Ralph Dowling, right, with his wife Patti and LaMonte Cooke, Peoples board member and Chestertown Tea Party Festival board director. Photo by Peoples Bank

The Peoples Bank’s CEO/President Ralph Dowling announced he will depart the bank on May 19, 2021. Dowling joined the local institution in January 2013 at a difficult time for the bank. He came from Austin, Texas and brought experience with community bank turnarounds.

After joining the helm of the bank, Dowling focused on resolving troubled real estate loans. Peoples also sold its Church Hill branch to Queenstown Bank.

Dowling also restructured its insurance division that the bank had started through the acquisition of FAM&M Insurance Agency in 2008. The agency is now trading as Fleetwood Insurance Agency and has acquired Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye Insurance Agency in Easton. The bank also opened a branch in downtown Easton in 2016.

When Dowling joined the bank, the stock (PEBC) was trading at under $11/share after trading as high at $53/share in 2011. The bank restored quarterly dividends in 2017. The bank issued a $.36/share dividend in September 2020. PEBC is currently trading at around $25/share.

“I will move on to the next phase of my career, however Patti and I have no plans for relocating,” Dowling said in a statement. “The past eight years have been extraordinary and Patti and I have been blessed by the many friendships that we’ve made in Chestertown and on the Eastern Shore.”

“Thank you for your support of my leadership and our efforts in the community.   My acknowledgement to the officers and employees of The Peoples Bank and Fleetwood Insurance Agency for the team support that has contributed to our organizational success. I will remember and honor my relationships with each of you!”

Dowling was honored with the Edna Ross Award at the Chestertown Tea Party Festival on May 25, 2019. The Edna Ross Award was created by the Chestertown Tea Party Festival Committee to celebrate local business leaders for their outstanding service to the community. Dowling was selected because of the guidance he has provided to The Peoples Bank in becoming a major supporter of the local community. Dowling launched Chester Gras, which raises money for the backpack program, and the Guest Chef Dinner, which raises money for United Way of Kent County. The bank also created scholarships under Dowling’s leadership.

Reflecting on his tenure, Dowling said, “I have confidence that our efforts here will not be forgotten and that the shareholders were well served during my tenure.”