Raymond Wesnofske, the longtime chairman of the board of the Bridgehampton National Bank, is retiring this month and will be succeeded at the head of the table by board member Marcia Z. Hefter, an attorney.
Mr. Wesnofske, a former Bridgehampton potato farmer, was required by the bank’s bylaws to retire by the April 25 annual meeting, after turning 70 last fall. He had been on the board for 38 years and had been chairman since 1988.
Mr. Wesnofske joined the board in 1970 at the request of fellow farmer and then bank chairman Sayre Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin, a dairy farmer, had a warehouse next door to Mr. Wesnofske’s warehouse and simply ambled next door while Mr. Wesnofske was packing potatoes and asked him to join the board.
“It was pretty simple when I got on the board,” Mr. Wesnofske said this week. “Local farmers, a lawyer and an insurance executive were board members. We knew all the customers.”
The bank has changed dramatically in that time, expanding from one to 14 branches and computerizing its procedures in the process. That said, Bridgehampton National Bank was always known as a conservative lender and Mr. Wesnofske said that it has easily weathered the upset of national financial markets.
“When the bubble burst with the sub-primes, we were looking pretty good,” he said. “I don’t think it’s affected us at all.”
Mr. Wesnofske, who still serves on the East Hampton Airport Noise Abatement Committee, plans to divide his time between a home in Bridgehampton and a condominium in Naples, Florida.
He retired from farming potatoes in 1992, and sold his last plot of potatoes in Hastings, Florida, to his nephew in 1996. His brother, Clyde Wesnofske, still farms the family’s 25 acres of table potatoes just north of Scuttle Hole Road in Bridgehampton.
Marcia Hefter, his replacement, is a partner in the law firm Esseks, Hefter & Angel LLP, which has offices in Riverhead and Water Mill, where she focuses on real estate law and estate planning. She has been on the bank’s board for more than 20 years, most recently as vice chairwoman. She has also served as director of the Suffolk County Bar Association and has been on the board of Central Suffolk Hospital and Peconic Health Corp.
Mr. Baldwin had been a client of Ms. Hefter, and asked her to fill his seat when he retired.
Ms. Hefter said that among her top priorities are to continue “to enjoy the confidence of our customers in these years of bank mergers and closures.”
Though Ms. Hefter believes more growth and branch openings are in the bank’s future, she said that in the near term her goal is to keep the bank focused on its relationship with the community.
“Our customers are extremely loyal,” she said. “The bank likes to think of itself as a family, and that includes not just the people who work here.”
Albert E. McCoy Jr., the president of W.F. McCoy Petroleum Products Inc. and the McCoy Bus Company, will join the board at the bank’s April 25 annual meeting. Mr. McCoy was born and raised in Bridgehampton and graduated from Bridgehampton High School. His father, Albert E. McCoy Sr., had been a member of the board for 20 years.
Former Southampton Town Board member Dennis A. Suskind, who joined the board in 2002, will take over for Ms. Hefter as vice chairman.