PORTSMOUTH – After 39 years at Piscataqua Savings Bank, President and CEO Rick Wallis will retire on September 30.
Wallis, who has served as chief executive officer since 2012, will be replaced as head of the bank’s management by Joan Gile, who has worked for the mutual savings bank for 34 years.
Gile will be the 13th CEO of the local bank, founded in 1877. All 12 of his predecessors were men.
“I am honored to be the bank’s first female president,” Gile, 61, said in an interview Thursday.
Wallis, 62, joined Pisacataqua Savings Bank after graduating from the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire in 1981. He was recruited into a newly established officer training program and worked his way up through the ranks. regularly, spending most of his career as a mortgage loan officer. .
Wallis said that in retirement he and his wife, Karene, were eager to travel and looked forward to the arrival of their first grandchild. He said he would miss his daily interactions at the bank with its 41 employees and some 10,000 customers.
“Most of my career has been in the lending business, helping people buy their first homes, helping them with their finances,” Wallis said. “I met a lot of nice people and made a lot of good friends, people who after 30 years still remember me and come to see me.”
The Piscataqua Savings Bank has just one office, a recently renovated historic building located at 15 Pleasant Street in the heart of the Main Market Square. The bank is surrounded by well-designed gardens open to the community. The bank’s physical location reflects its mission, which has at its core the needs of its members and the communities it serves. As a mutual savings bank, it is owned by its members and managed by 60 corporators chosen from among its members and eight trustees chosen from among the corporators.
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Wallis proudly notes that during his 10 years as President and CEO, the Piscataqua Savings Bank has donated over $ 1 million to community organizations involved in the arts, housing, health, the elderly, young people and children.
During the pandemic last year, the bank donated $ 113,000 to local organizations including the Portsmouth Clipper Strong Fund, PopUpNH, Cross Roads House, Seacoast Family Promise, The Salvation Army and many more .
Jay Gibson, who retired as president and CEO in 2012 and resigned as chairman of the bank’s trustees this month, praises Wallis’ ‘insightful leadership’ , and said Gile had “the experience, education and what it’s going to take to maintain this culture and lead the Bank into the future.” “
Gile, who like Wallis lives in Dover, studied to be a teacher and took a part-time banking job while seeking a suitable teaching position. Her husband, Michael, is a recently retired longtime math teacher at Dover High School.
“My degree is in teaching, but I walked into banking and never looked back,” Gile said.
She has spent most of her career at Piscataqua Savings Bank on the operations side of the business, or what she called the “deposit side” of the business. At the time of her promotion, she held the position of Executive Vice President and was deeply involved in the bank’s strategic planning efforts.
Wallis and Gile both note the bank’s certification in 2019 as a B Corp by B Labs, one of only two New Hampshire banks to win this honor, which recognizes a company’s commitment to the environment, its workers, its customers, the community and the quality of its governance.
Piscataqua Savings is a small bank by industry standards, with $ 350 million in assets and an additional $ 360 million in its trust division. Wallis said the bank is well capitalized to continue its mission of serving customers and the community into the future.
“The New Hampshire banking industry is very strong,” Wallis said. “It’s well capitalized. We weathered the storm very well last year and I have no doubts that this particular bank will be there for the long haul.
Wallis said he intended to remain active in community organizations during his retirement and would continue to serve the bank as a corporator.