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Banking’s very small universe

Chris Morris for The Boston Globe

Banking can be a really small world.

Some may have been surprised by the announcement earlier this week that Eastern Bank Corp. had scooped up Quincy Miller from Citizens Financial Group. This move comes after Citizens had promoted Miller to be its Massachusetts president last June.

Miller, 41, is joining Eastern as a chief banking officer in March, but within months is expected to become its president, assuming Bob Rivers’ role after he becomes the chairman of the state’s largest community bank.

Eastern started wooing Miller, a former Lafayette College football captain, some months ago and his ties to Rivers date back nearly two decades.


“We went after him,” Rivers said. “He was not looking to leave.”

Miller could not comment because of contractual obligations with Citizens.

Rivers got to know Miller when they both worked for Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. and was impressed by him there. Miller left the bank though to return to Pennsylvania and take care of his mother, accepting a job with Keystone Financial Services Inc.

Then in 2000, M&T bought Keystone, and Rivers went to Pennsylvania to help integrate the banks. Miller was his officemate during that transition, Rivers said. Rivers eventually came to Eastern and Miller went to the Midwest with Citizens. But they crossed paths again when Citizens brought Miller to Massachusetts.

When Eastern’s board asked Rivers last year for recommendations for his replacement, he suggested Miller.

“He is bright, intuitive, and a strong analytical thinker,” Rivers said. “He’s got a complete background. He’s got a great presence.” — DEIRDRE FERNANDES

Maria followed her heart

Maria Stephanos’s contract at Fox 25 was ending, and she was about to turn 50. She knew she was ready to try something new after nearly 18 years at the station.

She says she was lucky enough to have interest from a number of places – here in Boston, and out of state – after she left Fox 25’s anchor desk in September.


Her heart, she says, told her two things. She wanted to stay in the market. And she wanted to work for WCVB Channel 5, the station that she watched growing up in Groveland, back when co-anchors Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson were known in many homes as simply “Chet and Nat.”

Now “Maria” is a household name around Boston as well. WCVB general manager Bill Fine recognizes this, of course. Stephanos says she had made it clear to Fine over the years that she would consider working there if the right opportunity opened up. When Stephanos left her Fox 25 gig, Fine took her up on the offer.

Fine says it was simply a happy coincidence that he was planning to expand his evening news programs – he added a 7 p.m. newscast last month – just as Stephanos’s contract wrapped up at Fox 25. She’ll co-anchor WCVB’s 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. news shows with Ed Harding, and she’ll anchor a soon-to-be-launched 10 p.m. news show on WCVB sister station MeTV Boston.

“Now I can take those [news] tips I’ve been getting for the past four months and bring them somewhere,” Stephanos says, “instead of just reading them at night at the kitchen table to my kids.”— JON CHESTO

SheGives food and wine

Boston-based SheGives, a group of women who pool their money for charity, has come up with a new way to support local nonprofits and raise funds for its operational costs.


It’s called ShePartakes, a series of events with Boston-area women in the food and wine business. The kickoff event Monday — a $500-a-plate 20-person luncheon with Nancy Cushman, co-owner of Boston restaurants o ya and Hojoko — is already sold out.

But tickets are still available for other, cheaper events, including a seminar with Helen Gallo Bryan of wine distributor Winebow and Tanya McDonough of the Nantucket Wine Festival, and a Boston Public Market cooking competition with Lovin’ Spoonfuls executive director Ashley Stanley.

Some of the proceeds will go to area nonprofits and some will help SheGives pay for its financial vetting of potentially worthy charities.

“This is a way to celebrate women chefs who really deserve to have a light shined on them,” said SheGives president Kirstan Barnett, a partner at the Boston hedge fund Bracebridge Capital. — SACHA PFEIFFER

For Kinsel, a move from booze to notary public

There’s never a notary public around when you need one. Pat Kinsel found that out the hard way, and now he’s planning to turn this unhappy insight into a profitable new business.

It’s called Notarize, and Kinsel, a partner at Boston’s Polaris Partners, says it’s the nation’s first online notary public service. Anybody with an iPhone will be able to get a document notarized, anywhere in the United States, for a flat fee of $25.

“We believe we are dramatically more convenient” than traditional notaries, said Kinsel, who’ll serve as Notarize’s chief executive.

Kinsel was standing on a beach in Hawaii when his broker phoned to say he couldn’t carry out an important transaction. Kinsel’s power of attorney was invalid, because the notary who’d stamped the document had forgotten to sign it. “That brokerage couldn’t accept it,” Kinsel said.


And it got him wondering why documents had to be notarized face-to-face. A notary simply confirms the signer’s identity. Couldn’t that be done online?

After all, Kinsel led the initial funding for Drizly, the Boston Internet company that offers home delivery of alcoholic drinks. Drizly scans each customer’s driver’s license to confirm they’re of legal drinking age. Kinsel realized the same technique could confirm the identity of someone signing a legal document. Meanwhile, the state of Virginia made it legal in 2012 to remotely notarize electronic documents via video conferencing.

So the Notarize app scans the customer’s ID and displays his video image to a Virginia notary. The user can then print a paper copy of the notarized electronic document, or e-mail a digital version. — HIAWATHA BRAY

Can’t keep a secret? Tell us. E-mail Bold Types at boldtypes@globe.com.