15 minutes with … Kathryn G. Underwood

President and CEO of the $400 million-asset Ledyard National Bank in Hanover, N.H.

IB: Tell us about Ledyard National Bank’s marketplace.

Underwood: We are located in Hanover, N.H., the heart of the Upper Valley. It’s a very vibrant natural environment with both the White Mountains and Green Mountains nearby.

The area is primarily a rural market dominated by a large Ivy League college, Dartmouth, and New Hampshire’s largest hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. These two employers drive the economic engine in our market. Technology, manufacturing and tourism are also key industries.

IB: What’s Ledyard National Bank best known for?

Underwood: Our wealth management program really differentiates us from other banks in the area. We are a $400 million-asset bank, but our wealth management division manages over $900 million in assets.

We also have a new professional services line of business. This program focuses on high-income individuals who might not yet have the assets to be in our wealth management program. It’s mainly targeted towards doctors, professors and attorneys.

IB: What’s your take on community banking’s future?

Underwood: We’ll continue to see consolidation in the industry, but the community banking model will survive and thrive. Our relationship-focused approach is needed now more than ever and is really appreciated by customers. In rural markets like the Upper Valley, the community bank continues to be the lifeblood of the community.

IB: How does Ledyard National Bank support its small-business clients?

Underwood: One of our most successful educational programs is called Leading Women. It’s an education, networking program, available to all of our women-owned or -managed businesses. We average 40 to 50 women at each session. It meets four to five times annually and is completely free for our clients. It’s a forum to share success stories and to provide our clients with information on topics like online marketing, human resources issues, conflict management and other topics of their choosing.

IB: What do you like to do for fun?

Underwood: Traveling with my family is my No. 1 joy in life. I look for every opportunity I can to travel someplace new. I would like to spend at least one day and night in each of the 50 states.