal Construction; Glen White, Chief Executive Officer, Mutual Bank; Kurt Raber, Architect, Brown Lindquist Fenuccio and Raber Architects; and Peter Charlonne, Project Manager, Coastal Construction. Mutual Bank will soon have a 10th location, and its second in its hometown of Whitman in Southeastern Massachusetts. Glen White, CEO of Mutual Bank, and members of the construction and design team dug in their shovels late last year in the presence of bank associates and friends to kick off the construction of their new, 5,600-square-foot, two-story branch, scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2013.
The first floor will be a full-service banking center, offering a full range of services for personal and business banking, and local lending specialists making local loans to individuals and businesses. The location will employ 15 or more full- and parttime employees, including lending offices on the second floor above the branch. The bank opened its first location in 1877.
Perlow Tapped as NH Banking Commissioner
Glenn Perlow has been confirmed to serve as the state’s new banking commissioner by the state’s five-member executive council. A lawyer and former senior assistant attorney general, Perlow had been the New Hampshire Banking Department’s deputy commissioner. He replaces former Merrimack County Savings Bank President Ron Wilbur, who took the commissioner’s post in May 2011. Perlow’s term runs until Jan. 1, 2019. He received his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1997. The NH Banking Department is responsible for the general supervision of all state chartered financial institutions.
“We are very excited about entering New England and, through our unique private banking model, serving small and medium-size businesses, professionals and their employees in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, through this acquisition of Flagstar Bank offices in Boston and Providence,” said Jay Sidhu, Customers’ CEO. “The best part of this transaction is that we have recruited a team of very experienced New England bankers that are led by veteran Fleet and Sovereign banker Steve Issa … We plan to be very aggressive and competitive in serving the privately held businesses in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.”
Customers Bank to Acquire NE Business Loans
SIS Bank Adds Portsmouth Branch
Customers Bank, a Pennsylvania-based financial institution with $4 billion in assets, will make its entry into the New England by acquiring all local commercial banking business from Michigan’s Flagstar Bank. Customers is acquiring outstanding New England business loans totaling approximately $151 million and commitments of about $190 million. The transaction is expected to close within the first quarter of 2013. The purchase price is 98.7 percent of loans outstanding. No classified or problem loans are included in the purchase, according to a company statement.
30 BANKING NEW ENGLAND
SIS Bank recently opened a new location in Portsmouth, NH, adding to its eight branches in Maine. The mutual savings bank opened at 501 Islington St. this month. “We’re incredibly excited to be a part of the Portsmouth community,” said Mark Mickeriz, SIS’s president and CEO. “Building relationships in the communities we serve and providing great customer service is the best part of doing business. That’s what we’ve being doing since 1933 in Maine, and we intend to do the same in New Hampshire.” SIS Bank is headquartered in Sanford, Maine. BNE
GROWING COMMUNITIES. A developer transforming a mill. A partnership transforming a city. Salvatore Lupoli needed $32 million to transform 210,000 sq. ft. of Lawrenceâ€™s Riverwalk Mill complex and the city itself. To make the project work, MassDevelopment partnered with Eastern Bank to structure a $28.37 million package with $6.5 million in tax credits and a $3 million loan. A vacant mill complex filled. 2,400 new jobs created. A city energized. MassDevelopment. Way to grow.