Joel Crowell has worked his way up from the very bottom rung at the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod.
After starting as a teller while still a co-operative student at Northeastern University in Boston, Crowell worked his way up to president and CEO – and learned important lessons at every stop along the way.
He also formed a lasting relationship with his clients and community.
“I walked in and started right on the line and continued for three and a half years. It gave me a very strong entry-level background,” said Crowell. “When graduation came about I had several offers but decided to stay at the bank.”
He served for many years as assistant branch manager, then treasurer and chief financial officer. He was named president and CEO in 1983.
Over the years, he has been part of many local institutions, serving as trustee at Cape Cod Healthcare; as director of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce; director of the Cape Cod Needy Fund; and as a trustee and president of The Kelley Foundation.
Under his leadership, the bank has supported dozens more non-profits across the Cape, including The Boys & Girls Club, A Baby Center, The Arts Foundation, Alzheimer’s Services of Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Young Professionals.
His work with Cape Cod Healthcare is a good indicator of the lengths he’s willing to go to be a good neighbor.
“[Crowell is] an 11th generation Cape Codder, and has really dedicated his life to his bank and in his community. He’s a stringent advocate of the patient and the physician at our two hospitals,” said Michael Connors, CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare. “He even came in with a neighbor of his to the hospital and accompanied her throughout her stay in the emergency room.”
In addition to their medical needs, Crowell closely guards his neighbors’ financial needs, too. Since 2008, Crowell said the bank has foreclosed on less than 15 properties. During the same time, he said, it has modified more than 250 loans, allowing families to stay in their homes.
“It’s fair to say that when you’ve been some place 40 years, you build relationships. We’ll always try to find a way to work with the customer,” Crowell told Banker & Tradesman. “You need to take away any of the exposure that is embarrassing to someone, and some of my relationships allow me to do this.”