HYANNIS – The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod was established 100 years ago with only $ 1,611 and was intended to help people buy homes.
The new bank at the time was so small it operated from the front porch of the First National Bank in Yarmouth Port.
When it opened, the bank focused on senior mortgages, according to Lisa Oliver, CEO and fifth president of the bank. First National was growing so rapidly that the bank‘s agents realized they needed a new banking partner to help provide the residential loans.
It was just seven years after the first Cape Cod Canal was built, and seven years before the federal government and the US Army Corps of Engineers bought the canal, straightened it out, and built bridges.
And that was before the great tourism industry boom of the 1950s, but the Coop, as it is called, grew with and because of this boom.
“We turned to business loans when Cape Town started to develop and expand, although we have always had handshake loans,” said Oliver.
Today, the bank has nine branches on Cape Cod and more than 21,000 customers. Total assets are $ 1.2 billion. The bank provides consumer deposits, business deposits, residential loans, and consumer loans.
Since the Cape Cod market is seasonal for many businesses, commercial loans are different from other markets. La Coop performs seasonal loan amortization so that business owners can only pay interest during the winter months and double principal payments during the busy summer season.
Seasonal depreciation is unusual in the banking industry, Oliver said. But small banks like the Coop have filled the void in commercial and real estate lending, offering loans for restaurants, lodging, lodging and entertainment venues, generally considered to be riskier loans.
“Smaller banks in the communities recognize the need,” Oliver said. “It’s a niche and an absolute necessity for small banks. ”
“As a Cape Town mutual bank, we have grown with the market,” said Oliver. “We have adapted as the market has adapted. Our focus has been and will remain 100% on the needs of our customers in Cape Town. ”
According to the bank’s fourth quarter report released on March 31, 2021, several indicators were notable. The bank offered $ 300 million in residential mortgages throughout the year.
Deposits have grown from $ 822 million in 2020 to $ 1 billion in 2021. Bauer Financial, a company that provides depositor-focused bank ratings in the United States, gave the Coop a five-star rating.
Net interest income amounted to $ 7,042,000 compared to $ 6,352,000 for the same quarter last year. they reported $ 106 million in capital for the fourth quarter.
Newly renovated building in Hyannis
Based in a newly renovated 35,000 square foot building on Benjamin Franklin Way in Hyannis, the Coop has nine branches across Cape Town and employs 170 people.
July 19, Oliver, former President and CEO Joel Crowell, and Board member Sheila Vanderhoef presided over a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the anniversary and completion of the head office renovation.
The renovation is part of the Coop’s adaptation to the changing business climate in Cape Town.
Light enters the new first and second floor workspaces from huge windows. Individual workstations with adjustable desks, a full kitchen, a gym with showers and lockers, and a cafe-style workspace have been incorporated into the design.
There are modules for marketing team discussions. Small rooms with windows are available for employees who need to talk undisturbed. A call center has a balance between a private workspace and an open floor plan. The walls can be dismantled and moved.
Oliver says there is a “residential” feel to the building, with wood and metal dynamics, an industrial-looking ceiling and an emphasis on technology. The bank spent $ 750,000 on technology upgrades during the renovation.Flexible workspaces allow employees to work anywhere in the building, from an outdoor patio covered with a pergola to a comfortable chair by a fireplace or a host of other possibilities.
A conference room with an interactive screen, smaller conference rooms and “huddle rooms” are distributed throughout the building.
The future of the Coop could go over the bridges
Over the next six to eight months, the main boardroom will host a meeting with the board of directors to develop a three to five year strategic plan for the bank.
Discussions at these meetings will focus on whether and how the Coop should expand, and whether expansion on the canal will help to relieve geographic focus of the bank on Cape Cod.
“This (extending beyond Cape Cod) helps us find non-real estate borrowers to do more business with,” Oliver said. “Boards of directors still have to grapple with these issues.”
Recently, the Coop was recognized for the diversity of its board of directors by Bank Director, an information resource for bank boards.
“I don’t know where we rank among the 5,000 banks in the country, but we were number five in terms of gender diversity,” said Oliver.
The senior team is made up of 50/50 men and women.
Oliver’s goal is to consider diversity as an important metric when considering future board members. The board has an LGBTQ member, but no people of color, which the bank wants to change.
The current board members have backgrounds in technology, real estate, law, municipal and state governance and representative Cape Towns, said Oliver.
Finding solutions for hybrid work models, creating channels for customers to access the bank and its services, and ensuring that employees are an engaged workforce, are the main concerns.
“An engaged workforce will be able to engage customers to the next level,” Oliver said. “If employees are happy, customers will feel it. “
Contact Denise Coffey at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.