Christopher Oddleifson is president and CEO of Rockland Trust Co. and its parent, Independent Bank Corp. The bank last month announced it would open a new Rockland Trust office in Providence. Oddleifson recently spoke to Providence Business News about the bank’s decision to open the office, among other things.
PBN: What are some of the reasons you decided to open up a new Rockland Trust office in Providence?
ODDLEIFSON: We’ve been operating in Rhode Island for many years and based on our knowledge of the market, the competitive set, and how well we’ve already been received, we felt we should make a larger commitment to conducting business in Rhode Island. We feel we can significantly grow our already established portfolio in the market – which currently represents more than $220 million in recent financing support for local companies and more than $400 million in assets under management – by opening up an office there. We also believe the state of Rhode Island is primed for recovery and growth, and we look forward to partnering with area businesses and nonprofits to spur economic-development opportunities and job creation. We anticipate doubling our commercial lending in Rhode Island over the next two years.
PBN: Is there something about Rockland Trust you’re particularly passionate about that most people don’t know about?
ODDLEIFSON: A hallmark of our company that perhaps not too many people know about is our commitment to community service. All employees receive two paid days off annually to volunteer in the community, and we have an employee-based volunteer group, RockCorp (Rockland Trust Community Outreach Program). RockCorp supports nonprofit programs and organizations in our communities by providing volunteer assistance for special projects and events.
PBN: We’ve been told that Rockland Trust has very little turnover throughout the entire Rockland Trust organization and in fact, is often celebrated as one of the best companies to work for in Massachusetts. Why do you think that is?
ODDLEIFSON: At Rockland Trust, we believe that engaged employees lead to greater customer satisfaction. People enjoy working here because they feel respected and valued as employees. Our teams work together across all business lines to offer a holistic banking experience, a practice that encourages employees to feel a personal stake in the customers and the company. Rockland Trust empowers its employees to provide customers with an outstanding experience. Our highly personalized approach is rare in this industry and what sets us apart from our competitors.
PBN: Why do you think your customers are loyal?
ODDLEIFSON: Rockland Trust operates under a customer-centric approach that acts as the basis for everything we do. We don’t take our customers for granted, and we work hard to respond to each individual’s specific needs.
I’m very passionate about this approach, because it allows us to offer the capabilities, resources and expertise of a large financial institution, combined with the personalized and flexible service of a community bank. Now more than ever, customers want a bank they can trust and customer service they can depend on. We advocate on behalf of our customers, treat them fairly and reward them for doing business with us.
PBN: Your background includes a great deal of community service. Is that more important to you as a bank president or as a member of the community? What do you get out of it?
ODDLEIFSON: Community service is extremely important to me personally and has been for many years, even prior to my arrival at Rockland Trust. As a person, I feel very lucky to be where I am, and it’s important to my family and me that we give back to the communities that have welcomed us so warmly over the years.