Focus: Cape Cod 5

Cape Cod Life  /  Annual Life 2021 /

Writer: Cape Cod Life Publications

 As a mission-based, values-based organization, Cape Cod 5 has been providing unwavering financial and community support for over a century. 

In 1855, Cape Cod 5 opened in Harwich Center as an independent, state-chartered savings bank. Since then, it has grown from 10 employees in its first hundred years to 500 employees at 26 locations on the Cape, Islands, and Southeastern Massachusetts today. Throughout the years, Cape Cod 5 has served its communities through a civil war, two World Wars, the Great Depression, economic recessions, and two global pandemics. The theme that transcends through it all is the bank’s continual evolvement with the changing needs of its customers and communities. 

Cape Cod 5 offers truly objective information and straightforward products and services. As a mutual institution with no outside shareholders, the bank can truly operate in the best interest of its customers. With its deep local roots, Cape Cod 5 also develops relationships with customers to serve more effectively. At its core, the bank focuses on five key areas of serving: community banking, responsible business practices, corporate leadership and volunteerism, advancement of financial know-how and philanthropy. Its new headquarters, opened in January 2020, is a testament to its commitment to its employees as well as environmental sustainability.

With the shift to a digital environment in the past two decades, Cape Cod 5 has been focused on enhancing technology through cross-functional collaborations. “Moving this digital ecosystem forward so that people can manage their financial lives when they want and how they want has made us more effective and efficient,” CEO Dorothy Savarese says. Their online banking platform and remote services like mobile banking and ATM remote deposit have been crucial this past year.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, Cape Cod 5 was ready to meet the urgent needs of the community. “I said to my team, this was our finest hour as a bank. Every individual in our organization rose to the challenge of meeting the needs of our customers and communities during this last year. It’s been remarkable,” Savarese says. When the PPP loan program was launched, Cape Cod 5 had a digital platform ready to handle loans. The bank was number 8 in the state in regards to the number of loans done. “We worked intensively to identify where we could address community needs. We ended the year donating over $1.6 million to food insecurity, medical and crisis relief organizations. Because we have such a focus on technology and innovation, we were poised to pivot quickly to execute our support to our customers and communities. It’s really where the marriage of our values and mission meets our embracive innovation,” Savarese says.

In general, their community engagement is approached with acute attention and care, with five primary areas of focus: accessible housing, education and enrichment, environmental stewardship, economic sustainability, and community health and human need. In 2021, Cape Cod 5 will continue supporting their customers and communities as they navigate through what will hopefully be the end of the pandemic. Moving forward, there are two cross-cutting issues that will expand across all of their efforts: diversity, equity and inclusion and environmental sustainability. “In addition to our ongoing projects, we’re looking to double down and challenge ourselves to do that much more for diversity, equity and inclusion, not just internally, but also supporting external efforts,” Savarese says.

For the third year in a row, Cape Cod 5 was named one of the top places to work for by The Boston Globe and American Banker. For the seventh time, The Boston Globe also named Cape Cod 5 as one of their top 100 women-led businesses. “Our employees are what makes all of this work. Those awards mean something to us because they’re about our employees. We’re so proud of our people,” Savarese says.