On Tuesday morning, May 17, East Boston Savings Bank added another chapter to what has become a tradition in South Boston and beyond – well beyond. Some years ago, before its consolidation with EBSB, Ed Merritt of the then Mt. Washington Bank began having business breakfasts that informed the local business public of the bank’s progress during the past year. Dick Gavegnano, the chairman, president and CEO of EBSB, liked what Merritt was doing and decided to continue this tradition after EBSB merged with Mt. Washington.
The Venezia Restaurant in Port Norfolk on the Neponset River estuary was the business breakfast’s 2016 locale. Venezia is located centrally to the many branches that EBSB now has in various business and customer centers around Boston. Because of the strength of Boston’s business climate, there actually seemed to be an atmosphere of celebration at EBSB’s breakfast. With more than 300 business people attending, the 2016 business breakfast was a notable success.
After the eggs, bacon and trimmings were consumed, Gavegnano opened the program by welcoming the guests and Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the featured speaker this year. Gavegnano then gave a brief summation of the Bank’s growth and endeavors over the past year.
EBSB branches are proliferating – there are now 30 full service branches and a new “mobile banking unit,” which the bank calls “banking on wheels.” EBSB has a presence in Essex, Suffolk and Middlesex counties. Three new branches have started in Dorchester, Chinatown and Brookline. EBSB is now staffed by 490 employees; it has more than $3 billion or more in banking’s three critical parameters: loans, assets and deposits. Its growth rate over recent years has been an extremely strong 17 percent (compounded).
Walsh took the podium after Gavegnano introduced him. Walsh spoke in a very optimistic, positive fashion about Boston and its prospects. First, he paid tribute to the policing and reduction in crime under Commissioner William Evans, a lifelong South Bostonian. He also mentioned that Evans will soon run his 50th marathon. The mayor asked Evans (jokingly, of course) if he was uncomfortable being the guest of an East Boston company.
The mayor then echoed the sentiment of optimism at the business breakfast: “Boston needs strong businesses and more business people in our neighborhoods.” He enthusiastically brought up the recent ranking of Boston as the “Number One Technology City in the World.” Walsh gave some astonishing figures that included population growth to 700,000 residents by 2020, compared to 650,000 right now. He saluted Boston’s small businesses – all 40,000 of them, who among them provide 170,000 jobs.
The business breakfast, already full of optimistic notes, ended with Gavegnano giving Walsh a gift and an award. The event ended promptly at 9 a.m. And, yes, everyone there immedaitely returned to her/his own workplace.