Five Questions With: Mark McGwin

In his latest role in a lengthy banking career, Mark McGwin has been hired by Rockland Trust in the newly created position of first vice president/senior market manager for franchise lending. He will be based out of the Rockland, Mass.-based bank’s office in downtown Providence.

In his new position, McGwin’s responsibilities include establishing underwriting guidelines and commercial loan policies specific to franchise finance in the “quick-serve restaurant” sector. He also will evaluate multi-brand financing opportunities for the bank, targeting “Tier 1” quick-serve brands.

McGwin has more than 25 years of experience in financial services and commercial banking. Prior to joining Rockland Trust, he was senior vice president and commercial banking officer of franchise lending for United Bank. He also has held executive and management positions at Santander Bank, Century Bank, Citizens Bank, and Old Stone Bank. He has a bachelor’s degree in management and finance from Providence College.

PBN: What lead you to join Rockland Trust and why did the bank create a new position for you?

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MCGWIN: Rockland Trust has an excellent reputation in this region due to the expertise and thoughtfulness of their employees. It was very appealing to join a company that is so collaborative, and customer focused. This is a bank that values long-term relationships rather than simply executing transactions. This approach has brought the bank great success and has enabled them to continuously grow their footprint. It’s a very exciting atmosphere.

Rockland Trust’s continued growth has enabled the bank to expand the services it can provide to customers and prospects alike. Management felt it was the right time to develop their franchise lending capabilities and I am delighted to be on board to lead the strategy.

PBN: How does franchise lending work?

MCGWIN: Lenders typically lend against recurring cash-flow streams to support existing and future financing requirements. The funding is most often used to finance development, asset enhancements, or acquisition opportunities.

PBN: What distinguishes it from other types of commercial lending?

MCGWIN: Franchisees are organized around their affiliation with a known brand, such as Dunkin’ [formerly Dunkin’ Donuts]. This means they are licensing to gain access to someone else’s expertise, ideas and processes to operate and grow their business. It also means that there is a lot of familiarity within this customer base where basically everyone knows each other.

Lending to franchisees is also different in that, often, you are mostly lending against recurring cash flow, such as income from sales, rather than hard assets.

PBN: Will you only focus on the quick-serve restaurant sector?

MCGWIN: Because this is an emerging business line for the bank, the expectation is that our primary focus will be on the quick-serve sector to leverage my experience and relationships within that sector. We do intend to focus on the Northeast footprint as we ramp up this service line and we will consider opportunities in other markets on a case-by-case basis.

We are optimistic on the future of franchise lending at Rockland Trust and are excited to offer this capability to our current and future clients.

PBN: Which Tier 1 quick-serve restaurant brands will you target?

MCGWIN: Initially, I will be focusing on Dunkin’ … franchisees because of my existing customer relationships with the brand. [The] Dunkin’ … legacy market – eastern Massachusetts – overlaps with Rockland Trust’s legacy market, so it is a natural geographic fit.

As time goes by, we will look to expand deals with other franchise brands. What we will be looking for are experienced operators who are actively engaged in the business and desire a long-term, value-added banking relationship.

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at