Ken Martin is executive vice president and director of commercial enterprise banking at RBS Citizens. He has more than 25 years of experience as a banking professional.
He serves on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, is past chairman of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, served on Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Robert’s Small Business Advisory Council and the Woonsocket Industrial Development Corp. Martin was awarded the Rhode Island Small Business Administration Financial Advocate Award in 1997.
Martin graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a double major in economics and political science.
PBN: RBS Citizens announced the launch of its new HealthCare Practice Banking Group in March. Do you have any clients yet in that group? The territory is Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Are you seeing any one of the states showing more interest than the others? Based on early responses, why do you think that is the case?
MARTIN: We are very encouraged with the launch of our HealthCare Practice Banking Group. We’ve welcomed a number of new clients to the bank and also have a very solid pipeline of prospects in place within our first few months. We’ve had a very strong response in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where the RBS Citizens name is so well known. We have a great retail network in both states and a tradition of investing in the communities we serve. We also had a presence at the Yankee Dental Conference in Boston earlier this year, which drew more than 25,000 attendees from throughout New England and provided us with a great opportunity to network and connect with medical professionals from across the region.
PBN: You noted in the announcement that RBS Citizens has a long track record of helping healthcare companies succeed and grow. How will the new HealthCare Practice
Banking Group serve medical and dental offices differently? What is the bank’s reason for launching this group specifically at this time? Does the national health care reform that goes into effect in January 2014 have any impact on the decision to launch at this time.
MARTIN: There are three advantages we’ve identified with our new group. First, we’ve assembled a team with significant experience in managing and growing specialty banking groups. Second, we’ve developed underwriting guidelines for healthcare practices that will allow us to meet the very specific needs of medical professionals. And third, this new group springs from the RBS Citizens and Citizens Bank tradition of exceptional customer service, which has served us very well over the years. Given the size and importance of the healthcare sector in our economy, nationally and regionally, we believe this was the right time to launch this new group. The initial reaction and our success, so far, has certainly validated our approach.
PBN: Will the expert team you’ve developed be located in Rhode Island, since RBS Citizens is headquartered in Providence? Will members of this group be in a central location or be based around the region?
MARTIN: We have a four-member team, with two colleagues based in Rhode Island and one each in Connecticut and Massachusetts. But all four members of the team are calling on customers in all three states, drawing from their experiences with and relationships in the medical and dental fields across the region. They are also reaching out to referral sources in each of the states such as CPA firms, law practices and business and civic leaders.
PBN: What kinds of services will the bank offer to medical professionals? Are these additions to what was offered previously?
MARTIN: We’re offering our customers the full complement of products and services offered by RBS Citizens, including lines of credit and term loans for equipment financing, practice acquisitions, renovations and expansions, commercial mortgage financing, payment processing, as well as merchant card services. We’ve also provided practices with deposit services and commercial credit cards. In the short amount of time that our HealthCare Practice Group has been up and running, we’ve identified additional opportunities with our new customers in their personal lives as well. We’ve extended and refinanced a number of residential mortgages and provided personal banking services in direct response to the demand identified by this new group.
PBN: Is this a new model, or an addition, to financial services that’s becoming a trend? Do have much competition in this healthcare banking specialty? Do you have any plans yet to expand this team?
MARTIN: While this is a well-defined segment of the economy and there are other banks providing this service, we are confident in our ability to compete in this sector and encouraged by our early results, which have exceeded our expectations. As with any business group or practice, we will continue to evaluate our results and strategy on a regular basis before making any plans to expand our HealthCare Practice Banking Group within New England or elsewhere.