Blog : Small businesses and responsiveness key to Kennebunk Savings vision
With criticism of large financial institutions at an all-time high, few seem willing to make the distinction between big regional banks and the more local community banks.
Here in Portsmouth, Kennebunk Savings – one of the region’s oldest community banks – is planning for growth within their industry, choosing to hitch on to what has always been a tried and true wagon of growth: small businesses.
In late July Kennebunk Savings officially announced the configuration of a new small business lending program. Rather than house all of their lending under one, all-encompassing umbrella, Maine-based Kennebunk Savings will instead have separate offices for businesses large (anything over a $ 1 million) and small (anything between $5,000 and a $1 million).
John Burcke, Vice President, Small Business Lending Team Leader, at Kennebunk Savings new Portsmouth Branch (located on 111 Maplewood Avenue), says the program was adapted to be more responsive to the region’s biggest economic engine.
“Certainly small businesses need to be looked after,” says Burcke. “A majority of any bank’s customers are small businesses, and here on the Seacoast they’re an even larger segment.”
Over 95 percent of New Hampshire businesses employ less than 100 people, with 85% employing less than 20 people.
Indeed, just as the role of small business has helped the Granite State maintain one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country since the start of the recession, so too will their continued growth and development be vital for the region as a whole.
“We’re not exactly reinventing the wheel here,” says Burcke. “We’re just trying to change and improve how that wheel operates, and that means focusing on lending to businesses that have a need.”
Burcke says the response to the new program has so far been solid, with numerous local businesses having benefited from Kennebunk’s attentive approach.
“We pride ourselves on being responsive,” he notes. “Because we make all of our decisions locally, as opposed to outsourcing those decisions to Pennsylvania or Rhode Island , that means a lot quicker turnaround for the businesses we work with. And we’re also able to advocate for our customers in a way that isn’t possible in larger organizations.”
What’s more, Kennebunk Savings’ “Community Promise”, intact since 1994, stipulates that 10% of annual profits be given to local nonprofit organizations and charities – has resulted has been $7.5 million in donations in that period. That promise helps to bolster the nonprofit economy, a sector that is equally vital in creating a vibrant community
“With big banks, the attitude tends to be they have certain holes you have to fit in – this is our model, and if you don’t fit, there’s nothing we can do for you, “ exclaims Burcke. “But we try to be more flexible; our customers really are impressed with the level of personalized service they receive from us.”
For more information on Kennebunk Savings, go to www.kennebunksavings.com