ECONOMIC ENGINE: Bank of America President William Hatfield says that the financial institution generated $65 million in small-business loans in the region last year.
COURTESY BANK OF AMERICA
By Mark S. Murphy PBN Editor
William F. Hatfield is president of Bank of America in the Rhode Island market, a position that allows him to see the details of the state’s economy as well as to cast an eye toward the nation. As the bank emerges from the “hard work” of cleaning up after the nation’s financial meltdown, Hatfield sees “great opportunity” for his company and the region.
PBN: Recently, Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan said he’d like to do his job for the rest of his life. Would you want to do your job for the rest of your life?
HATFIELD: I love what I’m doing here at Bank of America and particularly in Rhode Island. I am now 32 years into this company. … It’s been a great run, and I’m real excited about what’s before us. Whether it’s the rest of my life or whatever, I’m excited by what I see.
PBN: Tell me about that. What do you see before you?
HATFIELD: A lot of great opportunity. … Our company has gone through a transitional period coming out of the financial crisis and … we have evolved. … We have worked hard to simplify the company, focus the company. … And with the platform that we have, it’s a real opportunity for us to make sure each and every customer knows what we can do to help them.
PBN: So the last five years have been cleaning up from the financial crisis?
HATFIELD: [There has been] a lot of hard work to address the various challenges that we were faced with, but we’ve made huge progress. Our balance sheet is incredibly strong. We have among the highest capital ratios of any company in the business. … We have a very significant appetite to grow our loan business through all segments of our business, be it retail, at the consumer level, with mortgages, small business, business banking, middle-market companies, large corporate, throughout. … We have been investing in our talent to make sure we’ve got strong people on the field, telling the story, engaging, and that’s exciting.
PBN: Do you feel like the regional and community banks took away some of your business while you were doing that hard work to clean up?
HATFIELD: Certainly, the whole market was kind of impacted by the financial turn, and we worked very hard with our customers to make sure they were taken care of. … [But] if you look at our [market] share statistics, we absolutely maintained share throughout the downturn. … Actually, we grew in this market.
PBN: But SBA loans dropped significantly in the last few years, and the bank recognized that some resources had to be put back into that market.