Five Questions With: Pamela LaBreche

Pamela LaBreche was recently named vice president and business and commercial banking officer for BankNewport. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s in business administration, both from Providence College. She was also recognized in 2019 as a Rhode Island Small Business Association Financial Services Champion.

PBN: What are your top three priorities in your new role?

LABRECHE: My top priority is to be of service and responsive to the needs of my clients. Having been a small-business owner myself, I understand the importance of working with a banker who understands and responds to the changing needs of their business.

Having transitioned from a larger global bank (Citibank N.A.) to a community bank, I am also focused on forming meaningful connections with local partners such as the Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration, certified personal accountants, attorneys, various chambers of commerce, and other trusted advisors and community leaders. Together with their resources, partnership and programs, BankNewport is committed to serving the needs of small-business owners, and help them access the capital they need to start and grow.

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Third is to align myself with the tremendous talent, knowledge and expertise of the BankNewport leadership team and my colleagues. Their collective energy, dedication and passion to serve our clients and our communities align well with my personal goals and priorities.

PBN: How do high interest rates and economic uncertainty impact the bank’s ability to grow commercial and residential lending?

LABRECHE: The current interest rate environment is a particular challenge because rising rates make the cost of capital more expensive and the potential for a true recession is increasing. When growth in the economy slows, business growth can be impacted, and our customers may delay expansion and investments. We have, however, seen a lot of resiliency in businesses throughout the state.

The advantage of BankNewport is that our lending decisions are made right here in Rhode Island, which allows us to be extremely responsive to the diverse needs of our customers, including flexible lending and savings structures to help our clients quickly.

PBN: What are the biggest needs among bank business customers in recent years?

LABRECHE: In today’s environment, I think business customers have recognized the need to have a true relationship with a local bank – and a banker. Whether they need advice on automating payments, managing cash flow differently, fraud protection or access to capital, having a business banker to help advise them is most important.

BankNewport is well positioned to assist businesses of all sizes with these needs through our personalized high-touch approach, including on-site visits so our customers can stay focused on running their business.

PBN: You previously worked at Navigant Credit Union. How are the services, goals and strategies of a credit union similar to and different from a community bank?

LABRECHE: Both community banks and credit unions serve their communities. A credit union is a member-owned, not-for-profit institution. Community banks are FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.] insured and credit unions are NCUA [National Credit Union Administration] insured.

There are many reasons why BankNewport has been a Rhode Island financial institution for more than 200 years. As a community bank, we have helped generations of families and businesses prosper by staying focused on exceptional service, competitive products and continuing to provide new and innovative ways to do business and provide value to our customers.

With the opening of our new Lincoln branch slated for summer 2023, our BankNewport team looks forward to continuing our role as a true community partner and neighbor, further expanding our services throughout the state.

PBN: You have been recognized by the SBA as a Rhode Island Financial Services Champion, among other accolades. What do you think sets your work apart, and what advice would you give to others in the industry to excel?

LABRECHE: As a member of the BankNewport team, I genuinely subscribe to our motto of being “All In.” We truly believe that by helping individuals and businesses succeed financially, the whole community thrives.

I am most proud of testimony from my SBA Champion Award that noted how sincerity and being a champion for my clients demonstrated the true meaning of a community bank. And I carry with me key lessons learned over my professional career – to be responsive, always stay humble and kind, and be grateful for what you have been given.

Lastly, we are only as successful as the team we surround ourselves with. I have been fortunate to have had several banking colleague mentors, industry partners and professionals who have supported, encouraged and, at times, challenged me. Having the right team to meet your clients’ needs is critical to your own success.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at