Sandra J. Pattie is the president and CEO of OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC and BankNewport. With more than 35 years in the banking industry, Pattie began her career at BankNewport in 1984 as a loan officer in the consumer lending department. Most recently, she served as executive vice president and chief operating officer, a position that she has held since May 2002.
PBN: BankNewport is always in the news for its charitable work. What role does that play in your daily operations?
PATTIE: Charitable contributions play an important role in the Bank’s operations. As a community bank, it’s our philosophy and commitment to our customers, employees and the communities where we work and live. Through these challenging times, basic human needs has been BankNewport’s primary funding focus, while balancing contributions for impactful community development, cultural and educational initiatives, especially financial education for all ages. Also rooted deep in our heritage is community service. Our employees actively share their spirit of volunteer service which the Bank may offer in addition to, or in lieu of, monetary contributions.
PBN: You are currently consolidating your two main offices under one roof. What will be the fate of the two office buildings?
PATTIE: Combining BankNewport’s headquarters and operations functions into a central location in the Aquidneck Corporate Park is an exciting and positive move for the Bank and for our employees. We own the building at Two Mile Corner (528 West Main Road) in Middletown and plans for that facility have not yet been finalized. As for our 12 Turner Road office (also in Middletown), we currently lease that facility from National Grid and will vacate the property after the move at the end of our lease.
PBN: What technological banking improvements is the bank investigating?
PATTIE: BankNewport customers now enjoy online account opening, and we’ll be introducing mobile banking shortly. We are currently enhancing the electronic services offered to our business customers, specifically ACH origination, bill presentment and payment, and other cash management services. In addition, we are exploring the deployment of new technologies in our branches to improve the customer experience and convenience of self-service banking.
PBN: What local business have you assisted over the last year or two by providing loans? PATTIE: BankNewport is continually ranked among PATTIE: Rhode Island’s top small business lenders. We, along with nearly all community banks in this region, are ready and willing to lend. We take pride in every one of the projects we help to finance, which are all so diverse. Helping small businesses to grow, like Wide World of Indoor Sports in the Quonset Business Park, which has already been made public, is our responsibility as a community bank. Another example is a $3 million SBA loan to a local manufacturer, which enabled local management to buy the company and maintain its operations and jobs in Rhode Island. Investing in small businesses creates jobs, builds strong communities and directly benefits the economic foundation of our State.
PBN: You recently opened your 13th branch in East Greenwich. Any growth plans for the future?
PATTIE: We continually seek out new markets for expansion opportunities. BankNewport built and opened three new branches within the past five years, with our most recent opening in East Greenwich in late fall 2011. These were significant investments on behalf of the bank, further expanding our presence in Rhode Island. As to any long term plans, we always review opportunities that may become available.