FALMOUTH – Bangor Savings Bank President and CEO James Conlon describes himself as an “understated” leader with a nearly nonexistent ego.

“There’s no time (for a) level of arrogance in this position,” said the 56-year-old head of Maine’s largest bank. “I didn’t come into this world to be a CEO.”

Conlon, who lives in Brewer, grew up in Smithfield, R.I.

He said he comes from a blue-collar family; his father worked at a printing company and his mother stayed home to raise him and his four younger siblings.

After high school, Conlon enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he spent three years in such places as Virginia and Alaska. He was in the army’s tactical military police division, which maintained order among troops in the field.

When Saigon was evacuated in 1975, Conlon transferred with the Army to Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania, which served as a camp for Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees.

He called joining the army one of the best decisions of his life.

“You learn a lot of discipline and (how to) get along with others and you learn about leadership and who you are,” he said.

While in the army Conlon attended night classes at the Alaska campus of Texas-based Wayland Baptist University.

He later took a job at Alaska Pacific Bank, which was acquired by KeyBank. Conlon transferred with KeyBank to Maine in 1990, and joined Bangor Savings as senior lender in 1996.

A few years later he became chief operating officer, and he took the bank’s top job in 2005 after the departure of former head James Dowe.

Conlon said he is passionate about mental health issues and volunteering. He has been on the board of health care organizations including Bangor’s The Acadia Hospital, where he was chair, and Community Health and Counseling Services, also in Bangor.

Conlon is chairman of the Maine Bankers Association (his term expires June 30) and sits on the boards of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and other groups.

He spends his free time at a summer place in Island Falls on Pleasant Lake, where he enjoys fishing with his three grandchildren.

Conlon has been married for 38 years and has two children. Kimberly, 35, is a nurse in Bangor, and Jeffrey, 32, works at a private school in West Hartford, Conn.

Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or:

[email protected]