Patriot Exec Judith Corprew on Role of Bank Boards

In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, the banking industry underwent dramatic changes at multiple levels. This has created new and significant challenges for the boards of directors serving this industry.

“Today’s boards are under more pressure than ever before,” said Christopher Gruseke, president and CEO at New Canaan-headquartered Bankwell. “It is management’s job to run the institution, but it is the board’s responsibility to make sure, on behalf of the shareholders, that management does its job. It’s not a small task to be bank director.”

And thanks to digital technology, board members are finding themselves on call at all hours. Nicholas Coriano, founding partner and CEO at the Bridgeport-based investment relations consultancy Cervitude Inc., observed that today’s directors are continuously updated through emails and text messaging. “Management needs to make sure there is continuous communications with their board, otherwise everyone is not on the same page,” he said.

Nor are the communications between management and the board expected to be a one-way endeavor. “Ours is expected to be more hands on,” said Judith Corprew, executive vice president for compliance and risk at Stamford-based Patriot Bank. “Our regulators want to see a board that is very well involved. The board is important to management team — and you don’t get that kind of understanding with a high turnover.”

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