Santander hosts North Central Chamber's Business After Hours


Area business professionals who attended the North Central Chamber of Commerce (NCCC) Business After Hours last Thursday evening enjoyed what President Deborah Ramos called “an education in banking, business and networking.”

“The night seemed to provide an awful lot of connecting and conversation, which is always wonderful to see,” said Ramos. “The evening was a great opportunity to meet each other from the local community, and Santander was the perfect host.”

One reason, in particular, was Donald Baker, a Cranston resident and Santander vice president/branch manager of the bank’s Johnston branch at 1414 Atwood Ave., who has been in the banking industry for 45 years.

“I could not be happier,” said Baker, who spent 35 years with rival Bank of America, formerly known as Industrial National Bank, of his 10-year stint with Santander, formerly Sovereign Bank. “I’m ever so happy to work for Santander. It all has to do with their vision and values.”

Although Santander is the fifth largest bank in the world – and has locations in numerous countries – Baker said, “It’s a big bank that’s run from the top down. But, they talk to everybody in the company from the ground up because they want to make it better.”

Perhaps that’s why Baker says “that’s what makes Santander the largest bank in the Eurozone and one of the largest in the world.”

Santander, Baker explained to the night’s visitors, was founded in 1857 in the Spanish town of Santander by 76 businessmen linked to the regional economy and to the Spanish colonial trade with the Americas.

Baker noted that the 155-year-old bank climbed all the rungs in the financial ladder throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, when it became a leading world bank known for good management and competence and with a solid presence in 10 countries on two continents.

While introducing Stephen Almagno, the senior vice president/senior retail district executive who oversees all Rhode Island branches, Baker said Santander has a global network of 14,400 branches, more than 3.3 million shareholders and 187,000 employees.

There was also an explanation of the bank’s symbol.

“Santander’s visual identity is embodied in the symbol, the logo, the color red and the corporate motto,” Baker said. “The flame is a symbol that evokes the initial ‘S’ in Santander and conveys triumph, leadership, clear-sightedness and dynamism. The logo is simply ‘Santander,’ while the motto is ‘A bank for your ideas.’”

Also joining Baker – in addition to Almagno – were Lynn Paton, retail banking branch manager in Smithfield; Michelle DelNigro, business consultant; and Matthew Raiche, senior small business specialist.

The night was perfect for Raiche, who mixed business and banking while talking with Randy Rauso, the NCCC’s Board of Directors chairman.

Raiche was a one-time sports standout at West Warwick High School who later went on to play baseball at Bridgewater State University. Rauso, the community relations director at the Village at Waterman Lake, is a Westerly High grad whose alma mater enjoyed rivalries in three sports with West Warwick.

The night was an “overwhelming success,” said Ramos, who added with a smile, “Even a member-to-be won one of our raffle prizes.”

Ramos was speaking of Rosemarie Borengasser of Johnston, who owns RTS Embroidery & Promotional Services and won a bottle of champagne, and Marcus Alves, a Chamber ambassador who represents Liberty Mutual Insurance and took home a bottle of fine wine.

Attendees enjoyed fresh pizza strips, Italian antipasto, hand-rolled meatballs and pasta that Santander purchased locally from Palermo Salumeria Italian.

Looking for Business Tax Credits?

Wednesday, March 12 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

North Central Chamber of Commerce – 255 Greenville Ave., Johnston

Do you know about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and what it can offer you as an employer? Join the North Central Chamber of Commerce and Armand Tessglia from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training and learn about all the benefits you could be eligible for.  He will also be discussing the New Employee Tax Modification Program, the On-The-Job Training Program and ways the Department of Labor and Training can make your hiring process easier. Lunch will be provided.

Cost is $10 for Chamber members and $20 for non-members

Statewide Business After Hours

Tuesday, March 25 – 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Rhodes on the Pawtuxet – 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston

This is a once-a-year opportunity to network with businesses from all over Rhode Island. Last year, over 1,000 business people were in attendance! That’s over 1,000 potential business connections! All employers and employees are invited to attend.

Cost is $15 per person. There will be a cash bar and fabulous complimentary food.

A limited amount of tables will be available for you to promote your business, so contact the Chamber to reserve yours today!

To register for any of these programs or for information, visit the Chamber’s website,, or call 401-349-4674.


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