A Conversation With Bryan P. Bowerman
Bryan P. Bowerman is chairman, president and CEO of Farmington Savings Bank. He has nearly 40 years of banking experience. Prior to joining FSB in 1998, he was president and CEO of the Bank of Southington. He has a vast and varied background in retail and commercial banking, operations, credit and information technology. He was one of the first directors of Yankee 24 in 1982.
Bowerman is very involved in the communities in which FSB operates. He serves as chairman of the FSB Foundation Inc., vice chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and is currently chairman of the Wheeler Clinic. He serves on other boards and foundations in various capacities, including Farmington Foundation Inc., Farmington Village Green Library Association, Main Street Community Foundation, John Murphy Scholarship Foundation, St. Francis Hospital and Tunxis Community College.
Q: Tell the readers about your banking career.
A: I was graduating from the MBA program at UMass in 1966 and interviewing at the Aetna and Travelers. I had a few minutes to spare, so on a whim, I stopped in at the old Hartford National Bank’s personnel office on Main Street. Ten minutes later, I was their newest employee. Many years and several mergers later, I ended up here at Farmington Savings Bank. I’ve had the pleasure of working with and for a lot of great people.
Q: Banking has obviously changed a great deal since your first days on the job at Hartford National Bank. In your opinion, what are the three biggest changes?
A: The biggest challenge by far is regulatory compliance, followed closely by risk management. Everything else pales in comparison.
Q: Over the past several years, FSB has had a very aggressive branch expansion campaign. Care to comment on the philosophy that drives that expansion?
A: Simply stated, we look at markets that need a community bank presence and we fill it.
Q: Since your arrival, the bank has made a commitment to providing the full gamut of commercial loans and related services. How has that changed the bank and has it paid off?
A: That was the principal reason I was hired. We changed our branching strategy to address those commercial opportunities. We placed commercial lenders in offices with an attractive array of products and services and were supported by a great group of credit and operations people. That simple strategy has worked well for us.
Q: FSB fosters an attitude of strong community involvement amongst its employees. Care to comment?
A: We started a charitable foundation in 1998 and have always instilled in our people the need to get involved and give back to the communities we serve. We now have representation in over 200 charitable and civic organizations. Since its formation, our foundation has disbursed $2 million to many worthwhile causes.
Q: Rising energy prices, an uncertain interest-rate environment and continued concern whether or not New England will experience a housing bubble. What’s in store for Connecticut’s economy during the second half of 2006 and beyond?
A: Unfortunately, more of the same. The Fed is determined to control inflation and economic growth. Energy costs will continue to be sensitive to the political environment and housing starts will slow down. Connecticut’s economy will likely continue to lag the strength of the national economy during 2006. We have been through these situations in the past and we will get through this one.
Q: Risk management has become more than just a regulatory buzzword in the past several years. How is the bank dealing with this burgeoning issue?
A: We have a senior officer as our risk manager and we have just completed a bank-wide risk assessment. We have a strong compliance program and our board is updated regularly on these important programs.
Q: What will be the most pressing challenges for Farmington Savings Bank in the next three years?
A: Our challenge is self-imposed: Continuously striving to excel in everything we do.
Questions posed by Lindsey R. Pinkham, senior vice president and secretary of the Connecticut Bankers Association.