Mary Chetwynd will tell you she’s grown up at Rockland Trust. She joined the Bank as the Weymouth branch manager in 1987, and throughout her career she’s been responsible for several different offerings, from mortgages to home equity to commercial loans. This wide range of experiences meant that every day brought new challenges and learnings.
Now as the Senior Vice President and Director of Business Banking, she has a bird’s eye view of how business banking has evolved over the years, and what it takes for businesses to succeed. We sat down with Mary to discuss her insights on business trends, what makes Rockland Trust a special place to work, and why it’s important to lead by example.
“Throughout my 35 years in banking, the pandemic is by far the most disruptive event I’ve experienced for both bankers and businesses alike,” she says.
“It was a whirlwind! But we took an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to support our local businesses starting at the very beginning of the pandemic. Our team coordinated with colleagues from all across the Bank to ensure we could secure Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for as many businesses as possible.”
That tremendous bank-wide effort meant that Rockland Trust provided over 9,500 PPP loans to businesses throughout the Bank’s footprint between April of 2020 and May of 2021.
“No one batted an eye when they heard that people needed help,” she said. “Actually no one slept either. The first round of the PPP loans was exhausted in just 14 days. And although more rounds that were released later, at the time we didn’t know what would happen. So the entire Bank just worked as fast as possible to support our businesses. That was a truly inspiring and humbling experience.”
Managing Your Business Through a Changing Economy
Mary is cautiously optimistic about the future and sees an uptick in refinancing.
“Real estate, construction companies, and landscapers are especially busy. And we’re meeting a lot of new startups that are looking for support on how to position themselves for business growth,” she notes.
“But that said, there’s still a lot of uncertainty which is understandable,” she says. “Some industries like restaurants, are still recovering from the pandemic, and rising inflation and stock market fluctuations have also thrown curveballs into the market. And let’s not forget the supply chain issues which is causing concerns across the board.”
Mary notes this is where she and her team can help.
“What most business owners need to know is that it’s okay to not have all the answers,” she says. “That’s why we’re here. To help you and your teams develop a plan, create resiliency strategies, and ensure you’re able to navigate times like these.”
Rockland Trust has been able to support businesses through the pandemic (in addition to all of the other ups and downs) because of the bank’s culture of going the extra mile.
“Business bankers and lenders genuinely care about the businesses they work with and know what they need to succeed,” Mary notes. “Most of our business customers have their Banker’s direct cell phone numbers, and that says something about the availability and the care that the team has for our customers. It’s genuine, and that’s something that’s been instilled at the Bank for as long as I’ve been here."
Why Company Culture is So Important
Rockland Trust’s leaders always lead by example, which Mary believes makes working at the bank special. In the top ranks of the company, there are a number of high-profile female executives and significant opportunities for women to succeed in leadership roles. The bank practices equal opportunity, and she’s had an overwhelmingly positive experience as a woman in banking at Rockland Trust.
“Everyone at Rockland Trust buys into the culture of listening, encouraging and supporting through mentorship,” she said. “I put these skills into practice every day by listening more than I talk, incorporating the ideas of others, nurturing my team’s skill sets and praising their success.”
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