Edward O. “Ned” Handy III has risen from the trenches of the region’s ever-shifting banking landscape to the executive suites of two locally prominent banks.
Handy is president and chief operating officer for Washington Trust, a position he took in November 2013 after his former role as Citizens Bank president for Rhode Island and Connecticut.
A Rhode Island native, Handy graduated from Brown University in 1984 with a degree in urban studies and worked for a couple of years as a carpenter and at a construction company, planning to learn the real estate business from the ground up. He entered the training program at Fleet Bank in 1986 with the goal of getting into real estate lending, which turned out to be an important part of his career – one of the positions he held was running the real estate lending division in Rhode Island for Citizens Bank.
In that Fleet Bank training program, Handy met Joseph Marc-Aurele, now chairman and CEO of Washington Trust.
In his position at Washington Trust, Handy oversees commercial lending, residential mortgages, retail branches, marketing and technology.
PBN: What’s been the most significant change in your perspective since you took the position of president and chief operating officer for Washington Trust?
HANDY: Many issues we face at Washington Trust are the same ones faced by other banks. It’s a slow-growth economy. We’ve got to find opportunities by digging deep and by fighting it out on the street corner. There’s a lot of competition. One of the perspectives interesting to me is working in a smaller bank. There are 570 employees at Washington Trust versus 19,000-plus at my last employer, so just the simplicity of decision-making, the ease of communication, the ease of strategic thinking in a smaller environment is refreshing to me.