I joined Rockland Trust in 1984. It was my first professional position out of college, and because I was new to the workforce, I entered a training program where I received the opportunity to learn about each area within the bank.
It was an efficient way to get a feel for our culture, how we treated our customers, and also ensure that I was well versed in bank operations and our offerings.
A lot has changed since then,especially in terms of our digital functionality and customer offerings. What hasn’t changed, however, is the importance we place on relationships.
We now have a lending team of more than 70 individuals, including about 20 lenders who joined us from East Boston Savings Bank in mid-November. That’s quite an increase year-over-year and I never imagined our lending team would be this extensive.
When navigating growth and change like this, I’m continually reminded that in order to do it successfully,i t’s important to focus on the three key points that were impressed upon me in my earliest years at Rockland Trust.
- Culture is important. A company culture that ensures everyone knows they belong, have a place, and are valued is becoming increasingly rare, but it is still one of the most valuable assets an organization can offer. When we support and invest in each other, we strengthen the entire team, and this puts us in the best position to support our customers. The past few years were certainly unexpected for everyone, but celebrating successes, coaching through challenges, and checking on colleagues is how we made it through–as a team.
- Focus on relationships. Building strong relationships will always be our main objective.We believe in supporting one another and going the extra mile to ensure our customers are positioned for success. For example, a majority of the bank employees worked around the clock to provide over $1 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses in our community throughout 2020 and 2021. During that time, tensions were high, but we were committed to ensuring that every business owner that wanted a loan received one. This is true of everything we do, and that’s why we have been recognized as one of the World’s Best Banks by Forbes for the second time in a row.
- Add value. Responsiveness is just one component of ensuring customer and colleague success. The other is asking the right questions and then providing the right guidance. This is usually the culmination of cross-departmental teamwork (from when to conduct a 1031 exchange, to how to set up a family trust, and everything in between). It is true that we have grown significantly since I joined the bank, but it’s also true that our expertise has grown with it. When we connect with our customers it’s not just to address a particular loan need, or next leasing opportunity, it is to ensure that all of our customers’ concerns are met and that we are providing valuable guidance and expertise for their long-term success.
The past year has been a challenging one for all organizations. For us at Rockland Trust, it started with supporting our customers through the third round of the Paycheck Protection Program, followed by the announcement of our now completed merger with East Boston Savings Bank, and then all the planning that came with it. One thing I know for sure is that we will continue to keep culture, customers and knowledge at the forefront of our activities in the years ahead. This strategy has served us well for more than 110 years and I believe it will continue to do soin the years to come.
Gerry Nadeau is President and Chief Commercial Banking Officer at Rockland Trust. For more about Rockland Trust, visit https://www.rocklandtrust.com/