For former NVCC student and current Ion Bank President and CEO Charles J. Boulier III, it’s all about hard work and staying focused. Even when your focus happens to be… well, finding said focus.
“I had no vision,” explains Boulier. “I went to NVCC because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It had a lot of good opportunities for high school students, not spending as much as you would anywhere else.”
Boulier attended NVCC in the early seventies after graduating a member of the first class of students from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. Having done well with a bookkeeping class, Boulier enrolled in as many accounting courses as he could at NVCC before transferring into a four-year college.
That four-year college was Bryant College – one of the three “Big B” schools for business, alongside Babson and Bentley.
“From not knowing what I wanted to do - NVCC really helped me get a top-rate education,” he recalls. "And all of my courses transferred."
Early in his career while working as the Cash Management Officer at Centerbank, Boulier earned a master’s degree from the University of New Haven and at the same time studied for and passed the Chartered Financial Analyst Certificate. He iterates the learning has never stopped.
“I put my time in and I work hard,” he says. “I’m not always home as early as I’d like, but, especially in this business, you need to constantly be learning. Things always change.”
Since taking lead at Ion Bank in Jan. 2013, Boulier has assessed more than financial risk. On Oct. 21, the bank officially moved away from its 143-year identity as Naugatuck Savings Bank, a move that would inevitably draw some disagreement but that was necessary for differentiating the bank’s place in a crowded market, says Boulier.
“Our reputation is built on service,” he explains.
“I believe in involving everyone in the decision. But it’s also important to remember you can only hope to keep most people happy. At the end of the day, service is what will continue to set us apart.”
So what advice does this alum have for students? A reminder to work hard, stay focused and of course, to set yourself apart.
“We have a lot of opportunities for new talent here [at Ion Bank], from entry-level to high-paying management positions. And banking is different in that we tend to promote from within. So if that’s something you want to think about, you should also know that it’s a very crowded playing field. You have to set yourself apart, work hard, strive for excellence and have zero tolerance for error, or you won’t get ahead. And remember, it’s about good grades, hard work and a good attitude… When it’s time to enter the workforce, don’t get frustrated. It took four or five interviews before I got my first job…”
Boulier joined Naugatuck Savings Bank in 2004 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In 2009, he was elected President and Director of Castle Bank & Trust, which was merged into Naugatuck Savings Bank. He was also the Vice President and Treasurer of Nutmeg Financial, MHC, the parent company of Naugatuck Savings Bank and the Sutherland Insurance Group. In addition he has served as a Director of the Bank and the MHC since 2010.
Prior to that, Boulier was Senior Executive Vice President, Treasurer & CFO for American Financial Holdings, parent company of American Savings Bank where he worked from 1993 to 2004. He was Senior Vice President of Finance and Investments at Centerbank from 1981 to 1993.
Boulier, a Chartered Financial Analyst, received his MBA in Finance from the University of New Haven and is a graduate of Bryant College with a degree in Accounting. He is Vice Chair and Director for the American Savings Foundation, Director and Treasurer for the Connecticut Community Foundation, Director of Vantis Life Insurance Company, Chairman of America’s Mutual Banks and serves as a Finance Committee Member for St. Margaret Church. In 2010, he was named the United Way Naugatuck & Beacon Falls Campaign Coordinator of the Year.