On Wednesday morning, Bank Rhode Island employees and community members came together to celebrate the bank's official return to Coventry with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly opened branch, located at 3 Coventry Shoppers Park.
The location is the bank's 18th since its inception in early 1996 and marks its return to the plaza where it originally operated more than a decade ago. Town Manager Tom Hoover, along with Chris Allen from the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce joined BankRI executives, employees and several customers during the event to welcome the branch to the community.
"It's been a focus of mine since I've been here to get back into Coventry because it's a very good market and an important place for Bank Rhode Island to be," said Steven Parente, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking.
When asked what sets the bank apart from its competition, Parente said that the most obvious points are its local focus and experienced team.
"The people that are helping you make your decisions live right here in the state," he said. "They understand the economics, they understand the demographic that you're in and what you're trying to do. We truly are a local bank in the sense that we are very focused in the community that surrounds every branch. We want to know all of the important people and be involved in every non-profit organization that we can and we want to be seen as the people that can help the municipality and the people in it."
Parente went on to explain that BankRI has a very good relationship with the Town of Coventry and since the original Coventry branch closed, roughly 460 businesses and households have stayed loyal and continue to bank with them.
"Some people may see us as small, but we can do everything the big banks do," he said. "We are a full service bank from the standpoint of having investment consultants, mortgage consultants, commercial consultants - so anything you need, we have. Whether you're retiring and looking to buy some stocks or you need to open a checking account for your child in college, we can do it."
Regional Manager Erica Martineau explained that BankRI's focus is to meet the needs of each individual customer and be informed about their goals.
In the instance of home loans, Martineau said that BankRI works very closely with its lenders to find the best fit for each potential home-buyer.
"All of our lenders, whether it be commercial or consumer, understand Rhode Island," she said. "They understand how to navigate through the process with first time home-buyers and they also understand how the market is. They will give you specifics, not blanket answers. They will talk to you, listen to your goals and try to come up with a solution that works for you."
Branch Manager Liane Presley spoke of the positive reaction from Coventry residents since the branch opened its doors last week.
"Just in the first few days of opening, the residents are thrilled that we're back. It's almost like a homecoming for us and the response so far has been fantastic," she said. "We offer the whole spectrum and we want to be everybody's bank of choice for every need they have."
Apart from its banking services, BankRI prides itself on a long-standing tradition of giving back to the community through donations, sponsorships and volunteering. Employees recently visited the Coventry Community Food Bank to donate and arrange 25 Thanksgiving meal baskets for residents in need.
In early 2013, the branch plans to host a Community Day in Coventry featuring family activities, snacks, special giveaways and promotional banking products.
BankRI's Coventry branch is open Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.