A little over a decade ago, the staff at Mansfield Bank brought in Richard Hamilton to bolster their burgeoning commercial lending department. They knew they had gotten someone with credentials, as he had done commercial lending at Citizens Bank since graduating from the University of Rhode Island. They knew they had gotten someone who could navigate the business landscape, having grown up locally.
They likely didn’t know at the time that they had gotten some who would dress up as Santa Claus each holiday season and lead a team of elves around the bank, spreading Christmas cheer. For the past two years, Hamilton has suited up to bring joy to the locals, young and old, with his “Photos With Santa” event.
And this is just one aspect of the after-hours efforts of a successful vice president and commercial lender who “is about more than just business,” according to Events and Publicity Representative Ashlee Medeiros.
“Rick Hamilton [is] an asset to the community,” Medeiros said. “An asset who will tirelessly ensure customer needs are met, and in the same day, jump into action volunteering for his community.”
Over his career, Hamilton has built up an impressive repertoire of volunteer roles, including soccer and volleyball coach, food pantry volunteer, youth financial literacy teacher, town finance committee member, board of assessors member and Southeastern Economic Development Corp. micro-loan approval committee member. The community and his daily business as a lender are two parts in an interwoven economic web, he explained.
“It’s intrinsic in what I do,” said Hamilton, who loans to businesses both large and small. “You lend a dollar, that dollar goes to a worker, that worker goes and buys food or anything else. That dollar travels.”
“Assisting with the economics in this area is really satisfying,” he added. “I get to provide fuel to the local economic engine that would otherwise not be available.”
The primary focus of Hamilton’s work with the community – aside from producing smiles – is to educate young people on the realities of this economic network so they may better play their part in it.
“The youth today have more opportunities than ever,” he said. “So it’s important they don’t lose sight of things. … It’s important for us to teach them the mistakes that have been made, so they don’t fall in the same financial pitfalls.”
Despite his personal success both in and out of the office, Hamilton noted that his bank’s culture is an influential factor in allowing him to touch so many aspects of his community, saying that activism “just permeates this place.
“It’s not only about what we do as professionals here, but what we do in the off hours, when nobody is watching,” Hamilton said. “I’m just the face of it.”
And regarding his alter ego as Saint Nick?
“We really make a go of it – I think it’s going to take off even further into the community,” he said. “It’s not like I’m playing Lucifer – everyone likes Santa!”