KINGSTON–James Davenport is confident about the future of Rondout Savings Bank, even as he gets ready to say goodbye to the 88-member staff and countless customers that make up the community institution.
The president and chief executive officer recently announced that he is stepping down at the end of the year and moving South to follow his wife’s career opportunity.
Davenport has had a role at Rondout for 16 years–10 of them as president. The High Falls native has called it a “great ride” and “rewarding” experience.
In a way, it has come full circle for the beloved 62-year-old business executive.
He started his career as a commercial banking and credit analyst at First Union in North Carolina, where he is returning for the next chapter of his life.
“We’re heading down to Charlotte. My wife, Nancy, has accepted an executive position with Brighthouse Financial, which is part of Met Life,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for her, and she followed me around for about 25 years with my career, and it’s time for me to support her and her opportunity with Brighthouse Financial.”
Davenport expects to be living full-time in North Carolina by January. The couple will maintain property in Ulster County as a second residence.
As far as Rondout’s future, Davenport has nothing but the utmost confidence in the selection process for its next leader.
“The bank is very fortunate to have three people internally already who are knowledgeable with our bank, with our customers, with the community and with non-for-profits,” he said.
“The board is firmly committed to staying locally with whomever the next president and CEO is going to be. We have folks in-house that could easily handle this.”
One of Davenport’s legacies, which he anticipates will grow under the new leader, is its Dividends to the Community program, where close to $150,000 each year is given to local organizations and civic groups.
“I would like to see it double to 20 percent. Instead of $150,00 a year, I’d like that to go up to $300,000,” he said.
“That, to me, is the most important thing about this bank that we’ve been able to do. As our earnings have increased, we have been able to give back to hospitals, the Boy Scouts, the Y’s, the non-for-profits. That’s part of our culture here.”
Davenport’s influence also has been felt in other ways.
Under his leadership, Rondout’s assets have doubled, and the number of branches has increased from two to five–four in Ulster County and one in Hyde Park in Dutchess County.
His vision to develop the bank’s commercial lending has played a significant role in positioning the bank for further expansion.
Recent developments include a new loan production center.
Another extraordinary accomplishment under Davenport’s tenure has been its ranking as one of the strongest in the nation, “in areas of capital, loan quality and profitability,” according to a press release.
The bank’s “Best of Bauer Award of Excellence” is achieved by only 4.2 percent of the banks surveyed nationally.
A lot of that goes back to the bank’s original mission of “mutuality,” Davenport said.
“The bank was formed in 1868 before the current city of Kingston was formed. Mutuals were much more prevalent back then. They were set up for the working man and woman. We’re still here because the bank is humble, and we don’t grow too fast. I believe we are here for another 150 years.”
And while Davenport is heading South for a second phase, he doesn’t plan to sit around or play golf while his wife works.
“I’m hoping when I get down to North Carolina, I’ll find a good community bank that I can help out,” he said.