Hal Horvat was recently promoted to president and chief operating officer of Centreville Bank.
He talks with Providence Business News about the new job, his goals and how he’d like to see the bank grow.
PBN: How does it feel to be appointed president of the bank?
HORVAT: Centreville Bank is one of the oldest banks in Rhode Island, with a 190-year history serving people and businesses in our communities. We have a dedicated team of seasoned bankers who are committed to helping our customers and growing our business, and a customer base that has been with us for generations. I’m thankful to the board of trustees for their confidence in me and my ability to lead the next chapter of the bank’s story.
PBN: What are your goals for this position?
HORVAT: Working with the senior management team and our trustees, I’m focused on continuing the transformation of our lines of business, facilities, and sales and service culture that began last year, and leveraging our brand power to expand our market beyond our traditional Kent County footprint.
PBN: How would you like to see the bank grow?
HORVAT: At our April 12 annual meeting, we reported that 2017 was a successful year for the bank, with a 3.5 percent growth in total assets. While our 150 percent growth in commercial lending and designation as top Rhode Island SBA 504 lender were important parts of that story, we also originated more than $50 million in residential mortgages in a very competitive market and redesigned the way we interact with customers in our branches. Looking ahead, I would like to see both commercial and residential lending become greater parts of our asset mix, and to increase our deposit share in South County and Providence County.
PBN: What can the bank do to make that happen?
HORVAT: We are making investments in people, expanding our product mix and leveraging technologies that allow us to compete with anyone in our marketplace. On the retail side, we recently hired two regional sales managers to help individual branches grow their business.
We are also beginning to modernize all our branches, starting with East Greenwich and our main branch in West Warwick. These renovations will facilitate communication between customers and bankers, and will utilize the latest technology, such as interactive teller machines.
In residential lending, we introduced a new online application process last year that has significantly shortened the loan approval to closing process and is making it much easier for our loan applicants and loan officers to manage the necessary paperwork. On average, we are now closing loans in less than 30 days.
In early April, we returned to the Rhode Island Home Show in a new trade show exhibit created especially for the show. And in commercial lending, we are working hard to deepen and expand our existing relationships by learning about our clients’ industries and understanding what types of financing they need to succeed and grow. Some of our client success stories are featured in our print, outdoor, broadcast and online marketing campaign.
Finally, we have increased our community giving through the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation. Last year, our board approved a $10 million donation to ensure the foundation’s future. This funding is being used to support the missions of many local nonprofits that are working hard to make life better for the people who live and work in Rhode Island.
PBN: How would you describe the local economy this year and what’s your outlook?
HORVAT: Positive on both accounts. We are seeing growth and investment in commercial real estate development. On the residential lending side, demand is strong, but the lack of housing inventory in Rhode Island remains a challenge for everyone in the mortgage and real estate business.