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Updated: November 25, 2019 Focus on Banking & Finance

Andrew Cook helps Skowhegan Savings bolster its southern Maine business

Photo / Tim Greenway Andrew Cook, senior vice president and regional market manager of Skowhegan Savings Bank, at the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Cumberland resident will rep the bank in southern Maine.

Andrew Cook joined Skowhegan Savings Bank this fall as senior vice president and regional marketing manager, based in Portland. He will assist the bank’s southern Maine customers and help in building relationships. He has more than a decade of banking experience, most recently at People’s United Bank, where he was senior vice president and the business banking team leader for the state of Maine. The Cumberland resident is on the boards of the Portland Regional Chamber, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine and My Place Team Center. Skowhegan Savings has 10 branches and assets of $600 million. Mainebiz recently caught up with Cook.

Mainebiz: What appealed to you about working for Skowhegan Savings Bank?

Andrew Cook: I was immediately drawn to the bank after meeting with David Cyr and John Witherspoon and learning more about the history and culture at Skowhegan Savings and the opportunity with the bank. That interest grew even more after meeting with the rest of senior management and realizing how great the team was and how it would be a natural fit to work alongside them as we expand into Portland. The bank is very much a customer- and community-focused bank and I felt my values would align with the organization. I also have been very fortunate to have some great mentors in my career, and I instantly could tell that mentorship would continue with David and John.

MB: You come to the bank from a much larger regional bank. What in your banking background informs your goals at Skowhegan?

AC: I have had the opportunity to work in leadership roles in both retail and commercial banking at larger regional banks in my career and those past experiences will be very important to draw on in this role with Skowhegan Savings. In my most recent role, I was responsible for business banking operations in the state of Maine and was in charge of leading a team of commercial lenders, collaborating on strategic planning for the company, responsible for the oversight of the portfolio and also working across business lines to grow the organization. The skill set I was able to develop in that role, and in previous roles, will provide great working knowledge to draw on in this new role.

MB: Part of your job description is growing relationships in southern Maine. Can you elaborate on why the southern Maine market is important to Skowhegan Savings?

AC: We already have well established connections and customers in greater Cumberland County. As the bank looked to continue to expand and grow, it made strategic and business sense to look to grow in a market where a lot of those connections already existed. It also made logical sense as the business community in Portland continues to succeed and grow that we have a presence.

MB: In a crowded banking atmosphere, where a lot of banks are looking to have a greater Portland presence, how will Skowhegan stand out?

AC: We will look to stand out by holding true to our mission of making our communities a better place to live and work while providing a customized approach to each of our clients. I often see banking conversations are led with talks about product and services, but what is really important is being able to understand needs and provide solutions to help solve a problem. We will look to increase our clients’ probability of success by providing custom solutions centered on our clients needs and tailoring them with the feedback and advice of their other trusted advisors. We also plan to be heavily active and visible in the community through volunteer work.

MB: How has banking changed since you first got into the industry?

AC: One of the first projects I worked on in banking was a roll out of a text banking platform and that was pretty advanced from a technology standpoint at the time. I remember finding it so interesting and convenient that you could check you bank balance at any time from your phone. Within a few years, that had already become outdated and old technology and a lot of banks do not even offer that service today as a result. You can now not only check your balance but you can deposit a check, transfer money to a friend and open an account all from your phone while in line for a coffee. The core of banking has not changed, but technology certainly has shaped and will continue to shape the transactional piece of the industry going forward.

MB: What changes to you see in the future, both for banking and for Skowhegan Savings in general?

AC: I see a lot of changes in the future, both for the industry and Skowhegan Savings, and most of that will be centered on technology and the establishment of new industries. We have seen a lot of that in the last decade and I feel we will see dramatically more in the next decade. It is critical for any organization to remain forward thinking so that you can easily adapt to the future as opposed to be reactive. I feel being able to embrace change is strength of the bank.

MB: Is there anything about Maine that makes doing business as part of its banking community special?

AC: Maine is such a close-knit community even though geographically we are a large state. I have spent time in previous roles working in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts and know firsthand that in Maine it very much has more of a community feel than other places. I often talk to friends of mine that work in banking in New York, Boston and Toronto and it reminds me just how special Maine is as a community from the interactions we experience.

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