Ken Weinstein ’83 is president and chief executive officer of Newtown Savings Bank, a $1.2 billion mutual savings bank founded in 1855 and headquartered in Newtown, CT. Ken also currently serves on the board of the United Way of Western Connecticut, is a director and former chairman of the board of LifeBridge Community Services, and is a trustee and chairman of the finance committee at Berkeley College. A history major at Dartmouth, Weinstein also received his MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives in Easton, CT, with his wife and two children.
Was there an experience you had at Dartmouth that especially helped you on your path to banking?
Actually, it is the Dartmouth Plan that deserves the most credit. I was off-campus sophomore winter and got a job at my local bank. If I’d had the job during the summer, I would have been one of many summer employees and worked as a teller, but because I was there in the winter, I was the only intern and as a result had the opportunity to have a much richer internship experience. A Dartmouth alumnus, Jim Biggs ’63, was a senior executive at the bank and he taught me a great deal and gave me the opportunity to do some really interesting work.
You believe strongly in the community bank model and have worked with community banks since very early in your career. What is it that makes community banking so vital?
I believe that community banks are an integral part of the fabric of any community, in ways that larger banks can never be. These range from their voluntarism and corporate support, to the fact that they employ local people and can’t just pull out of the market from a lending standpoint when the going gets tough.
I like to joke that people who bank at community banks live longer, happier lives, and I’m only partially kidding.
What’s the best money advice you can offer to recent graduates and young alumni who are just starting out in their careers?
That’s easy—get on a firm financial footing as quickly as possible and start building assets. The best two methods are to pay off student debt and contribute to a 401k, especially if there is a company match. The compounding effects of starting early are very real and the sacrifices you make in your 20s will benefit you for the rest of your life.