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The Power of Partnership

Welcome to the "Power of Partnership" eNews, a monthly online publication that offers tips on successful networking, advice on cultivating relationships with referral sources, and success stories from all lines of business.

Whether you’re a mortgage officer who referred a customer to someone on our wealth management team for assistance with their assets, or you’re a commercial lender who introduced your customer to their local branch manager to open personal accounts, sharing the information will encourage other employees to identify cross-referral opportunities and help expand our customer relationships.

Sales is not just the job of business development officers - we all can contribute to growth.
Together, we will increase our success and continue to demonstrate why Washington Trust is the bank of choice for so many.

Send us your Success Stories!

Do you have a success story you’d like to share? Send it to Christy Birchell in the Marketing Department at clbirchell@washtrust.com, and we’ll highlight it in our “Power of Partnership” eNewsletter which will be shared each month with all Washington Trust employees.

July 2014

Building Trust in Our Brand

The following excerpt from National Mortgage News’ “Eight Ways To Quickly Build Trust In Your Brand,” originally addressed mortgage marketing and branding, but the advice given can be translated for professionals in all of our lines of business. Whether you’re a commercial lender, a wealth management officer, or a retail banker, understanding our brand and building trust with your customers is the key to building successful relationships:

No matter what business you're in, the only thing you’re really selling is trust. Consumers want to know they can trust their Bank to do the right thing, give them a fair deal and make it to closing. On time. Those who prove to be the most trustworthy and have a widespread reputation as such are the winners. Key trust-building attributes in order of importance for businesses include:

  • Listening to customer needs and feedback
  • Taking responsible action to address issues
  • Placing customers ahead of profits
  • Transparent and open business practices
  • High quality products or services
  • Ethical business practices

So, how can you leverage this information to drive trust in your brand? Here are eight ideas to consider:

1. Acquire certifications, awards and participate in continuing education classes. For example, through the Mortgage Bankers Association, you can earn your Certified Mortgage Banker designation. Earning this designation places you in the upper echelon of professional success in the industry. Additional examples could be the Better Business Bureau designation or an award for "best places to work" or "fastest growing company." Washington Trust has been named one of Providence Business News’ “Best Places To Work” for four consecutive years. Contact the Human Resources Department to find out what certifications or continuing education classes are available in your line of business.

2. Leveraging social media is a great way to build trust. Social media engagement is unique in that it works for small start-ups and well-established behemoths alike. In a report from eMarketer, 82% of consumers trust a company more if they are involved with social media. This means that if you're active on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, distributing helpful information and writing blogs, your ability to build trust among your target audience is greatly accelerated. This statistic is not far behind friend and family recommendations. Being social accommodates many of the key factors listed earlier from the survey that build trust.

3. Be careful not to overstate. We've always been told as children and adults that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Consumers are much smarter and more discerning than ever before especially when it comes to financial services, so if you feel you can offer something special, be sure to show proof that you're offering is real. If you say it, then you must prove it. No empty statements allowed.

4. Be on time; just do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. Yes, I know that sounds really simple, but surely you know people who are always running just a little bit late. And then, they want you to trust that they'll deliver needed documents and other key services on time after you hire them. Put yourself in the clients' position. Don't you get annoyed when people aren't on time when you're on a busy schedule?

This also goes for over-promising. It drives business people crazy if you say you'll have it on Monday but can't get it done until Thursday. In the mortgage industry, the consequences of late performance can be far-reaching and have a domino effect.

5. Make sure your marketing materials have consistency. Consistency shows your prospects that you have a unified voice and that you know what you stand for. If the language, look and feel of your marketing materials appear disparate, this tells your audience that you're not really sure what you stand for quite yet and may even create brand confusion not just externally, but internally as well.

6. Show passion for what you do. You must take a real interest in helping those you come in contact with that are candidates for what you have to offer. There are many ways to demonstrate your passion. As a company, it's evident in the attitudes of your employees, how they dress, the technology you have to ensure a smooth process, your attentiveness to customer needs, product knowledge, showing you've done your "homework" prior to meetings and much more.

7. Don't hide behind the fine print. This is a big one and we all know what it means. If you know you might need to leverage the fine print after you get a contract signed, you may make your profit in the immediate term, but it will cost you dearly in credibility once your client gets on his computer and writes a blog about what it's like to do business with you or simply goes to Yelp and gives you an ugly rating.

8. Show off your testimonials. Especially if you're a lesser-known entity, it's important to share testimonials with your prospective clients. Posting written testimonials on your website is an excellent idea. If you can get video testimonials from clients and others who refer business to you −even better!

Trustworthiness is really the bedrock of our company and our brand.

 

Partnership in Action

Cyndi Valenti Smith, Vice President, Mortgage Lending, recently introduced Laurel Bowerman, Vice President, Commercial Real Estate, to her contacts at a local real estate agency in Narragansett. The company closed on a small term loan for the acquisition of an office building, and were so happy with the service they received from Laurel that they’re currently working on a second office acquisition loan with her. Meanwhile, Laurel referred one of her top clients to Cyndi to handle some end loans for a condominium project in the Edgewood Section of Cranston. In turn, Cyndi introduced the customers to the real estate office to help them market the condo project. All-in-all, a true testament to partnership in action, helping local businesses and business owners in the process.

 

Benefits of a Community Bank

Rosalie Pastore, Retail Banker at the Franklin Street branch, referred a customer to Janell Hayes Bruno, Vice President, Mortgage Lending, for a potential mortgage. After reviewing the customer’s existing financing, Janell determined a line of credit made more sense. The customer had a substantial amount in an IRA with another financial institution and when Janell asked if he would consider moving some of his retirement assets to Washington Trust, he said he’d be happy to do that. In the end, the customer closed a $332,000 home equity line of credit, as well as an IRA, which was funded with $250,000. The customer continues to rave about Washington Trust and the benefits of a community bank. Great job, Janell and Rosalie!

 

 

A Successful Sale

Bob Quirk, Vice President and Planning Officer, Wealth Management, recently referred a local sterilization and pasteurization company to Bob Kent, Vice President, Commercial Lending. The referral resulted in a commitment for a $3.5 million revolving line of credit. When the company recently sold its factory in Baltimore, a $4 million investment account was opened with Washington Trust Wealth Management, and an additional $4 million will be invested with us when the principal sells more property in California. Together, Quirk and Kent’s seamless presentation of Washington Trust resulted in a successful sale.

 

 

 

May 2014

The Power of Partnerships

The following thank you note received from Bruce Lane, Broker Associate, Williams & Stuart Real Estate, after he attended our Executive Healthcare Forum on April 10th at the Crowne Plaza, clearly demonstrates the “Power of Partnership,” and how one business owner can benefit from several of our lines of business:

Dear Mr. Handy,
I wanted to personally thank you for including me in yesterday’s presentation. It was informative and “eye-opening” information. Forgive my old-school systems on handwritten notes, but I still believe it shows sincerity and respect, which at times gets lost in the day-to-day business shuffle.

As I stated to you yesterday, your Bank, starting with the extreme personal service of your Oaklawn branch, your residential mortgage department with Al Grant, and our experience with your commercial lending department for our real estate office purchase, has been instrumental in my company’s growth and my personal growth. I now see that the company’s philosophy starts from the top.

Warm regards,
Bruce Lane

 

Introducing the Visa® CommUNITY Credit Card

Did you know? Washington Trust offers the Visa® CommUNITY Credit Card, designed specifically for non-profits and municipalities? The card is the perfect way for these organizations to manage their finances. Credit approval is based on the organization with no personal guarantee needed. It offers:

  • Consolidated statements
  • Free management reporting
  • Generous credit line
  • Dedicated cardmember service
  • Optional rewards program

For more information, call Diane Lynch in Consumer Credit at x1368.

 

One RI Institution Helps Another

Washington Trust recently received a mandate from a well-known Rhode Island furniture store to be its lead bank and principal depository. The store’s relationship with their previous financial institution dates back to the 1940’s, so acquiring these accounts was truly a team effort. Participating in the sales effort were Joe Confessore and Chris Vedro from commercial lending, Sheila Raposa from cash management, Peter Miniati from wealth management, Jayne Poland from the Westminster branch and Alison Medeiros of the North Kingstown branch. In addition to the credit relationship, our new customer will utilize our cash management services, 401(k) advisory services, interest rate swaps, and personal banking services for the business owners and their families.

 

Securities Based Lending – A Custom Solution

Bethany Lardaro, branch manager of our Sweet Meadows Narragansett branch, referred a customer to a mortgage originator to refinance his existing loan held with another bank. The other lender offered a very aggressive rate, which Washington Trust could not match. Bethany, realizing this customer was a wealth manager customer, contacted Joe Confessore, who suggested a Securities Based Loan using the customer’s wealth management assets. Washington Trust was able to offer a more competitive rate and a quick turnaround. Within the next two years, this customer will have lending opportunities with other mortgages coming due. This is a great example of understanding the customer’s financial profile and offering a custom solution.

 

A Collaborative Effort

On April 11, 2014, Washington Trust closed a commercial mortgage for a charter school located in Central Falls. The funds were used to purchase the building adjacent to their current school from the City of Central Falls. The building was needed by the school in order to expand the capacity of students educated at this institution. The loan request was originally referred to Washington Trust by Aaron Guckian of the business banking group in October 2012. The loan was referred to John Kennedy of commercial lending, who met with the principals to begin the process. In March 2013, John was named as the team leader of the small business lending department, and this prospective client was transferred to Tom Quinlan of the business banking group. Tom & John worked together on this loan request. This was a complicated deal to close for two reasons:

1) It was the first charter school that Washington Trust has financed, so there was a learning curve;

2) the loan would carry a 90% USDA Guarantee and that process was complicated.

In September 2013 Aaron Guckian, Jonathan Roderick of retail banking and Beth Frenette of cash management made a call to the school to discuss their deposit needs. In April 2014, after the diligent and persistent efforts of all, the deposit and cash management accounts were opened by Sheila Raposa of cash management and Alyssa Whorf of the Reservoir Ave branch. On April 11, 2014, Tom Quinlan closed the commercial loan and the deposit account was funded. The school currently has a commercial mortgage in the amount of $384,000 that carries a 90% USDA guarantee, a business checking account with an average balance of $1,300,000, as well as online banking and cash management services.

This was a very long process, with many officers coming into contact with every segment of this process. In the end, the customer had the utmost confidence and was satisfied with the service received from Washington Trust.

 

April 2014

Leveraging a Relationship

Scott Haggerty, mortgage loan officer at our East Providence branch, has leveraged our commercial relationship with a large distributing company into several Bank-At-Work opportunities. The events have allowed Scott to introduce Washington Trust’s mortgage lending capabilities to a large number of employees, which would not have been possible without the commercial relationship. To date, as a direct result of these Bank-At-Work events, Scott has closed $1.2 million in mortgage business and has an application in process for another $1.2 million. 

 

 

Teamwork in Action

Mary Ettinger, vice president, commercial real estate group, recently closed a $5.2 million commercial real estate mortgage. Mary then referred her customer to Cynthia Valenti Smith for a $750,000 residential loan. The customer was so satisfied with the outstanding customer service she received on both loans, she decided to move all of her deposit accounts to Washington Trust. She met with Patti Hartford, VP & Manager, Cash Management, who set up cash management services for her at the beginning of this year. The customer has since contacted Mary again, and a $6.1 million commercial real estate refinance is currently in the works on the customer’s multi-family property. 

 

 

Open Communication

A local attorney visited the Bonnet Shores branch to open a large checking account for his elderly aunt using his power of attorney. Kristen Cornwall, assistant vice president & branch manager, suggested the attorney meet with Charlie Roberts to discuss the aunt’s overall estate planning needs. In addition to the funds she used to open the checking account, the aunt had a substantial amount of financial assets in many different accounts at other institutions. Together, Kristen and Charlie introduced the attorney to the benefits of consolidating all his aunt’s accounts into one Washington Trust Wealth Management account with total assets of $3 million.

 

  

Keys To Success

Vanessa Zampini, vice president and branch manager at our Centerville Road branch, shares these best practices for successful customer relationships:

• Once a new business relationship has been set up at my branch, I follow up with a personal introductory phone call
• I use our CRM to schedule follow up phone calls with my top customers, which has resulted in more new business. This also keeps me top-of-mind when a customer has a question or other banking need
• Internally, I make it a habit to meet with my business partners from other lines of business on a quarterly basis, and to always keep them in the loop when it comes to referrals

Having the right conversation with customers and business partners is a great way to build relationships and is a win-win for Washington Trust!

 

March 2014

Successful Relationship

Maria Staffiere of Weston Financial recently met with Bill Niland, mortgage officer at the Washington Trust Mortgage Company office in Burlington, Mass., to discuss each other’s capabilities. Shortly after Maria and Bill met, Bill took a mortgage application from a client and noted that the client had $1.6 million in cash. As Bill discussed the financials with his client, they talked about his life and his business and it soon became apparent the client needed a financial plan. Bill introduced his client to the team at Weston, where he has become a financial planning client, and has placed his investments with Weston as well. Weston is looking forward to a long, successful relationship with their new client!

 

 

Product Knowledge

Jason Quinlan, branch manager at the Plainfield Pike branch, recently recognized the significant growth in his branch’s loan portfolio because of its relationship with mortgage officer, Jeff Marchetti. Jeff has been instrumental in training the Plainfield Pike staff on product knowledge and the right questions to ask customers about their lending needs. While working with Jeff this quarter, the branch has a total combined relationship of $1.3 million in expected closed loans for the first quarter. A special thanks to Jeff for contributing to the success of the Plainfield Pike branch and helping the staff’s loan product knowledge grow considerably.

 

 

Good Effort Across All Lines of Business!

John Kennedy and Tawny Beckmann have built a solid commercial banking relationship with a customer dating back to 2000. The client often calls them with questions about Bank products and services and appreciates the honest guidance he receives. The client recently called Tawny asking for assistance to purchase a home for his family. Although he had not yet signed a sales agreement, Tawny encouraged him to meet with mortgage officer, Beverlee Fairbanks, so when he was ready to put in an offer on a home, he would be in the position to make a viable offer. This suggestion was of utmost importance, as the client had lost a bid on another property because he didn’t have an approval letter from a lender. Tawny asked Beverlee to pre-qualify the client, since he was actively in the market to purchase. Tawny then provided Beverlee with the client’s financial information from his credit file in order to complete the application. The customer’s bid for a home for $750,000 was accepted and he recently closed on the property. It should also be noted that the seller approached Beverlee at the closing and asked for a wealth management contact at Washington Trust, so Beverlee referred him to Peter Miniati. Good effort across all lines of business!

 

Keys To Success

Keep these tips from Julia Slom, SVP & Team Leader, Commercial Real Estate Group, in mind for successful relationships with potential customers:

• Staying top-of-mind with prospects via handwritten notes or personal phone calls
• Send an article or congratulations to them when you see them mentioned in print or see something you think they may find interesting
• Remember small things about them; their likes/children/hobbies and remember to ask
• Place calls early in the morning when the decision makers answer their own phone
• Consider the long haul versus the short-term deal; we may not always be the best fit on every deal, but your persistence may pay off in the long run
• Demonstrate, don’t just talk about, our value proposition
• Ask existing clients with whom we should do business
 

February 2014

Partnership in Action

Janell Hayes Bruno, Vice President, Mortgage Lending received a referral from Joe Confessore, Senior Vice President, Team Leader, Commercial Banking for a high-end commercial customer with an established/extensive commercial relationship. The customer was purchasing a new home. Janell handled the mortgage with a loan amount of $1.181 million. As part of the mortgage pricing negotiation, the customer promised to open a wealth management account for upwards of $1 million. Janell called Bob Quirk, Vice President, Wealth Management, with the referral. The mortgage closed on December 30th, 2013 and an IRA in the amount of $800,000 was transferred to Washington Trust on December 31, 2013. In addition, as of January 15, 2014, the customer is opening an additional corporate reserve account with wealth management for $1.1 million. Now that’s partnership in action!

 

Great Teamwork

Cyndi Valenti Smith, Vice President, Mortgage Lending, connected with a customer in 2009 when he was in the process of purchasing a second home in Narragansett. At the same time, Cyndi was able to refinance his primary residence in Connecticut. The customer was so pleased with our process at Washington Trust, he opened a personal checking account with Bethany Lardaro, Branch Manager, Sweet Meadows. The customer is also the owner of a successful car dealership in Connecticut, so shortly after opening his personal accounts, he began a commercial relationship that Bethany referred to Beth Frenette, Vice President, Cash Management. To date, the customer has a total deposit relationship (both business and personal) of just over $204,000. Cyndi also connected him with our commercial lending department and a subsequent relationship of $3.4 in commercial loans was created. In 2011, the customer sold his primary residence and purchased a new primary condo unit in Connecticut. Not only did Cyndi assist him with this transaction, but she was able to capture 50% of the units in the development based on referrals from her customer. Great teamwork!

 

Nurturing a Longstanding Relationship

Chris Sheehan, Vice President, Business Banking, has had a longstanding commercial banking relationship with a couple (Washington Trust customers since the 1960’s), who recently sold several commercial properties with net proceeds exceeding $1.3 million. Helena Pacheco, Branch Manager, Mystic McQuade’s referred the couple to Bob Quirk, Vice President, Wealth Management to help them manage the proceeds from the sale. Bob referred the customers to Dave Kmetz, Vice President, Team Leader, Commercial Lending, for a line of credit and commercial loan to purchase real estate in Connecticut. Chris also referred the couple to Cyndi Valenti Smith, Vice President, Mortgage Lending, to refinance their B&B, which was currently financed with a mortgage company. As the customer put it, “Washington Trust has been there for us for almost 50 years, and we only want to do business with them.” Over the years, the customers have banked at the Main Office, Franklin Street, Charlestown and Mystic. Special kudos to Ann Cook, Branch Manager, Charlestown, and Chris Grasso, Business Banking Specialist, for always going above and beyond for the customers’ everyday banking needs. Wonderful example of nurturing a longstanding customer relationship!

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