Five Questions with: Scott Baldinelli

Scott Baldinelli was recently named head of middle market banking in New England for Santander Bank. He previously served as senior vice president and division sales executive in commercial banking for Wells Fargo, where he worked for nearly 20 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in management from Providence College.

PBN: What does your new position entail?

Baldinelli: I manage a team of local relationship managers and together we provide custom credit, capital, treasury, risk management and international banking solutions to local New England businesses. Our teams partner with middle market companies, which we define as businesses from $10 million to more than $1 billion in annual revenues.

PBN: What are your top three goals in this position for the year ahead?

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Baldinelli: 1) First, get the message out about Santander Bank and the solutions we can provide to local and multinational companies. Based in Boston, we are the best-kept secret in town for businesses looking to grow in the region and/or internationally. Our international platform is best in class and our direct connectivity in Brazil/Latin America, Mexico/South America, the U.K., and Europe is unparalleled. Santander is New England’s international bank.

2) We are growing. We are actively on the lookout for talented bankers who want to join a growing team and bring the best of Santander to local New England businesses.

3) Continue to serve as a pillar of strength for the communities where we live and work. There are a lot of opportunities for us to help those in need and being new to Santander, it is really great to have joined a team that takes its community commitment this seriously – and wants to do more.

PBN:How has the pandemic impacted the way the bank, or the industry as a whole, seeks to increase business development and grow its market share? What challenges do you anticipate will come with these efforts?

Baldinelli: Commercial banking remains and will always be a relationship business. I believe there is still a strong desire for companies and their financial providers to sit across a table (face-to-face) and get to know each other. After all, banks do not lend money, people lend money. That is a lesson I learned from my grandfather who owned and operated his business, California Cleaners, on Westminster Street in Providence for over 58 years. While we have learned new ways to interact with new and existing clients remotely and virtually during the pandemic, I believe the best and most lasting impression is one that starts with a handshake…or maybe a fist bump.

PBN: A number of national and regional banks have announced plans to shutter branches in the coming year. How important are physical bank branch locations for developing and expanding business relationships? How does Santander plan to balance the need for brick and mortar with an increasingly digital/online usage?

Baldinelli: Physical branches remain important, particularly for retail customers. But, like many other industries, our clients’ preferences and behaviors are shifting, with more and more clients choosing to bank with us online. Our goal is to be as convenient as possible whether clients choose to bank with us online or in-person at a branch. In commercial banking, we tend to travel to our clients wherever it is most convenient for them.

PBN: Banks have increasingly announced efforts to eliminate financing barriers for minority-owned businesses, recognizing the challenges highlighted by the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. How do you plan to address this at Santander?

Baldinelli: PLAN – Prioritize, Listen, Adopt, Execute, and stay Nimble. I look forward as a new leader at Santander Bank to get involved in all efforts that are committed to eliminating any barriers that get in the way of racial justice and economic equality. I believe senior leadership must engage early and often as advocates to ensure that the community and minority-owned businesses understand that Santander Bank can be relied upon as a leader in this area. I sit in our Boston headquarters, just down the hall from our Santander U.S. CEO Tim Wennes, and I see how committed we are to growing the bank and being viewed as a strong community partner. We are doing great things, and I hope we don’t stay the best kept secret much longer.

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. Contact her at Lavin@PBN.com.

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