A Chester County-based bank has enlisted the help of a Harrisburg business owner as its loaning arm reaches out to more midstate business owners.
Presence Bank said it is partnering with influential business leaders to assist in the bank’s expansion to the Capital Region in an effort that it says will help it better the lives of the people who choose to bank with them.
The Coatsville bank recently announced that it will be adding president and CEO of Dawood Engineering, Bony Dawood, to its Board of Directors. Dawood will sit on the board for PB Bankshares, Inc., the holding company for Presence Bank.
Dawood founded Dawood Engineering in 1992 and during that time, has been actively involved in various levels of the community, from collaborating with fellow business owners to sitting on boards and interacting with municipal leaders.
“As a small business owner, the benefits of working in a community bank and that relationship was very important in those years,” Dawood said. “[I have been] involved in a lot of projects that have impacted Central Pennsylvania communities [and] really had a pretty active role in creating a lot of jobs in Central PA for many years, and enjoyed that aspect of it.”
When Dawood was approached about the opportunity to join the board of PB Bankshares, Inc., he was intrigued by the opportunity to come alongside fledgling entrepreneurs from the perspective of a lender.
“I’ve been in the business world for years, and I’ve worked with a lot of lenders in the marketplace, and it really gives me a different understanding [and] different perspective.”
Having been an entrepreneur owner that experienced the challenges of growing a business, Dawood says he understands the common struggles business owners face including cash flow, the fundamentals of building a business and navigating how they will make payroll. With this perspective in mind, he says he views community banks as being a fundamental part of entrepreneur welfare.
“Having a lender really work with them through that is really important,” Dawood said. “We know a lot of businesses, and we know a lot of people that want to start businesses. Having lenders that understand the challenges [is] where the community banks come.”
Presence Bank was founded in 1919. The state-chartered FDIC bank has approximately $300 million in assets.
The bank currently has an office in Lancaster County and loan production offices in Lancaster and Dauphin Counties.
Dawood’s inclusion to the board is expected to help Presence Bank better tailor its services to midstate businesses and small business owners in general. It also comes at a time of growth for the company.
President and CEO of Presence Bank, Janak Amin, believed Dawood was a natural fit for the bank’s board. Amin said he perceived Dawood as a professional with strong ethics, a family-oriented posture, and as being a person of faith—all of which are qualities that Presence Bank prioritizes when recruiting new members.
“We look at people who are obviously well regarded in their local community,” Amin said, asserting how Dawood personified the skills his team was searching for when considering how to solidify Presence Bank’s brand in the Capital Region.
Amin applauded Dawood’s business acumen and extensive experience in corporate governance through his history of building a company in the heavily-regulated engineering industry. For Amin, the regulatory experience will be a welcome asset as the board navigates regulations that also accompany the financial industry.
Thomas Bream, market executive for Presence Bank’s Capital Region emphasized Presence Bank’s current initiative to invest resources into the region, specifically in the form of collaborating with leaders who can assist in the success of the expansion effort.
With Dawood’s experience and community influence in the Capital Region, Bream said that it made sense for Presence Bank to leverage Dawood’s skills and network to help increase the brand’s reputation as it moves into the Capital Region.
“We were looking for people with [business] experience [and] someone that had visibility in this community,” Bream said.
For Bream, Dawood will not only bring experience and positive qualities of leadership to the board room, but will also be able to offer wisdom and advice on what he is seeing play out in the region’s marketplace as a business owner.
Dawood believes it is important for business owners to leverage their influence for the good of the communities they work within.
“Business owners to some degree [become] role models, and people watch them very closely in terms of their actions. I think it’s very important for business owners to take ownership and provide strong leadership,” Dawood said.
Dawood has held seats on a number of boards over the years including on the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, the American Council of Engineering Consultants, and holding a Governor appointed position on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Industrial Board.
In addition to his involvement with PB Bankshares Inc., Dawood currently serves as director of Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Quality Committee, senior advisory member of Asian Indian Americans of Central Pennsylvania and board member of the American Islamic Cultural Center.
Dawood sees board involvement as a responsibility that requires a high degree of focus and engagement. In recent years, Dawood has limited the number of boards he participates in, so he is able to fully engage and dedicate adequate time to offer a valuable contribution to the organizations he partners with.
“As owners, we have to set a tone in terms of how it is to be a good citizen. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s a message being sent, but it starts from the top and you have to let the employees know how important it is.”
Like Presence Bank, Dawood Engineering pays close attention to the culture that is fostered within the organization. Dawood is deliberate in developing a strong employee culture and prioritizing positive community impact.
“The culture of the company is [that] we try to do the right thing,” Dawood said. “We’ve tried to understand what the needs are and be part of it and create careers for individuals and also provide a benefit to the community that we’re working in.”