Mary Ettinger, SVP, Commercial Real Estate Lender, BankRI (Bank Rhode Island): NEREJ

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Maria Ettinger
BankRI

What was the biggest lesson you learned while working during the pandemic? As great as it was to turn to technology to keep doing business, nothing replicates these face-to-face customer interactions. Relationships are so important to us at BankRI and critical to how we support our clients, and that is especially true during this one-off crisis. Knowing our customers as well as we did made a real difference in meeting their unexpected needs, but also how they handled them during the pandemic. For me, the last 20+ months have really confirmed how much customers value our relationship banking model.

What is the best advice you have been given and from whom? This is advice I’ve heard from a number of people, and it really reflects the way I try to live every day which is not to get attached to the negatives. It might sound like cliché, but it’s absolutely true: positivity creates positivity. You can’t get busy with things that you can’t control, and it’s important to remember that there is always a solution to a problem – some just take more time and work to figure it out than others.

What was your greatest professional achievement or most notable project, business, or transaction in 2021? The last year really was all about my clients, considering which was most notable. I’ve always found this work rewarding, but that became even more important in 2021. It was great to be able to help clients finance new properties or projects when we helped them stay afloat with a PPP loan just a year earlier. Especially in this constantly changing environment, nothing is more important for those who rely on us as a financial partner than to be agile and to surpass themselves.

What are your predictions for your industry in 2022? While we are still experiencing a pandemic, there are some positive signs that we are through the worst and will continue to see general improvement and growth. I assume that the demand for industrial / residential projects will continue and that maintaining it in the market will continue to be attractive. These have been in constant demand over the past few years and I do not assume that this will change drastically. I also see that innovation and creativity among developers in this area will remain a positive, strong element in the coming year.


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