Customers who do business at The Cooperative Bank sometimes encounter a Revolutionary War soldier manning the teller’s window. Not to worry – it’s just Assistant Vice President Tom Coots, still wearing historical attire from a reenactment.
A lifelong Revere resident, Coots graduated from Salem State University in 1987 with a bachelor of science in business education and office administration. He had originally intended to become an accountant, but at the suggestion of his guidance counselor sought a career with more people contact.
Coots’ first foray into the work world took place at Mr. Tux, where he managed two locations and orchestrated the retailer’s fashion show. He then worked at Bank of Boston for two years before moving to the Glendale Cooperative Bank, where he and seven other employees “did everything from cleaning the bathroom to serving customers and shoveling the parking lot in winter.”
Mass Bank took over the institution in 1997, and Coots left for Charlestown Cooperative Bank. Within six months, the bank merged with Roslindale Cooperative Bank, becoming The Cooperative Bank in 1998.
During all these transitions, Coots steadily climbed the ladder from teller to his current position as assistant vice president of retail banking. He enhanced his formal education by graduating from the New England School of Banking in 2004.
A self-proclaimed “customer junkie,” Coots revels in his responsibilities, which include managing a branch, enacting loan origination, developing new business and – best of all – lots of community service. “I am the public face of The Cooperative Bank in Charlestown,” he said.
His lengthy list of volunteer activities supports that statement. Coots is president of the Charlestown Historical Society; treasurer of the Bunker Hill Monument Association; president and founder of the Charlestown Militia; chairman of the Historical Unit of the Bunker Hill Parade Committee; volunteer for the Boston National Historical Park in Charlestown; drop-off coordinator for the Harvest on Vine food pantry; and trustee of the Dave Powers Foundation, which honors John F. Kennedy’s personal assistant, who helped usher him into the Oval Office. And that’s only the formal list; he also engages in a number of smaller civic events. Most recently, Coots became co-host of “Charlestown Live,” a local, live call-in television show that features guests and “anything pertaining to Charlestown.”
Coots has little free time in his position as AVP, but he doesn’t mind. “It’s challenging trying to juggle all aspects of the job – helping customers, answering phone calls, doing paperwork, making money for the bank. It’s a matter of finding balance,” he said. “Having the bank put the trust in me to run the branch in this area as an officer and vice president is a very big professional accomplishment. I could see myself retiring from here.”
Twenty-two years after becoming a banker, Coots could not have foreseen his career path taking any other direction. “I enjoy the interaction with customers. They’re why I’ve stayed in retail so long,” he said.
A deacon and lay minister in his church, Coots and his wife of 25 years have three children, two in college and one about to graduate from high school.