Message from the President
Fourth Quarter 2020
Dissipating fog leads to brighter paths.
As I look back on the year, it feels like the memory of the year is in a fog. With all that has gone on, between working from home, schoolwork being done virtually and by parents, events being cancelled and being replaced with virtual events, it seems like the summer came and went with the blink of an eye, I have found myself having to double and even triple check the calendar. “What day is it again?”
Battling the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, but when met with the cooperation and support from our employees and customers, facing that challenge was not impossible. In fact, all involved made it easy and bearable as we continue to make changes and updates on the fly.
We were forced to make the tough decision to close our lobbies in April and move to a drive-up only service style of banking for about two months. Furthermore, a number of our employees either spread out to different branches or began working from home. I will say, stepping inside our main office in downtown Sanford was almost eerie on some days. A building that normally houses around 60 employees a day often had as low as 12 total. But, the beat went on as did the business of banking.
We were able to re-open our branches in the early part of June, with customers expressing how glad they were to be able to come inside and see us again, even if it was through a plastic window. Our employees also expressed their excitement to see the faces of our customers again. We worked hard to put precautionary measures in place, including a facemask policy, plastic shields in face-to-face areas of the bank, and a more frequent disinfecting process. It is public knowledge that Sanford has faced a challenge this Fall, with numerous outbreaks and positive cases, but Partners Bank remains vigilant to ensure the safety of both our customers and our staff.
When the pandemic hit, there was so much uncertainty with what business was going to be like. We’ve seen the unfortunate results of some, with businesses forced to close their doors, while others struggling to carry on. However, the Bank was pleased to assist through the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), assisting in the loan process to help businesses keep their doors open and pay their employees. In addition, our lending and servicing staff assisted in processing hundreds of deferrals for customers that had been adversely affected by the pandemic.
Though there seems to be a bit more normalcy in our day-to-day life, we still have a long way to go. We continue to operate in a very different manner than we might have in the past. Nevertheless, we are still The Bank That Listens and we are here to meet your needs whether it be virtually or in person. It is with great pride that we continue to serve you – our customers – while our outstanding group of employees continue to find new and efficient ways to meet your needs.
Our commitment to the community hasn’t stopped despite events being postponed or cancelled, or non-profit organizations changing the way they operate. We once again teamed up with Project CoolAir with Portsmouth’s Area HomeCare & Family services to help provide 18 air conditioners to those in need to help protect their health during the hot summer temperatures. We assisted the United Way in a Campaign Associate sponsorship so their fundraising efforts could continue in order to provide to the communities in which we live.
Perhaps one of the more meaningful sponsorships the bank provided was as an exhibition sponsorship at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art – a $10,000 donation in memory of the life of one of our former family members, Brenda Keene. Furthermore, we are excited to support the expansion of the Center for Wildlife through their capital campaign, by providing a commitment of $25,000 as they seek to expand upon their services to meet the demand of conservation medicine and environmental education.
We also stepped up to the plate and provided a commitment of $75,000 to the City of Sanford for economic develop purposes to the Mid-Town Mall area that leveraged an existing $300,000 grant that was obtained by the city.
Our Employee Donation Program has continued to thrive with $500 donations each to organizations such as Waban, Animal Welfare Society, the Louis B. Goodall Memorial Library, Special Olympics Maine, the Sanford/Springvale Historical Society, Rockingham Meals on Wheels, and the Sanford Food Pantry. All of these in which were selected by our employees.
It’s hard to tell what the future holds, but the one thing I can assure you is that Partners Bank will continue to be there for our customers, making sure you receive the financial guidance you need with the customer service you deserve. While the path here has been cloudy as we maneuver through COVID-19 obstacles, I am enthusiastically optimistic that brighter days are ahead.
Blaine A. Boudreau