As we enter the closing months of 2020, I am as excited as ever for the future of South Shore Bank. We have a clear purpose, a strong financial institution, and a talented and knowledgeable team that is committed to our goals. And despite the many ups and downs of safely working through a pandemic to political and social unrest to an almost complete economic shutdown, we met these challenges head on and accomplished a lot this year.
Responding to the MA Stay At Home Advisory
When Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, issued his emergency stay at home advisory, we did not hesitate to activate our pandemic team that met daily to address issues and to ensure our clients could access funds and complete their banking transactions through our digital channels, drive-up windows, Face2Face live teller machines, ATMs, or by appointment. As the government moved into its phased reentry plan, our own South Shore Bank reentry team prepared to safely welcome clients back into eleven of our branch lobbies with precautions ranging from requiring face coverings to instituting deep cleaning and sanitizing procedures to directional floor markings for social distancing.
Delivering on the Paycheck Protection Program
When the federal government announced the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), our staff worked tirelessly to close over 1,000 Small Business PPP loans, resulting in over 13,000 local jobs saved. We are thankful for our role in helping local businesses and communities receive essential funding, although it did not feel right profiting on this program when so many people are facing hardships. For this reason, we used the net PPP proceeds to create the $500,000 South Shore Bank Community Fund to assist our clients impacted by the pandemic with making rent or mortgage payments.
Rebranding around the Idea of Shared Success
Through a rebranding initiative, we modernized and updated our brand to better reflect who we are – a belief that the most valuable and enduring success is success that is shared with those around us. And together, we help our people, clients, and communities build shared success. Building shared success is a core reason behind our decisions to create the South Shore Bank Community Fund and to fund the Mary E. Baker Memorial Scholarship to provide a full-time student of color from the City of Brockton one semester of tuition, fees, and books at Massassoit Community College.
Investing in our People, Technology, and Processes
One certainty throughout this year has been the accelerating pace of technological change and shifting client preferences for digital and virtual channels as evidenced in part with our call center hitting a new record in call volume managed. At South Shore Bank, we are rising to this challenge with continued investment in technologies, processes, and our people to deliver distinct and exceptional client experiences, while maintaining the important personal connections with our clients.
For example, we better integrated our residential lending area within our branch network with more branch professionals ready to assist clients with a home purchase or refinancing, along with online systems capable of providing personalized rate quotes or accepting an application. This fall, we launched Microsoft Bookings that provides greater access to our branch staff by allowing clients to schedule in person or virtual appointments through our website.
As a result of our collective efforts, our Bank reached a new milestone with assets exceeding $1.8 billion backed by record growth in new loans, deposits, and cash management services.
What is most impressive to me though is how our staff banded together as a team with many people stepping up into new roles to ensure our clients and communities were well served. This is what our new brand identity is all about as we commit to the needs of clients rather than to the demands of investors. We get to know our clients, act as knowledgeable resources, and ultimately work as positive catalysts building shared success for our employees, clients, and communities.
On behalf of myself, the board of directors, and our entire staff, we are thankful for your business and optimistic for our future together.
Very truly yours,