Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank names new president

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Paul Falvey of Hingham, a banker with 25 years experience, is the new president and CEO of The Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank.

Mr. Falvey will also serve as a trustee of the mutual savings bank headquartered in Edgartown, which has almost $700 million in assets under management, according to a press release.

The Board of Trustees made the announcement last Thursday. Mr. Falvey replaces former bank CEO and president Christopher Wells, who resigned May 30, for reasons he described as personal, but which generated much speculation.

Bank officials have refused all public comment on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Wells’s departure.

Thomas J. Sharkey, the bank’s chief financial officer, has served as interim president and chief executive of the bank during the search for a new top banker, told The Times that the bank is looking forward, not backwards.

“We are going to rely on our strong bank position to take us in a forward position, especially now that we have selected a new CEO,” he said.

In a telephone conversation Tuesday, Mr. Falvey said he and his family are not strangers to Martha’s Vineyard and have many seasonal and year round Island friends. “I spent a good amount of time on the Cape and islands growing up,” Mr. Falvey said. “My wife taught sailing at the Edgartown Yacht Club years ago.”

Asked about his decision to take a new job on the Island, Mr. Falvey, 48, said that he has always been willing to relocate for the right opportunity throughout his banking career.

“The bank is a very well respected franchise, very well capitalized, with very solid earnings and my assessment of the board is that it is a very committed board to the mutual ownership and the community,” he said. “They really care about the bank and the people of the Island and it comes through loud and clear.”

Mr. Falvey began his career as a management trainee at Bank of New England where he successfully completed formal lending, credit and bank operations training programs. He has spent most of the last 20 years building community-based lending businesses headquartered in New England and has worked closely with bank regulators throughout his career, according to a press release.

He played a key role in the transformation of a $100 million New England based community bank into a $1.4 billion regional leader. Most recently, he oversaw the successful restructuring of the Holbrook Cooperative Bank as President and CEO.

“We are excited that Paul has agreed to lead our organization,” Philip J. Norton of Edgartown, chairman of the board, said. “His experience building, leading and re-shaping lending institutions was key in the board’s selection process. His detailed and disciplined approach to Banking is critical in today’s dynamic banking industry.”

Frank Fenner of Chilmark, a longtime bank trustee and member of the CEO search committee, said, “Mr. Falvey emerged as the unanimous candidate to lead the bank after an extensive search and due diligence process.”

Mr. Falvey is a graduate of Hamilton College and earned his MBA with a concentration in Finance from Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute. He currently lives in Hingham with his wife and three children.

“I look forward to building on the sound foundation and past success achieved by the dedicated board and staff at Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank,” Mr. Falvey said. “It is an honor to lead one of the most highly regarded banking franchises in all of New England.”

At the time of his resignation, bank officials said nothing about the circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of Mr. Wells.

Mr. Wells arrived on the Vineyard in 2004, with a background in financial services and local banking on Cape Cod. In June 2007, while he was serving as president of the Dukes Country Savings Bank, it merged with the Martha’s Vineyard Co-operative Bank. Mr. Wells became president of what became the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank.

The mutual bank was chartered in 1955. It currently operates seven branches on the Island and one in Woods Hole and a trust and investment office in West Tisbury. Total assets under management were $700.8 million at June 30, 2012, according to a press release.