Most Powerful Women in Banking: Dorothy Savarese, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank

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Chair and CEO

For the chief executive of a bank with not quite $4 billion of assets, Dorothy Savarese wields a lot of clout.

The head of Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank in Hyannis, Mass., since 2005, Savarese serves on community bank advisory councils for both the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, is a member of Gov. Charlie Baker’s economic development task force and is a past chair of the American Bankers Association.

Policymakers seek her counsel in large part because of her success in building the bank, known as Cape Cod 5 for short, into one of New England’s most influential community banks. Assets have more than doubled during her tenure and her bank has, by far, the top market share on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

Cape Cod 5 is also mindful of its responsibility as a corporate citizen, as evidenced by its longtime commitment to financing affordable housing and initiatives aimed at combating climate change. The bank has placed solar panels atop its new headquarters building, makes loans to help customers install their own solar panels and sponsored conferences by the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative to make other businesses aware of what they can do. Savarese joined the nonprofit’s board this year.

“This isn’t theoretical for us,” said Savarese, who, since moving to Cape Cod in 1993, has witnessed the encroaching march of climate change in the form of more severe storms and more acidic oceans. “To me, it’s a very natural fit for a community bank to be focused on this.”

Another of Savarese’s top priorities is succession planning. Savarese last year named Matthew Burke and Robert Talerman as co-presidents, a move that allowed other executives to move up the ranks, including 10 women who are now poised to rise even higher as members of the bank’s expanded 23-person leadership team.

For the first time, American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking celebration is open to the whole financial community. Join us virtually October 6-8 to hear our 2020 honorees' stories and experiences. Register here.

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