For Dorothy Savarese, the financial crisis has in some ways amounted to a restoration of the principals that guide her institution, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank. "This current turmoil has shone a light on the value of" conservative underwriting and a mission tuned to long-term durability that "should be embedded as part of the overall offering," she says.

The century-and-a-half old mutual has deepened its roots. It picked up mortgage businesses from national lenders that have been damaged or felled by the housing collapse. Cape Cod Five has also enlarged its deposit portfolio, grown its wealth management arm, and had increased assets by 10.1 percent, to $1.9 billion, in the 12 months that ended June 30.

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