Granite State of Mind, #138: Citizens Bank, Shaw's Branch, Portsmouth
During my six years in harness at Citizens Bank, I had offices in lots of different branches. My usual haunts were Exeter, Portsmouth, and Dover, but my travels as a business banking officer led me to plug in my laptop and get work done all over the state, from Colebrook to Hampton Falls and almost everywhere in between (even over the border to Amesbury). The bank rarely meant brick and mortar to me. It was almost always about people - customers, of course, but also colleagues. The branch staff were always friendly partners, whether Amanda Holtschulte Kelcourse down in Amesbury or Martha S. Bertsimas in Stratham and Rochester, or Lisa Gainty in Portsmouth, or the Heintzelman wonder twins in Raymond and Hampton Falls, or all the others I'm failing to mention.
My favorite branch to visit was, oddly enough, in a grocery store. Dropping in for office hours or appointments at the in-store branch at the Woodbury Avenue Shaw's was equal parts moneymaking and merrymaking, due almost entirely to the presence of Christopher G. Scatamacchia and Andy Horvath. We did some good work together, sometimes even during business hours. Collegiality became friendship, and we began taking our show on the road once the ties were off. We brought babies to bars, defended Peep-eating titles, dominated Baggo tournaments, and drunkenly inflated boxing toys in the kitchen at midnight while someone's very pregnant wife just wanted to go to bed.
As families grew and careers mutated, it became harder to convene the Bankers Three. Still, we've seen Super Bowls majestically and improbably won on the other side of the country, and it's always a point to get together when we're all in New Hampshire at the same time. It's one of the many gangs I look forward to rebooting when the permanent move home happens during the next year. Just find the time on my calendar, fellas. I'll close the deal.