I recently sat down with Wellesley resident and Needham Bank president Joe Campanelli, who’s been on the job for all of two weeks. He arrived at Needham Bank via New England Community Financial, and has also worked as the Chief Executive at Flag Star Corporation and, a bit further back, as President of Sovereign Bank Corp.
We bonded over our shared Connecticut roots, but the similarities ended fast. I graduated from a public high school in the New Haven area with a student body of almost 2,000, while he and around 400 others attended the prestigious boarding school, Suffield Academy. There was that time his youth hockey team came down to play our Hamden boys. Some burly local checked him right the heck into the boards, and Campanelli’s face came away with a chain-link imprint. Back then, chain-link fencing was the kind of barrier Hamden supplied to separate the players from the spectators, instead of today’s ubiquitous (and mandatory) Plexiglass. Maybe the (probably rusty) fence was there because that’s what finances permitted, or maybe it was a sort of Hamden tough-guy mentality — if you know you’re going to get slammed into chain-link fencing, chances are you’ll skate faster and not get checked in the first place, right? Sort of a training philosophy.
At any rate, before long we were chatting about the Wellesley resident’s new job as CEO of Needham Bank, which is a mutual bank (as opposed to one that is publicly traded). Here’s some insight on what it takes to run in the world of community banking:
The Swellesley Report: Do you know The Swellesley Report?
Campanelli: I’m getting to understand it. My wife always reads it.
How long have you lived in town?
Campanelli: 20-something years. My wife Carolyn and I have three children. We moved to Wellesley for the public schools, and then one morning I woke up and my daughter was over at Dana Hall, and one son was at Fessenden, and the other was at St. Sebastian’s. It’s interesting because they all self-selected their school, and they all chose single-sex education. My oldest is allegedly moving off the payroll, which is a good thing. She’s working for a Biotech firm and lives in Boston. My other two kids are 21 and 17.
Do you have time for any involvement in the town of Wellesley?
Campanelli: In the greater Boston community I have involvement. I chair the Tufts Medical Center, which is very interesting when you look at the whole medical/health care arena. Obviously Tufts has got activities throughout Metrowest…it really is a regionally based enterprise. I’m on the board of the Carroll School. I try to look at areas where I can have an impact and provide time and effort. My wife does the Wellesley Service League. She’s loving it. Every day she has a new activity.
The Swellesley Report: Service League? Whoa, that’s big league. It’s a real working club.
Campanelli: Right. She’s at a time when all of a sudden she does actually have the time to get involved in Service League. It fits into her schedule now. She’s probably doing things with them two or three times per week.
The Swellesley Report: Every time a bank opens in town, people roll their eyes. What direction do you see branches going in over the next ten years?
Campanelli: I think there’s a misconception that if you build it they will come. I believe you can put a branch in a community, fill the branch with people who are deeply committed and involved in the [Read more…]