40 Under 40 The Class of 2016

Brian Canina

Chief Financial Officer, PeoplesBank; Age 38

Brian Canina

Brian Canina

Brian Canina calls himself a “math geek,” which has served him well in both phases of his career.

First, he earned a degree in accounting and worked for Wolf & Co. in Boston, then in Springfield. That firm’s niche is in banking, and he audited banks for a decade before being contacted about an open controller position at PeoplesBank in 2009. Late last year, he was named CFO.

“Essentially, I oversee all the financial aspects of the bank,” he explained. “I manage the loans and deposit balances and financial statements for the bank. We have to make sure we’re lending out at higher rates than we’re taking money in, make sure the bank stays financially healthy. From that standpoint, I manage the bank’s assets and liabilities and also financial reporting.”

In that role, he has increasingly embraced new technology, using sophisticated business-intelligence tools to ensure PeoplesBank remains competitive and responsive to customer needs. “That’s a new undertaking, this concept of big data, where we gather different data sources around the bank and bring it into one large database, then slice and dice and analyze it to get to know our customers better, see which customers are using which products. That’s the wave of the future, and we’re probably one of the first community banks around here using data analysis like that.”

That’s typical for PeoplesBank, which prides itself on staying on the cutting edge in banking. “We’re a smaller community bank, so we’re not going to be the one that comes out with anything first, but we consider ourselves fast followers behind the big banks, and typically first to market in Western Mass. with some of the up-and-coming technologies in banking.”

He says the math geek in him truly enjoys the strategic aspects of his job. “I love digging into numbers to find trends and different things that can give us an advantage.”

The father of two children, Aidan and Addison, with his wife, Sarah, Canina clearly has a heart for kids. So, in his spare time, he helps young people get a leg up in life, from coaching youth sports to his work as a board member for Children’s Study Home in Springfield, which serves young people and families with special needs, including behavioral, psychiatric, and cognitive issues related to experiences they’ve survived.

“It’s a little overwhelming how many different things they do. They’re active in so many different aspects of children’s lives,” he said. “I enjoy being part of that in any way I can. Getting involved in the community and helping children in need is probably one of the best things anyone can do.”

— Joseph Bednar

Photography by Leah Martin Photography

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