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Five Questions With: John Silva

John Silva, Senior VP - Commercial LendingBy Eli Sherman
Providence Business News Staff Writer

John Silva is senior vice president of Rhode Island commercial lending for Bristol County Savings Bank. A prominent Rhode Island banker, he joined the Taunton-based institution after working more than two decades with larger, regional banks, including Santander and its predecessor Sovereign Bank. Silva talks with Providence Business News about his transition, the new role and the Rhode Island business climate.


PBN: What made you want to join Bristol County Savings Bank?

SILVA: After more than 26 years working for a large regional bank and its predecessors, I felt that it was time for me to get back to my local Rhode Island business roots. Bristol County Savings Bank is a successful local community bank with over 170 years of assisting and giving back to the communities it serves. That weighed heavily in my decision to join the bank as did its commitment to Rhode Island’s small-business market, its common sense approach to commercial lending and the longevity of its employees, measured in decades, not months. The bank has a very loyal customer base, treats its employees well and has a great reputation. The improved work-life balance is also a welcomed bonus for my family.

PBN: Are there advantages to working at a community bank compared with a larger, regional bank? Why or why not?

SILVA: Both regional and community banks strive to serve their respective markets and have their advantages and disadvantages. What I like most about working for a community bank is the reduced bureaucracy in decision-making and the size of businesses we serve. At a community bank, your business is personally handled by an experienced commercial lender and you have access to decision makers, no matter the size of your company. The result is that we make a direct, positive impact on the growth of these businesses in a shorter amount of time and that is a big advantage of which we are proud.

PBN: What’s your take on today’s business climate in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts and how do you see that changing in the future?

SILVA: I see a slow and steady improvement in the local business climate and I am bullish on this region. Rhode Island is slowly but surely coming along. Its commitment to growing a technology base will have long-term benefits, especially in retention of our young talent, and manufacturing seems to be holding its own. Construction isn’t what it used to be, but if we could get some cranes in the air in Providence the mood might change for the better. Southeastern Massachusetts, in my opinion, is a little further along in improving their economic situation. Both Fall River and New Bedford are undergoing a nice resurgence with lots of redevelopment happening along their waterfronts.

PBN: How will you add value to the bank’s commercial lending arm?

SILVA: Bristol County Savings Bank is designated an SBA Preferred Lender by the U.S. Small Business Administration and has experienced success in developing and growing its commercial lending portfolio in the Rhode Island market. In fact, the bank has grown its Rhode Island loan business to the point that it represents one-third of the bank’s total loan portfolio. In the last few years we have accomplished this growth without a full-time executive leader dedicated exclusively to the Rhode Island market. I feel that my years of commercial banking experience in the Ocean State, the relationships that I have cultivated and contacts that I have built, as well as my leadership abilities, will add value for our continued growth and expansion in this market.

PBN: What are your goals for growing the Bank’s commercial lending business in Rhode Island?

SILVA: The bank prides itself in executing controlled and disciplined growth. One of the reasons I took on this leadership role is our intention to grow and expand in Rhode Island. We look to strategically expand our commercial lending business in the state first by broadening our outreach and adding to the team and then potentially opening another location within Rhode Island. It is important to note that we have been in Rhode Island for over 15 years and are fully committed to growth by helping businesses succeed in this market and supporting local communities. Stay tuned.

John Silva can be contacted at the Bank by calling 401-722-4770 or at john.silva@bcsbmail.com.