BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – After a multi-state search, Brattleboro Savings & Loan (BS&L) recently welcomed Deborah Stephenson to the position of president. Current president Dan Yates will retire at the end of this year after 17 years in that role.
Stephenson comes to BS&L from Berkshire Bank, where she served as senior vice president for Compliance and helped grow the bank’s assets from $2 billion to $13 billion.
She first took her university degree in economics and finance into public service as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Seeing so many banks from the inside helped her to learn the fundamentals of banking as well as to become an expert at risk management and compliance issues. Her first job out of the government was with Woronoco Savings Bank in Westfield, which was suffering from compliance issues that Stephenson helped clean up. This became a specialty that has followed her throughout her career, leading her to Berkshire Bank and now to BS&L.
“It was a really rigorous search for us,” said Carmen Derby, BS&L’s board chair. “We expected great candidates, but were a little surprised at just how much interest there was in taking this role at BS&L. Over and over, candidates talked about the values of the bank and the communities it serves, which means we’re doing something really right.”
Stephenson said meeting with people and listening is her first focus. “This bank is special, and it’s not my goal to come in and start changing things. Unlike many other banks I’ve joined, I’m not here to ‘fix’ BS&L, but to grow the things that already make it amazing and a true community bank.”
For the first couple of months, she will overlap with Yates and hopes to glean as much information and institutional knowledge as possible.
“I’m excited and humbled by this opportunity and I hope that we can maintain who we are in a way that’s authentic to this bank and community,” she said. “I want us to grow as a vibrant and resilient community bank.”