Four years after Sovereign Bank was acquired by global banking giant Banco Santander SA, which is based in Spain, the name change to Santander Bank will become official on Oct. 17. That impending change, even though many in the financial community consider it just about a name, will nevertheless put Sovereign’s Region President for Southern New England Brian A. Azar in the spotlight.
With continuous shifts in the banking industry and tough competition locally, Azar has his feet solidly on the ground in Rhode Island’s financial territory. He gives Sovereign/Santander a strong local voice as the bank does its best to take advantage of the name change to highlight upgraded facilities, services and strength in the international marketplace.
PBN: Does the approaching date of the official name change from Sovereign Bank to Santander add a layer of stress to your banking responsibilities?
AZAR: I don’t see it as stressful. I’ve built a career over 28 years and I think we’re sending good messaging about local management that will allow a seamless transition. I think as a spokesperson here locally, I’m very comfortable. I was born here, raised here and went to college in Rhode Island, so I’m very excited to be leading the message going forward about delivering convenient and innovative solutions for our customers. I still view myself as that branch manager, doing my best to help meet the needs of customers, whether it’s growing their business or buying their first home. At my very core, at the heart of what I do every day, I always try to keep the customer as my main focus. That’s not stressful at all. That’s very rewarding.
PBN: What changes in Sovereign and its place in the Rhode Island banking community have you seen during the nine years you’ve worked with the bank?