Brattleboro – After a search that stretched across states and regions, Brattleboro Savings & Loan is happy to welcome Deborah Stephenson to the position of president. Deb is joining us, most recently, from Berkshire Bank, but she brings a rich history in banking and a deep appreciation for the communities of Southeastern Vermont. Dan Yates, BS&L’s president for the past 17 years, is preparing to enter a well deserved retirement at the end of this year.
Deb comes to us from Berkshire Bank, where she served as senior vice president for compliance and was instrumental in growing their assets from $2 billion to $13 billion bank by the time she left to join BS&L. Having grown up in Adams, MA, Deb took her university degree in economics and finance into public service as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Seeing so many banks from the inside helped her to learn the fundamentals of banking as well as to become an expert at risk management and compliance issues. Her first job out of the government was with Woronoco Savings Bank in Westfield, MA, where they were suffering from compliance issues that wouldn’t allow them to grow as they wished. Deb cleared up the issues in six months and the bank began to thrive. This became a specialty of Deb’s that has followed her throughout her career, leading her to Berkshire Bank and now to BS&L.
Though she has been the driver of amazing growth, what attracted her to this role at BS&L is more than that. “I love what I do and am proud of all that my teams have achieved,” said Deb, “however, I’m at a point in my career where my values must align with the bank and community I serve and that’s what brought me here.” Deb sees both the challenge and opportunity of BS&L remaining a mutual bank and a B Corporation®—two things that stood out and attracted her to this role. “BS&L stands out as a mutual bank owned by stakeholders rather than shareholders,” said Deb, “We are the last one standing against the mighty stock banks and our way forward is clear: to be the bank that builds community.”
“It was a really rigorous search for us,” said Carmen Derby, BS&L’s board Chair. “We expected great candidates, but were a little surprised at just how much interest there was in taking this role at BS&L. Over and over, candidates talked about the values of the bank and the communities it serves, which means we’re doing something really right.” For Deb, values are at the center of all she’s done in her career. “I have loved my career but every decision I’ve made has always had to be compatible with my family and their needs,” said Deb. Deb’s two daughters, 21 and 23, play soccer like their mother—the younger currently playing for Merrimack College—and Deb looks forward to other outdoor opportunities in the area. “I’ve always enjoyed being with friends and family as well as hiking. I’m hoping my husband and I will be taking up snowshoeing this winter as well,” said Deb.
As for what’s first on her agenda as the new president and CEO, Deb says that meeting with people and listening is her first focus. “This bank is special and it’s not my goal to come in and start changing things,” said Deb. “Unlike many other banks I’ve joined, I’m not here to ‘fix’ BS&L, but to grow the things that already make it amazing and a true community bank.” For the first couple of months, Deb will overlap with Dan Yates and hopes to glean as much information and institutional knowledge as possible to continue the good things that have come to represent BS&L, “I’m excited and humbled by this opportunity and I hope that we can maintain who we are in a way that’s authentic to this bank and community. I want us to grow as a vibrant and resilient community bank.”
About Brattleboro Savings & Loan
Brattleboro Savings & Loan was established in 1912 to serve the financial needs of local residents. Today, as a state-chartered mutual savings bank and Certified B Corporation®, BS&L has expanded its reach to provide a full range of commercial and consumer banking services, with branch offices in Brattleboro, Wilmington and Bondville, and a mortgage lending office in West Dover. The Bank’s wealth management division, Park Place Financial Advisors, provides investment and financial planning services.
Additional information on BS&L is available by contacting Cassie Kelley at email@example.com.