Bankwell Wilton has a new leader

The bright white walls, iPad stations, and lemon-filled water dispensers of Wilton’s Bankwell branch may have replaced the wood-paneled lobby at the Wilton Bank building, but the local touch and customer service are here to stay, says Thomas Jones, who is in charge of the Wilton branch.

When Bankwell of Wilton first replaced Wilton Bank in Wilton Center, it arrived with the hope of pairing its own high-tech services with the town landmark’s legacy of excellent customer care. Mr. Jones, an Easton resident, hopes to continue the growth of the bank on that same path.

He is a lending specialist who was previously a managing director for GE Capital’s real estate division. His title is first vice president, commercial lender and head of business development.

But having worked for large conglomerates like MetLife and GE Real Estate for much of his career, Mr. Jones said, the opening at Wilton bank represented a great opportunity to become more involved in the local economy.

“I’m excited to be here,” he said Tuesday in an interview at his office on Old Ridgefield Road. “I have had a lot of experience lending over the years, and now I have a great opportunity to use my experience and expertise to give back to the community.”

With a family of four school-aged children at home, the switch from a large corporation to a more local business gives him the chance to contribute to the local economy and still have time to fully participate in his children’s lives.

“When I met with Heidi for the interview and she said, ‘We have a great opportunity for you in Wilton,’ I’ll tell you, that really excited me. It’s a great opportunity to have a local impact in the local economy … and it’s also a time where I can get home to see my son’s hockey game, or soccer games,” he said.

Mr. Jones’s expertise in lending will give Bankwell a visible decision-making presence in town, the bank’s president, Heidi S. DeWyngaert, said. This, the president said, goes hand in hand with the company’s unofficial motto: “We listen to the story.”

“With Mr. Jones, there is local decision making,” Ms. DeWyngaert said. “He is the face and the voice of Bankwell in Wilton. He’s someone who can go out and be involved in the community and react to local business needs. He’ll make decisions right here.”

Elevated tech platform

Both Ms. DeWyngaert and Diane Knetzger, senior vice president and director of marketing, said Tuesday that improving upon the banking services offered by the Wilton Bank was one of the company’s greatest priorities.

While the retention of a majority of the branch’s employees was essential to the continuation of the bank’s community connections, the bank now offer technologically advanced services for those people who may never want to set foot in a bank.

“You’ve got the big banks with high-tech online offerings, and small banks like the Wilton Bank where everyone knows everyone. But we bridge the two in that we give hometown-style service, and have elevated our tech platform,” Ms. Knetzger said.

Some portions of that elevated tech platform include Popmoney payments, a large number of online commercial banking services, and cell phone picture check deposits.