Message from the President
First Quarter 2021
A new year means new goals.
It is hard to believe that after one of the most challenging years many of us have faced in our lifetimes, the bell has rung on a new year. Although many of the same challenges we’ve been dealing with are still here, this new calendar year allows us to hit a reset button in a lot of ways. I typically like to think of this as a time to set goals for the remainder of the year. Is there something that we can help you accomplish in the coming year?
Looking back, I think we can all agree that 2020 will be the year of the pandemic, but I would like to look back and remember it as the year that this Partners Bank team came together and faced the pandemic head on. Between sanitizing and social distancing protocols being put into place, and then later having to expand our drive-up services and move to appointment only banking inside our branches, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but the employees here didn’t stop. They adapted on the fly and remained patient when things became difficult.
Many of our back-office staff moved to working remotely, which comes with a lot of credit to our IT staff to ensure all our employees had the proper equipment and the proper security when working out of their own homes. Our commercial lending department stepped up when the Small Business Administration released its Payroll Protection Program (PPP Loans), helping hundreds of our small business customers get the financial relief they needed to get through these times. Many times it included late nights and weekends to get this done. For the last few months, we have been processing applications for loan forgiveness of those same loans. At the same time, another round of PPP loans have been approved to assist businesses that are continuing to struggle during the pandemic. We are continuing to assist our customers in any way possible.
On the residential side, the bank saw one of its largest growth in loans in recent history as the housing market boomed. Our lending staff continued to process applications for new mortgages at a record rate all while also adding to the team, with new mortgage consultants in Alison Fitting who is now based out of our Wells branch and Bryanna Thibault who now serves the greater Buxton area.
Partners Bank has always had a mission to give back to the communities in which we serve and this past year proved it was needed more than ever. Despite the change in programming, we assisted the Ogunquit Playhouse with a $12,500 sponsorship to ensure that they could continue to operate throughout the year with the loss of attendance revenue. We donated $10,000 to the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, helping fund the Light Southerly: Henry Strater in Verde Valley exhibition in memory of Brenda Keene who served as a Senior Vice President of the Bank. We were also proud to support the capital campaign for the Center for Wildlife with a $25,000 sponsorship that will help go towards the Children’s Play Area at the Center’s new location in the bank’s name.
During the holiday season as part of our holiday wishes, Partners Bank chose to make donations to four nonprofits to celebrate our partnerships with our business customers, making donations in their name to the York Community Service Association Food Pantry in York, Maine; York County Food Pantry in Alfred, Maine; Waterboro Food Pantry in Waterboro, Maine; and the Crossroads House in Portsmouth, N.H.
The bank’s Employee Donation Program continued to move forward with $500 monthly going toward organizations selected by one of our employees who was selected at random. Since my last letter, we were able to support The Ryan Home Project in North Berwick, Maine and the New Hampshire Food Bank, thanks to our Training Manager, Lisa Holt and Market Manager of our Portsmouth branch, Charlotte Hubbard.
I would also be remiss not to mention the efforts of our employees through our Casual for a Cause days, where every other Friday throughout the year, employees give a donation to a selected nonprofit in exchange for dressing down during the workday. Due to employees working from home and the adjustment of the bank’s schedule, we didn’t have the same number of opportunities as years past, however, employees still came together to raise more than $4,300 for worth organizations such as the Cancer Care Center for York County, Go Red for Women, Southern Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, the Dempsey Center, Grahamtastic Connection, Rolling Thunder, Inc., and many more. It is staff members like ours that help make Partners Bank such a special place and makes me proud to work for an organization like this.
As 2021 unfolds we will continue to give back to the community and support our customers as we find ways to get back to a seemingly “normal” way of living. As I asked in the beginning of my letter, what is it that you want to accomplish? It may take some time before we work through these ongoing challenges, but I firmly believe setting goals for ourselves for the year, no matter how big or small, is a means of finding the positives each day. As for Partners Bank, our goals remain the same. We aim to serve you, our customers, with the highest quality of customer service that you deserve providing the products and services to better serve your banking needs. We will continue to be The Bank that Listens®. We also aim to help our communities thrive through our donations and sponsorships to charity and nonprofit programs, as well as economic development projects.
I want to extend my best wishes to you all for the new year and it is my hope that health, safety and happiness are bountiful. Let us all continue to push forward as we work together to find the right solutions that will lead us to a successful and prosperous 2021!
Blaine A. Boudreau