There’s a new financial presence in Rhode Island, Customers Bank, with some familiar faces, including Steve Issa, the bank’s New England market president.
The downtown Providence office in the Textron building is the New England headquarters for the Wyomissing, Pa.-based bank. A second regional office is located in Boston.
But the offices, the nine Providence employees, seven Boston employees, and even the 40 or so commercial customers, are the same as the ones Flagstar Bank had before its New England division was acquired by Customers Bank on March 29.
“We even have the same phone numbers. That’s why our customers didn’t have any trouble reaching us,” said Issa, a long-time presence in Rhode Island banking who officially assumed his new post on April 29.
Issa was president of Flagstar’s New England market in February when Customers Bank announced the acquisition of all of Flagstar’s commercial banking business in the region for approximately $149 million.
The clients in Customers Bank’s New England commercial loan portfolio are about divided between Providence and Boston, said Issa.
“They’re manufacturers, professional firms, service companies, distributors and some real estate developers,” Issa said.
Like many financial institutions, Customers Bank is aiming for an increasing slice of middle-market customers. The Providence and Boston division, called the New England Private and Commercial Lending Team, is in the thick of the competition.
“They’ve been very active in the last 30 days,” said Dick Ehst, president of Customers Bank and Customers Bankcorp, who is based at the bank’s Pennsylvania offices outside Philadelphia.
“The whole focus is to become the bank of choice for what we refer to as middle-market companies, typically from $10 million in sales up to $150 million in sales,” Ehst said.