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Updated: July 30, 2018 Fact Book 2018

Banking on growth

File Photo / Jason P. Smith Bob Montgomery-Rice, president and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank

Bangor Savings Bank has been on a bit of a growth spurt. Since 2016, the company opened four new branches in Maine. In 2017, the bank expanded into New Hampshire, opening a lending office in Portsmouth. In April 2018, the bank they added four more New Hampshire branches with an acquisition of Granite Bank. To accommodate its growth, the bank is building a new campus on the Bangor waterfront. The new 150,000 square-foot headquarters, which will have capacity for up to 500 employees, is expected to be complete by early 2019. Bangor Savings CEO Robert Montgomery-Rice spoke with Mainebiz about the decision to invest in a new headquarters.

Mainebiz: What were the forces that were driving the need for a new HQ?

Robert Montgomery-Rice: Space! With growth across Maine and our recent expansion into New Hampshire, we have seen strong growth in our residential mortgage, commercial banking and consumer lending. Each of those areas require personnel to process and service products; and, for us, the bulk of those ‘operational’ positions are located in Bangor. Our technology center staff has increased roughly 10% in the last four years, which prompted us to explore options and ultimately decide to build the new facility.

MB: What strategies have been most effective in recruiting and retaining talent?

RMR: We have partnered with several Maine colleges and universities, including Husson University, to promote professional growth, and we have created internal development programs specific to commercial and mortgage banking. Our commercial credit development program, an intensive two-year training program, is now in its third cohort of students.

We believe culture is a key component in long-term retention, so we invest a lot in it — and in our employees. Initiatives like our living wage — a minimum of $15 an hour across all positions — speak to our culture. We also have our commitment to employee education, which includes tuition reimbursement for any employee who wishes to pursue educational opportunities, even those that are non-banking related. This culture has allowed us to retain some incredible people and made us a place that people want to work, which helps recruiting.

MB: How does the new headquarters fit into recruiting?

RMR: We see the new headquarters as a great recruiting and retention tool. People want and deserve to work in world-class facilities. Bangor Savings’ new campus will be modern, high-tech, and somewhat unique for this area. It brings together an incredible work environment, a company that values its workforce and a great location to create a winning combination for employees – and, in turn, for us as an organization.

Building a culture that values employees both as workers and, more importantly, as people, is key. The right culture will always attract the right employees. When you put ‘quality of space’ with ‘quality of place’ you really can’t go wrong.

MB: What are the challenges of doing business in Maine?

RMR: We talk a lot about the challenges of Maine’s geography, its aging population, and the changes the state has seen in its primary industries. But Mainers have an incredible work ethic. Investing in them will strengthen the state. Building a culture that values employees both as workers and, more importantly, as people, is key. The right culture will always attract the right employees. When you put ‘quality of space’— facilities — with ‘quality of place’ — the communities of central Maine — you really can’t go wrong.

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