Although his career has followed a mostly financial path, Timothy Telman considers himself an entrepreneur first and a banker second.
Telman received his undergraduate degree in economics from Boston College and continued his education at Babson College, where he earned his MBA. He spent 16 years in downtown Boston, holding positions with Bank of New England, Bank of Boston and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.
He took a slight detour when he left banking and became co-owner and CFO of Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises. But banking was in his blood and, in 2006, Telman returned to the industry, this time as founder of a financial institution.
After 18 intense months of preparation, Telman opened the doors to the Bank of Cape Cod in September 2006, the first community, state-chartered, commercial bank to open since 1998. “Having created a bank with 38 professional, year-round positions in a seasonal community like Cape Cod is one of my greatest professional accomplishments,” he said. “The odds are heavily against success. When we opened, our biggest challenge was getting our first customer and then the next customer.”
But Telman has overcome the odds – from $12 million in assets at the outset, that figure is now closer to $245 million. “You have to be focused and keep your eye on the ball. You could easily fail in the first few years,” he said. “Our competition has been around for 100 years in some cases. We have to create the institution, grow it and manage it.”
Telman’s entrepreneurial spirit and deep involvement in the community prompted Mark Skala, vice president of marketing and community relations, to nominate him for a Community Bank Hero award. “He sees firsthand the need that exists on Cape Cod,” Skala said. “He’s a very hands-on president and CEO. He has boundless energy.”
Telman serves on the boards of Sturgis Charter Public School, the Cape Cod Times Needy Fund and the Cape Cod Health Care Foundation. “He tries to provide his talents and experience to a wide group of organizations on the Cape,” Skala noted. “At the bank, he promotes the United Way and Arts on the Cape. The bank is also a legacy sponsor of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Hyannis Museum. Tim believes it’s important to help people understand the legacy of JFK as it relates to Cape Cod.”
Telman believes the bank’s mission overlaps with the organizations it supports. “It’s important to be a good corporate citizen,” he said. “With limited resources we have to determine how to have the biggest impact in the community,” including paid time off for employees to volunteer at organizations of their choice.
Telman tries to create an inspirational, happy work environment that spills over into other areas of his employees’ lives. “I want to build on good philosophies that strengthen the bank and the community. The community supports us and we support the community. It’s a nice circle,” he said.
Telman embraces a simple philosophy. “Three components excite me, whether it’s creating a bank or a company, or serving on boards. I need to be learning, I need to make a difference in the community and I need to have fun,” he said. “Eight years later, I still have all those components.”