A note from William R. "Bill" Eccles, Jr.
BankFive President and CEO.
Each February our employees gather to have a little fun and recognize the previous year’s success at our Employee Appreciation Event. As I looked around the room this year, the excitement was at an all-time high. Fittingly so, as the bank had a record breaking year. Not only did BankFive surpass $1 billion in assets, the Commercial, Retail, Investments, Residential and Consumer Lending departments, in concert with a framework of support teams, achieved their goals. Collectively, these hardworking bankers deserved to celebrate a job well done.
Of course, success isn’t possible without a lot of extraordinary teamwork. As Residential Consumer Lending hit historic numbers (1,000+ loans worth more than $330 million), the team put in long hours to serve its customers. Using customer feedback and working interdepartmentally, Retail, the Customer Contact Center, Retail Operations and Loan Servicing designed new ways to simplify and streamline customer support. Our Commercial and Credit teams not only closed $129 million in new loans, but credit quality remained pristine.
These bankers are not only committed to getting the bank job done, but as stewards of the BankFive mission, they also show up to get the job done in the community. For the last few years, we’ve hosted United Way of Greater New Bedford’s Mobile Market which provides fresh produce to working class families. When we doubled our commitment with a second location, the team continued to step up and fill volunteer spots. In all, our employees volunteered 2,340 hours for 119 community groups. Through our foundation and charitable efforts, BankFive allocated $650,000 to 170 non-profit organizations.
Reflecting on 2019, I’m struck by the wave of consolidation in New England’s community bank landscape. The increasing costs of technology, regulation, and pressure from interest rates have made independence difficult for many financial institutions. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the challenges we all face. Despite industry changes, I’m most proud of our constant – BankFive’s unwavering commitment to our community, our employees, and our customers. Every decision we make is anchored on the impact it will have on those stakeholders.
There were a lot of new faces at the Employee Appreciation Event, but as they participated in the festivities I felt assured that these new additions are equally committed to the spirit of this great organization. After 50 years at BankFive, I’m proud that we are not only a strong organization poised to remain mutual, but we are every bit as committed to our founding principles and the constituencies we were created to serve as we were 164 years ago.
William R. "Bill" Eccles, Jr. President and CEO