Chairman, President and CEO, The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank

Dorothy Savarese draws inspiration from her ability to make a positive difference in the communities her bank serves.

Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank has a branch on Nantucket, and the rising cost and lack of affordable housing on the affluent island have made it increasingly difficult for many hardworking residents to remain there. To combat this problem, the bank signed on to be the construction lender on a housing organization's plan to build affordable single-family homes.

The $2.9 billion-asset company also made loans to some of the project's first residents, including a school teacher and her husband, who is a manager at a local brewery. The bank played a significant role in allowing the couple to remain on the island with their 18-month-old son, and pictures of the couple celebrating their new home brought Savarese to tears.

"I feel so privileged to have a job in an industry where I can play a role in supporting our customers on their life journeys, provide meaningful employment and satisfaction to our dedicated staff and support efforts to help our communities thrive," said Savarese, who is chairman, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts bank.

In her role as CEO — she was promoted to the post in 2005 — Savarese has become one of the industry's most passionate advocates for community banking. She speaks frequently at industry conferences about small banks' role in their communities, has served on the FDIC's Advisory Committee on Community Banking and is a former chair of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. In perhaps the greatest testament to her influence, Savarese last year was named incoming chair of the American Bankers Association. She will be only the second woman to hold the one-year post when she takes over in October.

Savarese has also been a vocal advocate for females in banking. During her stint as chair of the Massachusetts Bankers Association, Savarese created and presided over the state's first-ever Women in Banking conference. It is now an annual event, drawing bankers from across the state.

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