Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Daniel Morrison serves as Chairman, President and CEO at Optima Bank & Trust. He has over three decades of experience in banking, finance and business management. Before founding Optima Bank & Trust in 2008, his prior banking experience includes positions with First Signature Bank & Trust in Portsmouth, Golden West Financial Corporation in Oakland, CA, and Bank of America in San Francisco. Morrison currently serves on the board of directors of the New Hampshire Bankers Association, and on the advisory board of New Hampshire Veterans Count. He is past chairman of the board of the UNH Center for Family Business and the UNH CEO Forum, past chairman of the board of the Great Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross, past board member of the United Way of the Greater Seacoast, and past treasurer and member of the board of the Agamenticus Yacht Club. Morrison holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from San Francisco State University.
What makes your company or work environment unique?
Optima Bank & Trust is unique because it was founded by husband and wife team, Dan and Pam Morrison, who live and work in the New Hampshire seacoast. The Morrisons recognized a growing need for a new local bank due to consolidation in the industry. As the big banks took over, the level of personal service was deteriorating. They set out to create a local bank that can do everything the big banks can do, but with a higher level of service, and where the decisions are all made locally. Optima Bank & Trust provides an exceptionally high level of service to its customers, both individuals and businesses, anyone who feels like they deserve better than what they are currently getting.
The growth of Optima Bank & Trust is also what makes it unique. The bank opened in 2008, just as the financial crisis was taking hold and the world went into the greatest recession in decades. Since opening, the Bank has grown to seven locations and to more than 75 employees. It has been among the fastest growing banks in the country since it opened its doors. Since the beginning, Optima Bank & Trust has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in New Hampshire; in the form of loans to businesses to grow and expand, and loans to individuals and families to buy and build homes in the area, and through sponsorships of local not-for-profit organizations. Optima Bank has been consistently recognized by bank rating agencies as one of the strongest banks in the country.
What accomplishments within your company are you most proud of?
The growth, strength and stability of the Bank is our proudest accomplishment and we could not have grown and continue to grow without the support and commitment of our talented and dedicated employees. We are also proud of all of the awards that the Bank and its team have won over the years, including Banker of the Year from the Small Business Administration; “Top 10 to Watch” from Business NH Magazine; Business of the Year from the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce; Business of the Year from the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce; Business of the Year from Business NH Magazine; and Emerging Lender Award from the Small Business Administration. Also over the years, Daniel Morrison, Chairman & CEO, has been awarded the Business Excellence Award, Edwin Garside, CFO, was named Financial Executive of the Year, and Pamela Morrison, EVP, was named Outstanding Woman In Business by NH Business Review.
What advice would you give to up and coming leaders in the Greater Manchester community?
The advice I would give to up and coming business leaders in the Greater Manchester community is to give back. Volunteer your time, join a committee or a Board and get involved in something you are passionate about. It’s a great way to meet people who you may not ordinarily meet through your work. You will likely discover that you have shared passion and common interests that will connect you on a deeper level. Ultimately you are still growing your professional network but in a more meaningful way. It’s those meaningful and lasting relationships that you can turn to for business as well – people are more likely to do business with people that they know and trust.
What attributes do you think makes our business community and Greater Manchester region special?
The greater Manchester region and the business community are special because Manchester is the business capital of the state. It is also our State’s largest population center and many of the State’s non-profit organizations are headquartered here. All of this makes it a vibrant place to do business. There are opportunities to grow and also opportunities to give back. Even though Manchester is the state’s largest city, there is also still a sense of community and the business community embodies that – you see it consistently at community and chamber events.