Meet & Greet

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2,632 Reasons To Be A Mortgage Banker

At least a few future mortgage bankers may someday have retired baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. to thank for their careers. As the new spokesman for NewDay USA, a VA, FHA and reverse mortgage lender, Ripken will headline not only the company's philanthropy and community outreach efforts but also its education and training efforts through NewDay USA University, a program to prepare college graduates for jobs in mortgage banking.

Team Builder

A long-awaited recovery in housing finally seems to be taking hold, at least in certain parts of the country, and a handful of banks are making their move. Among them: Oregon-based Umpqua Bank, which recently started up a homebuilder finance group to provide construction and development loans in the Pacific Northwest. Kelly Warter, who has more than 30 years of homebuilder finance experience, has been hired to oversee the group. She is based in Seattle.

Friends, Rivals

Their respective employers are fierce rivals in northern New Jersey, but that did not stop Domenick Cama, COO at Investors Bancorp, from introducing Christopher Martin, the chairman and CEO of Provident Financial Services, at a benefit where Martin was recognized for his volunteer work in the community.

This wasn't a peacemaking effort arranged by the American Jewish Committee of New Jersey, which organized the dinner. Martin asked Cama himself to do the honors of introducing him at the event.

Cama says the two have been friends for more than two decades, and their families are tight. So is the competition between their banks. Investors' president and CEO, Kevin Cummings, compares the relationship to the storied rivalry of Macy's and Gimbels.

But for at least one night, the rivalry was set aside. "Provident is a great bank," said Cummings.

Rollins to BancorpSouth

BancorpSouth was taking so long to fill its vacant CEO post, a lot of folks were wondering if the Tupelo, Miss., company was looking for a buyer instead. But then it announced it had landed Dan Rollins for the roll. "This puts that rumor to bed," Mercer Capital's Jeff Davis noted when he learned about the appointment. Under Rollins, who had a highly successful run as the president and COO of Prosperity Bancshares in Houston, it's more likely that BancorpSouth will be a consolidator, rather than a target, Davis said.

Smooth Sailing

For some bank CEOs of a certain age, retirement might mean a chance to move on from a job that just isn't much fun anymore. But not Joseph Murphy.

Murphy, CEO of Bar Harbor Bankshares and its $1.3 billion-asset Bar Harbor Bank & Trust in Maine, says his pending retirement has nothing to do with the fatiguing headwinds the industry faces. After all, Bar Harbor hasn't had a down year, never mind a loss, in the 11 years he's been leading the company. It has tripled in size, more than doubled its business banking base, expanded its retail presence and preserved its dividend.

But at 70, Murphy and his fellow board members agreed it's a good time to find a successor. Kaplan Associates, a search firm in Philadelphia, will help evaluate internal and external candidates.

"Even though we're a local bank in Maine, we have shareholders in 30-odd states and we felt we needed to do a really strong, fiduciary, responsible search," Murphy says. "That's how I got here in 2002. We all think, humbly, that it worked out pretty well."

And especially so for Murphy, who says that growing up in New London, Conn., he always wanted to be a bank president in a seacoast, New England town. "Up here in Bar Harbor," he says, "I've found what I pretty much consider my dream job,".

Committee of 1 (So Far)

Gateway Bank CEO Jeffrey Cheung is very proud to have been named to the OCC's new Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee-so proud, it seems, that his bank put out a press release about the appointment before the OCC was ready to go public with its own announcement disclosing the makeup of the committee. So at press time, it was a mystery as to who the other members would be. But there are only 181 MDIs, in case that helps to narrow things down.

According to Gateway Bank, a $247 million-asset thrift based in San Francisco, committee members will serve a two-year term and will convene at least twice a year to advise the OCC. Cheung says Gateway is one of only 14 remaining minority thrift institutions in the country, putting him in a unique position to offer input to the agency.

The Shuffle Continues

JPMorgan Chase's decision this summer to create a combined corporate and investment bank is continuing to impact the architecture of the company's senior management team.

In the latest reshuffling, Greg Guyett, head of the corporate bank at JPMorgan Chase, will move into a new, not-yet-determined role to make way for treasury services chief Don McCree, who adds the global corporate bank to his list of responsibilities. Both Guyett and McCree sit on the company's executive committee. McCree is a big supporter of his alma mater, the University of Vermont. He and his family have funded a scholarship in their name at the school, and McCree (class of '83) is a founding board member of the UVM Foundation.

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(Image: iStock)

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