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William J. Ryan
William J. “Bill” Ryan has rapidly become a leader in the Maine community since becoming President and CEO of Peoples Heritage Bank and Peoples Heritage Financial Group in 1990. Bill serves as a member of Governor King’s Maine Task Force on Interstate Banking and Branching. He is a director of numerous corporations and groups, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Maine, Machigonne Inc., Central Maine Power Company, New England Education Loan Marketing Corporation, Maine Chamber and Business Alliance, Maine & Co., Gulf of Maine Aquarium Development Corporation and the Maine Association of Community Banks. Bill is also a trustee of the Portland Museum of Art, a trustee of the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Maine, the Corporate Advisory Board Chair of the United Way Greater Portland Children’s Leadership Council, a member of the Outward Bound Board of Trustees, and a member of the University of Maine Corporate Affiliate Program. Bill is involved in various other local civic and professional activities.
Bill’s leadership role within the banking community on Maine’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, IOLTA, Program has had a substantial financial impact on access to justice thereby allowing more poor and elderly clients to receive help with their legal problems. There are certain client trust accounts- accounts in which funds are deposited by lawyers on behalf of their clients on a short-term basis- which do not earn distributable interest. Under the IOLTA program, at participating banks these accounts are deposited in a special pooled account. The interest from these pooled accounts represents IOLTA income. Over the past ten years, the IOLTA program has generated over five million dollars to support legal services and expand access to justice in Maine. Bill and Peoples Heritage Bank have taken a leadership role in setting interest rates on its pooled account, dramatically increasing the funds available to legal services programs at a time when the programs had experienced substantial funding cuts.
Bill and the Peoples Heritage Bank have also generously provided direct support to legal services. Peoples Heritage has contributed to the Legal Services for the Elderly Hotline, an innovative service that provides statewide access to attorneys for needy elderly Mainers via an 800 number, and also has provided direct support to Pine Tree Legal Assistance.