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First Quarter 2019

5 Questions for CBA Chairman

Steve Lewis


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First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine


10 Waterside Dr. Farmington, CT 06032-3083 Telephone: 860-677-5060 • Fax: 860-677-5066


Stephen L. Lewis President and CEO Thomaston Savings Bank First Vice Chair

Cynthia C. Merkle President and CEO Union Savings Bank Second Vice Chair

Michael J. LaBella Market President, Connecticut, TD Bank, N.A. President & CEO

Lindsey R. Pinkham Executive Vice President & Treasurer

Thomas S. Mongellow

First Senior Vice President & Secretary Colleen E. Clancy


5 Questions for CBA Chairman Steve Lewis......................................................................... 8 FEATURES

It’s Prime Time For IRA Deposits .......................................... 4 Reefer Madness – & Employment Laws................................ 5 New Year’s Resolutions: A Better You, A Better Branch........ 6 BANKWORLD.................................................................... 10 New Leaders...................................................................... 12 YOU Need a Mentor; Here’s How To Find One.................... 25

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CBA Calendar................................................................ 4 Bankers in the News .................................................... 26 Associate Members in the News .................................. 27 Banks in the News........................................................ 27 3

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

It’s Prime Time For IRA Deposits – Here’s Why By Steve Christenson


Generational Characteristics for Saving

have seen a number of trends with community banks during my over 30 years of working with IRAs. As a bank service representative in the mid 1980s, I saw CDs paying 18 percent over 10 years. Customers were placing their IRA contributions and rollovers into deposit accounts as part of their investment plan. When the stock market and interest rates both fell dramatically in 2008—the Great Recession— customers were sent reeling in an attempt to secure their retirement dollars. The stock market has recovered over the past decade, but interest Steve Christenson rates have only begun to do so. I am hearing with greater frequency today that community banks are seeking more deposits. One key strategy to gain deposits is IRAs. But many banks have not focused beyond minimum maintenance with IRAs for some time.

Baby Boomers – Baby boomers are actively retiring daily, thus slowly becoming a smaller part of the workforce. They are seeking modest growth and preservation of capital. Baby boomers are rolling over significant employer-sponsored retirement plan savings (new dollars) into IRAs, and are taking direct control of how they are invested and used. This group also is spending time planning on how best to provide for their beneficiaries. Generation X – Gen Xers (a more quiet generation) are now entering their 50s. This group is becoming more focused on accelerating their retirement plan savings and making up for lost time. A recent study found approximately half of those approaching retirement are “chasers,” who may have retirement savings, but are behind on their retirement savings plans. This group is looking for ways to get back on track. One thing that is seldom referenced in retirement planning advice and online tools today is Traditional and Roth IRA catch-up contributions for individuals age 50 and older. This now comes into play for Gen Xers, who are ages 39-53. An IRA owner can add to the maximum regular contribution ($5,500 for 2018 and $6,000 for 2019) an additional $1,000 contribution annually to help them catch up on their savings. Providing information and advice to Gen Xers can be an important element, especially if it is done proactively. Lastly, Gen Xers likely are dealing with the loss of a parent or grandparent. They will look to their banks to provide assistance with beneficiary claims and all the complexities associated with those transactions. It provides bank employees with direct contact to these individuals along with an opportunity to provide information on IRAs as retirement savings tools. Millennials – Millennials are good savers. While not heavily focused on retirement at this age (generally ages 22-37), they have started the saving process through their employer retirement plans. Data from 2017 shows millennials with an average retirement balance just over $11,000 in their 401(k) accounts. While they appreciate and use the technology solutions offered by the larger financial services firms, millennials prefer the community presence and focus of local firms. They will not visit a branch often, but want to know that one is nearby. Banks can become trusted resources for this demographic group by providing straight forward and valued advice on items such as retirement plan rollovers to IRAs (new dollars coming in), and can build a long-term bond with this group. u

Customers Need Assistance Over the past 10 years as interest rates remained low, banks were more able to borrow low-cost funds and deposits were not a primary focus. IRAs became something that banks were required to service and there was little worry when they were closed. But with rates slowly beginning to rise and with recent stock market volatility, customers again are more actively considering where to place their retirement dollars.

Upcoming CBA Calendar 2019 MARCH

March 6, 2019 – CSFM March 20, 2019 – CBA/CFT Forum March 28, 2019 – CSFM


April 7-9, 2019 – CSFM Bank SIM April 10, 2019 – CSFM 2019 Graduation April 17, 2019 – CBA/CFT Forum April 23, 2019 – BSA/AML Seminar


May 3, 2019 – Women in Banking May 9, 2019 – CSFM May 14, 2019 – Director & Senior Officer Symposium May 15, 2019 – CBA/CFT Forum May 21 – CSFM

Steve Christenson is executive vice president of Ascensus, which delivers technology and expertise to help millions of people save for what matters most—retirement, education, and healthcare. Ascensus supports over 73,000 retirement plans, more than 4.3 million 529 education savings accounts, and a growing number of ABLE savings accounts. It also administers more than 1.6 million IRAs and health savings accounts. As of June 30, 2018, Ascensus had over $196 billion in total assets under administration. For more information about Ascensus, visit ascensus.com.


August 26, 2019 – CBA Annual Golf Tournament 4

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

Reefer Madness – & Employment Laws


“[U]nless required by federal law or required to obtain funding: … No employer may refuse to hire a person or may discharge, penalize or threaten an employee solely on the basis of such person’s or employee’s status as a qualifying patient.” In the ruling in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, the judge stated: “There are no genuine fact issues in dispute about why plaintiff’s job offer was rescinded, and there is no legitimate dispute that defendant’s rescinding of plaintiff’s job offer was contrary to plaintiff’s right not be to subject to discrimination because of her status as a qualifying patient.” Compensatory damages have not yet been awarded. There are currently 30 medical conditions for adults, and six conditions for those under 18 that make someone eligible for medical marijuana treatment in Connecticut. The information provided above is made available by Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C. for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide specific legal advice to your individual circumstances or legal questions. This information should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state nor is it provided for the specific purpose of soliciting your business on any particular matter. Readers of this information should not act upon anything communicated in it without seeking legal professional counsel. u

ave you looked at your policies and practices regarding marijuana use by your employees lately? Did you know that nearly 28,000 Connecticut residents now rely on medical marijuana as a therapy for their illnesses? Many of those people are gainfully employed. A federal district court in Connecticut recently ruled in favor of a job applicant (Katelin Noffsinger) after an employer refused to hire her because she tested positive for marijuana in a pre-employment drug test. In this particular case, the plaintiff told her prospective employer (Bridge Brook Health & Rehabilitation Center) that she was using medical marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder on the advice of her physician. She reported she was using it at night to help with sleep. The company proceeded to make her a job offer contingent on her passing a drug test. She failed the test for showing a positive result for THC – a chemical component of marijuana. In August 2016, two days before Noffsinger was supposed to start work, a Bridge Brook compliance officer said Noffsinger was disqualified because medical marijuana is not an approved drug by federal law and that Bridge Brook uses “the federal law which indicates marijuana is still illegal.” Noffsinger sued claiming the employer violated the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act’s (PUMA) provision, which states:

> Thursday, May 2, 2019 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Networking Reception, Marriott Ballroom (pre-registration required)

> Friday, May 3, 2019

Registration and Buffet Breakfast, Mystic Ballroom “Welcome”, Marriott Ballroom Steve Lewis, President & CEO Thomaston Savings Bank and CBA Chairman Erica Torres and Kelley Chartier, Wolf & Company 9:15 – 10:00 a.m. “Step Up, Speak Up, Show Up" Debbie Peterson, President, Getting To Clarity, LLC 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. “Financing Women-owned Firms: Lessons from Research and Practice" Dr. Susan Coleman, Professor of Finance, University of Hartford 10:45 – 11:00 a.m. Networking Break 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz (invited) 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch and Networking Bingo, Mystic Ballroom 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. “From Frustrated To FOCUSED: Mindset Strategies for Acceleration and Growth" Debbie Peterson, President, Getting To Clarity, LLC 2:30 p.m. Adjourn 8:00 a.m. 9:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Connecticut Bankers Association


Friday, May 3, 2019 Mystic Marriott, Groton, CT TO REGISTER OR TO FIND OUT MORE, VISIT www.ctbank.com/ Education/WomenInBanking


Resolutions: A Better You, A Better Branch

A Better You, A Better Branch

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

The beginning of a new year always brings to mind change. A The beginning of a new year change to improve upon the not always brings to mind change. A so good and change to improve change to improve upon the not upon the good to make it better. so good and change to improve The top resolutions at the start of upon the good to make it better. most new years’ tend to relate to The top resolutions at the start of health, finances and losing weight. most new years’ tend to relate to While most people are making the health, finances and losing weight. commitment to refocus their atWhile most people are making the tention to their finances, it would commitment to refocus their atby serve banks well to do the same. tention to their finances, it would Asbranches bank branches James G. Caliendo Half of the in the Unitedmove to reimagine their networks, most by serve banks well to do the same. President & COO States are over 20 years and the primary goals of improving the branch are doing sooldwith BEFORE James G. Caliendo Half of the branches in the United PWCampbell many of them are outdated. With President & COO experience and increasing branch profitability. It is true BEFORE that the States are over 20 years old and all the technological advances, PWCampbell many of them are outdated.transactions With amount conducted in a branch continues to changing customer of preferences all the technological advances, and increasing delivery channels, decline and while many banks understand this, they also know changing customer preferences banks need to rethink the branch and increasing delivery channels, that the branch is vital to the success of their organization – as environment in order to remain banks need to rethink the branch as it is positioned in a good location/market and all available relevantlong and stay competitive. environment in order to remain is effectively being used to relevant andspace stay competitive.

New NewYear’s Year’s Resolutions: Resolutions: A Better You, A Better Branch

A Better You, A Better Branch

ear ange. A the not mprove t better. start of elate to g weight. aking the heir att would e same. e United ld and ed. With nces, rences hannels, e branch emain itive.

support transactions, brand awareness, education and improve sales. Today’s customers are now using the bank branch for expertise, guidance, and high involvement services and the branch retail environment needs to reflect that.

BEFORE Here are some example branch transformations. You will see the use of BEFORE BEFORE AFTER community walls, teller pods, interior and By James G. retail Caliendo exterior branding and the integration of technology. All ofhe these things translate to Year always beginning of a New a better experience brings for yourtocustomers, can mind change. A change to positively affect profitability, enhance improve will upon the not so good and brand/namechange recognition and will add greater to improve upon the good to make it efficiency and flexibility. As you look to make better. improvements for be sure to include The2019, top New Year’s resolutions tend to reyour branch late network in the mix. to health, finances and losing weight. While



most people are making the commitment to refocus their attention to their finances, it would serve banks well to do the same. Half of the branches in the United States are over 20 years old and many of them are outdated. With all the technological advances, changing customer preferences and increasing delivery channels, banks need to rethink the branch environment in order to remain relevant and stay competitive.

James G. Caliendo





BEFORE Here are some example branch transformations. You will see the use of community walls, teller pods, interior and exterior retail branding and the integration of technology. All of these things translate to a better experience for your customers, can positively affect profitability, will enhance brand/name recognition and will add greater efficiency and flexibility. As you look to make improvements for 2019, be sure to include your branch network in the mix. BEFORE BEFORE Here are some example branch BEFORE As bank branches to use reimagine transformations. You willmove see the of their networks, most doing so with community walls, tellerare pods, interior andthe primary goalsbranding of improving the branch exterior retail and the integration experience andAllincreasing branch profitof technology. of these things translate to ability. is true thatforthe amount of branch a betterItexperience your customers, can transactions continue to decline. While positively affect profitability, will enhance many banksrecognition understand theygreater also brand/name andthis, will add know thatand theflexibility. branch isAsvital to the sucefficiency you look to make cess of their organization as long as it is improvements for 2019, be–sure to include positioned a goodinlocation/market and your branchinnetwork the mix. all available space is effectively being used to support transactions, brand awareness, education and improve sales. Today’s cusBEFORE

branch for expertise, guidance, and high involvement services and the branchmove retail to environment needs to First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking As bank branches reimagine their networks, most that.primary goals of improving the branch are doing soreflect with the experience and increasing branch profitability. It is true that the amount of transactions conducted in a branch continues to decline and while many banks understand this, they also know that the branch is vital to the success of their organization – as long as it is positioned in a good location/market and all available space is effectively being used to support transactions, brand awareness, education and improve sales. Today’s customers are now using the bank branch for expertise, guidance, and high involvement services and the branch retail environment needs to AFTER reflect that.

tomers are now using the bank branch for expertise, guidance, and high involvement services and the branch retail environment needs to reflect that. As branches transform, you will see the use of community walls, teller pods, interior and exterior retail branding and the integration of technology. All of these things translate to a better experience for your customers, can positively affect profitability, will enhance brand/name recognition and will add greater efficiency and flexibility. As you look to make improve-


ments for 2019, be sure to include your branch network in the mix. u James G. Caliendo is a former bank executive and now president and COO at the 108-year-old design/build and retail services firm. In the past 18 years alone, under Jim’s direction, PWCampbell has worked with over 500 financial institutions influencing millions of square feet of retail and operational space to create engaging, impactful and scalable solutions for every sized facility project.

James G. Caliendo is a former bank executive and now President and COO at the 108 year old design/build and retail services firm. In the past 18 years alone, under Jim’s direction, PWCampbell has worked with over 500 financial institutions influencing millions of square feet of retail and operational space to create engaging, impactful and scalable every sized facilityBuckhead project. Jim is viewed as an industry leader with bankers on May 7-9,solutions 2019 for | Grand Hyatt – Atlanta, Georgia the reimagination of their retail delivery services network. • Keynote Speaker: Ben Nemtin, New York Times #1 Bestselling Author, started an inspiring movement that encourages individuals to realize their dreams. Oprah Winfrey called Ben’s life work “truly inspiring”. • Keynote Speaker: Honey Shelton, Nationally recognized speaker with 25 years of experience as a training and quality improvement consultant for banks and banking associations across the country. Founder of InterAction Training, the firm she founded for banks and credit union training. • Event Expo: Sponsors and attendees discuss the latest training solutions and innovations in the industry. • Workshops: From eLearning and Gamification to Presentation Skills and Managing Change. • Networking: Opportunities to network with the greatest minds in Learning and Development. James G. Caliendo is a former bank executive and now President and COO at the 108 year old design/build and retail firm. synergy, In the past 18 years alone, Jim’s direction, has worked with over “Theservices collaboration, and opportunity to learnunder from experts and peers PWCampbell will help you renew your commitment 500 financial influencing See millions square–feet ofShelton, retail and operational space to create engaging, to excelinstitutions at training effectiveness. you inofAtlanta!” Honey President, InterAction Training impactful and scalable solutions for every sized facility project. Jim is viewed as an industry leader with bankers on the reimagination of their retail delivery services network.

Register by February 28th at www.banktrainers.com for a chance to win a free suite upgrade! In the “How Did You Hear About This Conference?” section, select State Bankers Association/League and type “CTBA” in the “Referral Code” box. 7

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

5 Questions for CBA Chairman

Steve Lewis

Stephen L. Lewis is the President & CEO, Thomaston Savings Bank, and chairman of the Connecticut Bankers Association with his term expiring in September 2019. He discussed his background, how he finds the time for his role, and what lies ahead for his bank.


First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

Q. Tell our readers about your banking career.

families, and businesses located throughout Connecticut and it remains one of the strongest financial institutions in the state. Today, in the spirit of enterprise and endeavor that is the heritage of the former farming hamlet that became its own small city, Thomaston Savings Bank looks back with pride to its achievements and looks ahead with dedication to a continued tradition of community banking. One of the great advantages of Thomaston Savings Bank is that, since its founding in 1874, it remains a mutual savings bank. Rather than operating to satisfy stockholders’ interests, as with publicly-owned institutions, Thomaston Savings Bank managers and employees make decisions that will have the greatest benefit to the residents, businesses, and communities it serves. It is the bank’s mission to continue a tradition of community banking for many more generations.

I began my career as a bank examiner trainee in 1991 with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). I spent most of my 15 years at the FDIC examining banks in Connecticut and the Northeast. It was an amazing experience as I saw the best and worst sides of banking. In the early ‘90s, many banks failed due to poor risk management processes coupled with weak economic conditions. At the same time, many banks found a way to thrive and expand during this economic turmoil. The banks that succeeded had a common theme of a strong leadership team and risk management practices. In my current role as a CEO, I continue to refer back to my experience as an examiner to make better decisions for the bank. The FDIC gave me a great opportunity to attend the National School of Banking that I graduated from in 2000. The FDIC recognized that examiners would be more effective if they had a better understanding of all facets of banking. The school gave me a much better understanding of the banking industry, especially from the banker’s perspective. Interestingly, our Past CBA Chairman Mike Casparino graduated in my class. In 2006, I began at Thomaston Savings Bank as the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer. I became the CEO and President in 2010. Over the past 12 years, I have developed a passion for community banking. I am inspired every day to see how we can positively impact our employees, customers and community. I feel lucky to go to work every day.

Q. What is the bank doing to attract the next generation of customers, the millennials?

Thomaston Savings Bank is dedicated to attracting the next generation of customers by diligently analyzing their banking preferences and financial needs. We understand the importance of mobile banking and the expectation of instant response the digital landscape has made millennials accustom to. Continually updating our mobile app and website to ensure the platforms are intuitive and convenient for the end user is a priority. Our website and app are not just being compared with other banks but to all platforms the user interacts with daily, and we want their digital and mobile experience to be just as good, if not better, with Thomaston Savings Bank. In addition to being seen as a secure and trustworthy bank, we strive to be a financial resource. We make ourselves available to answer questions and proactively educate millennials on financial situations that are relevant in their lives now and will be in their immediate and far-off future.

Q. Like many bank executives, you serve on many boards. How do you find the time? Besides my job as CEO/President at Thomaston Savings Bank, I am also involved with a variety of other community-based organizations including the local Chamber, United Way and Rotary. I enjoy giving my time and expertise to these organizations that give so much back to our community. I also value time with my family. Balancing this work/volunteer/life schedule is a challenge but very important. I have been able to do it with the support of family and bank staff. Some of the tricks I use to manage my time include trying not to overextend myself, utilizing my Outlook calendar, delegating work to others, taking care of myself and staying positive. I also make it a priority to stay active and exercise regularly. When you stop taking care of yourself, I find everything else starts to suffer. Fortunately, my family enjoys outdoor activities as well, so we spend time together hiking, biking and running. I encourage all of our employees to find something they enjoy that will keep them active and healthy.

Q. The bank puts a heavy emphasis on personnel training, as evidenced by the number of successful Connecticut School of Finance and Management (CSFM) graduates over the years; how does the bank select its candidates and do you find their attendance to the program beneficial? CSFM candidates are recommended by department heads and approved by the executive team. The experience each candidate has is invaluable to them as an employee and to the bank as a whole. In particular, those employees who may have an educational background in areas other than finance (HR, system administration, etc.) are much more confident in their understanding of the Bank’s inner workings. The CSFM program has been an integral part of our bank’s leadership development program.  u

Q. Tell us about Thomaston Savings Bank, its history and the communities it serves. From its humble beginnings in the Burr & Stoughton department store in 1874, Thomaston Savings Bank has expanded its role to meet the financial needs of individuals, 9




BankWorld 2019 was held on Friday, January 18th at Mohegan Sun Casino and drew a record number of attendees. Nearly 1,400 bankers gathered for some amazing educational sessions, networking, a buzzing tradeshow floor and the New Leaders Awards Dinner at The Cabaret Theater.

The Connecticut Bankers Association and American Business Media would like to extend a huge “Thank You� to each and every attendee, speaker, exhibitor and sponsor who made BankWorld an amazing success. To see all of the photos from the event, please visit www.nebankworld. com or https://www.facebook.com/BankWorldExpo/.  u


Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019



THIRTEEN HONORED AS NEW LEADERS IN BANKING The Connecticut Bankers Association honored 13 people as the 2019 New Leaders In Banking at a gala dinner attended by more than 150 people at The Mohegan Sun on January 17. They were selected for being among the forefront as banking moves ahead in Connecticut. As Stephen Lewis, Chairman of Connecticut Bankers Association, observed during the ceremonies, these 13 bankers were selected as among the best of the 10,000 people who work in banking in the state. The New Leaders in Banking Awards were presented on the eve of BankWorld 2019, which showcased the latest trends in banking from over 65 exhibitors to more than 1,400 attendees.  u


THE WINNERS WERE: Dalila Borges, Bank of America Mike Kleinschmitt, Collinsville Savings Society John Estelle, Dime Bank Laura Silver, Fairfield County Bank Ornet Hines, Liberty Bank Mickie-Ann Budny, Litchfield Bancorp Whit Holden, Newtown Savings Bank Katie Smith, Newtown Savings Bank Gregori Tonon, Northwest Community Bank Meghan O’Connor, PeoplesBank Amanda Goewey, Salisbury Bank Matthew Fazo, Thomaston Savings Bank Scott Kozek, Union Savings Bank

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

DALILA BORGES Bank of America Senior Vice President, Consumer Banking and Merrill Edge Region Executive

Dalila Borges began her career in banking as a teller while in college. Originally a part-time job, she said she saw the opportunity to learn, grow and build a career and jumped at the chance to make banking a career. “What keeps me motivated is that the work my team does each day impacts the financial lives of so many of our clients and

makes a difference in our communities,” Borges said. Her New Leaders in Banking Award nomination came due to her innovative thinking, leadership and success in core fields. Those areas include improving client experience and driving business integration; improving associate experience, development and retention through a lens of diversity and inclusion; and recognizing Bank of America’s role in its communities and implementing new strategies such as the opening of 37 community financial centers. “Her leadership, mentorship and vision embody the attributes of a New Leaders in Banking Award, evidenced by continued growth in the market amidst challenging industry dynamics and slow growth environment,” her nominator said. During her career, Borges has had the opportunity to work with many great leaders who have been both formal and informal mentors. “It’s important to recommend a strong, small network of people

that can act as a support system for you day to day – when you need to run through an idea or talk about a decision that needs to be made,” she said. “Trusted teammates who are solution oriented will give you honest, direct feedback. These relationships go both ways and have been invaluable to me.” Her greatest success, Borges said, is having a fulfilling career where she can learn every day, working for an amazing company and have a wonderful family. Looking toward the future of banking, Borges said she sees technology putting more clients in control of how and when they want to do their banking and how they want to engage with the bank. “The convenience of mobile and digital banking is now an expectation,” she said. “It is important that we continuously evolve by understanding how our clients are engaging with us, what they value most in their relationship and respond with solutions that will make a difference in their financial lives.” u

MICHAEL KLEINSCHMITT Collinsville Savings Society Chief Financial Officer

Gary J. Roman, president and CEO, Collinsville Savings Society, left, with Michael Kleinschmitt.

Michael Kleinschmitt wasn’t always in banking, but found its evolving needs appealing and decided to stay for the customers. “I started in public accounting and was assigned to the Financial Institutions Group. It was a natural fit and I loved banking,” Kleinschmitt said. A bank auditor for eight years, he moved onto a manufacturing company and immediately missed banking. He then found himself at Collins-

ville Savings Society as Chief Financial Officer. “I am motivated by the ever-changing needs in the banking industry and being able to help lead a bank in meeting the needs of our customers,” he said. Kleinschmitt was nominated for a New Leader in Banking Award for his ability to improve efficiencies and for his civic involvement. “Mike replaced a 40-year veteran as CFO at the bank and quickly learned the role, utilizing technology to its fullest and meeting all regulatory and holding company obligations,” his nominator said. “Mike has been able to make accounting changes where needed, but more importantly, he has become an active participant in the civic and business events the chamber runs in our community. Like all civic organizations, Mike’s contributions are much appreciated by the chamber and the greater local community.” Kleinschmitt has had many mentors that affected his career at different times. He credits Ralph Volpe and Larry Carboni 13

during his auditor days and Sue Martinelli and Jen Wood when he was audit manager. When he transitioned into the “other side” of banking and came to Collinsville Savings Society, he credits Gary Roman, Don Lorusso and Lori Heath with helping him make him who he is. “I have also had the benefit of working with our two sister banks’ management led by CEOs Steve Reilly and Tom Villanova,” he said. “Having so many great individuals throughout our company to learn from over the last several years has been incredible.” Kleinschmitt noted that mentoring is extremely important to him because it shows others you care about their future. “These could be future leaders in the organization,” he said. “Yes, some good employees that we mentor may move on to other opportunities, but having an impact on an employee’s success is the best legacy you can leave behind.” Kleinschmitt’s greatest accomplishment continued on page 19

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

JOHN ESTELLE Dime Bank Vice President

Nick Caplanson, president and CEO, Dime Bank, left, with John Estelle

You could say banking runs in the family for John Estelle. After five years in various retail management positions, he followed in his aunt’s footsteps and joined a bank as an entry-level customer service representative. But Estelle’s drive and passion helped him earn a promotion and he set down the road to becoming a branch manager.

“I managed three different branches before taking an opportunity to work more closely with high net worth clients,” he said. “I became a licensed insurance and securities agent which was a requirement of that position.” As he traveled up the ladder, the bank was also changing. His regional bank became a large national bank through mergers and acquisitions. “While my employment there was rewarding, I had really wanted to work for a local mutual bank and Dime Bank was at the top of my list,” Estelle said. “When I had heard that a branch manager position had opened at Dime, I quickly put my resume together and applied.” After a year as a branch manager with Dime in 2007, he became a commercial lender. He was promoted to vice president in 2013. “And the rest as they say is history,” he said. Estelle credits his success at Dime to the current chief lending officer, Brian McNa-

mara. “From helping me put together my first million dollar construction/development loan, his attention to detail and incredible knowledge of all aspects of lending have helped me tremendously,” he said. “He has made me a better employee for the bank and a much better lender than I could have been otherwise.” Estelle was nominated for a New Leaders in Banking Award for his innovation as an executive and his ability to address all challenges. McNamara called Estelle, “an innovative banking professional who can adapt to any and all situations. He is always positive and willing to go above and beyond to help his customers.” Another mention he credits is the district manager at the regional bank he began his career with, John Blackwell. “I’ll never forget the one-on-one breakfast meetings we would have where he would offer constant advice on how to advance my career continued on page 24

Celebrating 150 years of banking leadership Congratulations to our own John Estelle for winning the New Leaders in Banking Award!

860.859.4300 | dime-bank.com Colchester | East Lyme | Ledyard | Montville | New London: In Shaw’s Cove & In ShopRite Norwich: Broadway, Corporate, Norwichtown | Stonington Borough | Taftville | Westerly, RI


First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

LAURA SILVER Fairfield County Bank AVP, Marketing Manager

David A. Schneider, CEO, Fairfield County Bank, left, with Laura Silver

Starting out at Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services, Laura Silver transitioned to the banking industry in 2013 as a marketing assistant at Fairfield County Bank. After jumping in, she said it’s easy to stay in banking because of the things her bank offers for the community. “A bank is a place where people come to protect something that is extremely

valuable to them and a place they come to help make their dreams a reality,” she said. “Beyond the basics, it is now my opportunity to educate our community members that when they put their money in Fairfield County Bank, they are depositing it with an organization that reinvests their money back into the local economy, helping to strengthen it.” Her nominator for the New Leaders in Banking Award said Silver has excelled in her new position as marketing manager. “Laura successfully established new brand guidelines and impressively weaved traditional marketing channels with digital advertising and social media engagement,” her nominator said, adding the impact can be seen in the bank’s consumer deposit growth. It was once laggard but now easily outpaces competitors. Along with finding new ways to deliver the bank’s message, Silver championed a new digital approach to tracking

and reporting corporate donations and employee volunteer hours. “Laura brings a professional image to the Connecticut banking environment, proving the power of community banking and Connecticut ingenuity,” her nominator said. During her career, Silver said she has had a number of great mentors that have helped guide her. “My first manager at Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services, Brian Burke, is someone I highly respect and someone who helped me grow both personally and professionally,” she said. “He quickly saw my strengths. Even though I did not have a background in insurance, he never doubted my abilities. His belief in me instilled confidence that enabled me to quickly learn a new industry while teaching me how to excel through building strong professional relationships both inside and outside the agency.” continued on page 19

Congratulations Laura Silver 2019 New Leaders in Banking Award

“Laura not only leads by example but contributes to and encourages the growth of those around her.” - Fellow Colleague

Laura Silver | Employee Since 2007

Member FDIC

We Are Fairfield County 15

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

MICKIE-ANN BUDNY Litchfield Bancorp Vice President, Branch Manager, Mortgage Specialist

Mickie-Ann Budny, left, with Thomas J. Villanova, president and CEO, Litchfield Bancorp

What started as a summer break job during college for Mickie-Ann Budny developed into a lifelong career and passion in banking. “I enjoyed the challenge of learning the rules, regulations and how-to’s, helping the customers and meeting new people,” Budny said. “Those same things that ex-

cited me on my first day still make me excited today.” Her career in banking has come full circle after starting at Litchfield Bancorp as a customer service representative and teller trainer, leaving for Fleet Bank and National Iron Bank and finally returning to Litchfield Bancorp. At Fleet Bank, Budny was assistant branch manager, consumer sales specialist and investment representative. At National Iron, she was the assistant vice president, regional branch manager, and a mortgage specialist. Budny was nnominated for a New Leaders in Banking award for her ability not only to perform her job to the highest standard, but also to “inject some fun” into work. “Her goal with her staff is to have them come to work, give 110 percent, and have some fun at the same time,” her nominator said. “She encourages her staff to take classes, ask questions, and to think outside


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of the box. Just because that is the way we have always done it doesn’t mean it can’t be done better, easier, simpler or not done at all.” “If I can go home at the end of the day and know that I have helped someone and made their day a little better, I am a happy person,” Budny said. “Banking is an industry of constant change and I am never bored.” One of the people she credits with helping develop her career and guide her along the way is Ginny Nocera at Fleet Bank. “She held you accountable for your responsibilities and was strict. She was a strong manager, believed in the abilities of her staff and always had our backs,” Budny said. Nocera’s management style was something Budny said she likes to bring into her own leadership skills. “She believed in me, was ready to teach me what she knew and was always there for me when I needed her,” Budny said. “I want my own staff to feel that I have their backs and am available whenever they need me.” Budny passes along that mentorship to her staff, her nominator said. “She is always happy to share what she knows and to see everyone go above and beyond the call – not because they have to, but because we have an environment where they want to and are rewarded and acknowledged for it.” Budny’s greatest success in life is not something work related – it’s her 17-yearold autistic son. “He is a fighter and always keeps trying as do my husband and I,” she said. “We learn something new every day and he is my hero. It does take a village and we have been fortunate to have help along the way.” Looking toward the future, Budny said technology will lead the way. “So much of my job is now via email or Skype and I expect that to continue to increase,” she said. “Check holds will eventually go away as we move information more quickly. Fraud will also continually be part of our day-to-day life as the criminals figure out new ways to commit crime. One thing that cannot change would be the personal interaction even if it is through electronic means rather than face to face.” u

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

ORNET HINES Liberty Bank Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager

Ornet Hines, left, with Kim Binaco, Liberty Bank's eastern market manager

Ornet Hines’ professional career commenced in the hospitality industry, but it wasn’t what she envisioned. Instead, she found herself at Bank of America as a personal banker. Along with Bank of America, Hines worked at First Niagara Financial Group and Dime Bank before coming to Liberty Bank this year. She held positions such as assistant banking center manager, senior customer care represen-

tative, corporate officer/branch manager, and then assistant vice president/branch manager. “I love the people I get to meet along the way – both customers and fellow employees – and I like that it’s not constant. Something is always changing,” Hines said. She was nominated to be a New Leader in Banking for her ability to stand out from the crowd. “Since joining our organization, Ornet has measurably improved our Norwich branch sales performance and has brought in an energy that is contagious,” her nominator said. “Ornet’s coaching is bringing the relationship banking model to life using the role play method – as all are working to improve their skills and practicing on each other makes for a comfortable environment to make mistakes and learn.” Hines said she has had many great mentors during her career. She gives back by also mentoring others. “I make myself available when someone needs my help and I continue to keep my mentors close,” she said. “True mentors are good, objective resources. They give without wanting

anything in return and they have your best interest at heart.” Hines said her biggest success is knowing she will get knocked down, but that she will brush herself off and get back up. “I am also succeeding when I can be there for the people who need me and for the people who rely on me,” Hines said. One stumbling block, her nominator described, was coming from Jamaica. “Ornet revealed that she faced many obstacles, arriving through a student visa by herself and never having owned a coat. No need in Jamaica,” the nominator said. “Her journey included working in the library, food service, being a student and many trips to the infirmary. A drastic climate change for her and – as she described – her only true friend for some time was the nurse. Being far from family and determined to be better, Ornet remains determined to create her success story.” Looking toward the future, Ornet said larger continued on page 19

Find your [leaders we’re proud to follow] place. Congratulations Ornet Hines, Liberty’s New Leader in Banking.

liberty-bank.com 888-570-0773 MEMBER FDIC



Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

WHIT HOLDEN Newtown Savings Bank Vice President, Small Business Lending Sales Leader

Anthony Giobbi, chief banking officer, Newtown Savings Bank, left, with Whit Holden

Whit Holden has been in banking since his college graduation a quarter-century ago. He’s worked at small banks, regional banks and even a global money center bank, but he considers coming home to a community bank the best decision he ever made. His move to Newtown Savings was where he “feels at home.” “Helping small business owners, particularly assisting some to get their start-up businesses off the ground in an effort to realize their dreams, provides plenty of motivation for me to stay in banking,” Holden said.

Holden was nominated for a New Leaders in Banking Award for his ability to go beyond his job description and his impact on the communities the bank serves. “Whit is a proven leader, managing a sales process that brings together the bank’s retail banking staff, in close coordination and collaboration with the credit department, to meet the financing needs of our small business customers,” his nominator said. During his career, Holden has had many important role models who shaped him as a banker. “Several of my former immediate supervisors are now members of executive management including a couple of CEOs at various financial institutions in Connecticut and in the region,” Holden said. “While our connections were not via a formal mentor/ mentee program, I would be proud to call them mentors and have undoubtedly benefited by not only working for them, but by being around them to see how they handled situations. The guidance and wisdom that they imparted to me have certainly made me a better banker and helped me in my professional growth.” He said he does not have a single greatest

success. “I am proud of several accomplishments and things that I have been a part of, although success cannot be viewed as a single accomplishment,” Holden said. “It can come from doing the little things the right way repeatedly. My success often lies in my loyalty to my job and the bank, as well as my desire to help our clients reach their goals. This combination leads to finding solutions, executing, and forging relationships that are both beneficial to the customer and the bank.” Pondering the future of banking, Holden said change is accelerating at an even faster pace than he has seen in his 25 years of experience. “While the shift to automation and quicker turnaround times in the industry as a whole has been fantastic, I believe that in small business lending getting to know your customer and face-to-face interaction is critical,” he said. “I learned early in my career about the ‘5 C’s of Credit’ [character, capacity, capital, conditions and collateral] during a training course and I personally feel that character is just as important today as ever. That aspect of lending cannot be forgotten and I do not think that will change.” u

gional experience manager for the bank. “I knew I wanted a job where customer service was a top priority as well as customer facing,” she said. “I had never thought about banking before, but now here I am 16 years later. I love everything about banking and knew right away it’s the career for me.” Smith was nominated for a New Leaders in Banking Award for her ability to be a good leader. “She sets very high, but fair expectations of her team and they deliver,” her nominator said. “Her branch always scores near the top with customer service shops and quarterly sales goals. Katie has continued to drive in core deposits by being committed to the customer, her local market, and her team.” Smith treasures mentors that have helped her along the way and is dedicated to also helping others. “Mentoring is important, not

only because of the knowledge and skills one can learn from mentors, but also because mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success in the workplace and beyond,” she said. During her time at Newtown Savings, Smith said she worked under a true leader when she was assistant manager. “I worked with her for four years and I can honestly say I would not be where I am today in my career if it wasn’t for her mentorship,” she said. “She has since retired from the bank and to this day I call her for advice. She is always there for me and I know I can count on her.” Having that mentor in her life, Smith added, has made her a better person and a stronger, more confident leader.

KATIE SMITH Newtown Savings Bank Assistant Vice President, Regional Experience Manager

Anthony Giobbi, chief banking officer, Newtown Savings Bank, left, with Katie Smith

Katie Smith began her career in the banking industry fresh out of high school as a teller at Newtown Savings Bank. Since then she has grown into a confident leader and she is now an assistant vice president, re-


continued on page 20

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine


Continued from page 15 One of the most important lessons she learned from Burke, Silver said, was to stay true to herself. “It is a lesson all of the great mentors I have come across have either directly or indirectly taught me. It is one that I focus on sharing with others with whom I work because if you are not true to yourself, no one will succeed,” she said.


Continued from page 17 banks are changing rapidly. “The trend will continue and midsize to smaller institutions will follow suit,” Hines said. “There will be more internal implementations of systems that can automate a process and more processes will move from manual to electronic.” She also said customer-facing technology will continue to progress, ATMs will improve, and more branches will be “teched out.”  u

Silver’s greatest success, she said, is her family and her three daughters. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to show them that through education, dedication and hard work that they can become successful by staying true to themselves,” she said. Technology will continue to change the future of banking, Silver said. “Faster,

easier, smarter and more convenient are only a few adjectives that describe what our consumers want,” she said. “Consumer data and our use of it will be king. Artificial intelligence will become more prevalent, but in community banking, more likely in a back-office capacity. Biometrics will be used to ensure stronger means of authentication.” u

MICHAEL KLEINSCHMITT Continued from page 13

is having a good work life balance. “My greatest success was to put in the hard work early in my career in order to find a company that would allow me to be there for all of the important parts of my daughter growing up,” he said. “Today I am lucky enough to work for a company where I can be a contributor at work, but at the same time, ensure I get to be there for all of the important moments at home.”


Regarding the future of banking, Kleinschmitt predicts technology will allow banks to broaden their customer base and hopefully improve customer service. “At the rate this industry is headed, most consumers will use nothing more than their phone to perform all banking needs and the use of cash may vanish completely. There are already retailers that no longer accept cash,” he added. u

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

GREGORI TONON Northwest Community Bank Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer

Gregori Tonon, left, with Steven J. Zarrella, senior vice president and chief lending officer, Northwest Community Bank

The more Gregori Tonon learned about the mortgage industry, the more he realized something wasn’t right. Hired as a mortgage loan officer during the 2003 refinance boom, Tonon remembered speaking to a top loan officer who, along with his brother, had been a milk salesman one year prior. He was now making more money than most physicians. That didn’t sit right with Tonon. “I looked deeply into how this was possible and what I found scared me,” Tonon said. “I decided to use my experience and success in the industry and applied for a financial specialist position at Wachovia Bank. From there I grew and moved upward.” Tonon’s career has taken off. He worked at numerous banks as personal/small business banking officer, assistant vice president/ business development officer, vice president/

commercial portfolio manager, and vice president/commercial relationship manager before coming to Northwest as vice president/commercial loan officer. “The main driver that keeps me motivated to stay in banking is that I truly enjoy dealing with business owners and understanding all of the different industries that are out there,” Tonon said. “One of my favorite parts of my job is visiting a manufacturing shop and going on a tour with the owner. Listening to them explain the processes and procedures involved in what they make is fascinating to me. Listening to how they got started and grew in their business never gets old to me.” Tonon was nominated for a New Leader in Banking award for his ability to transform the bank. “Credit quality is the number one issue for the bank when underwriting loans,” his nominator said. “Greg’s lending philosophy fits in very well and while he is creative when necessary, his creativity never interferes with credit quality.” Tonon also brought a new cash management skill set to the bank that only a few people had. “He was always willing to jump in and offer his assistance to branch managers and other lenders when questions or issues came up,” his nominator said. Throughout his career, Tonon said there were many special mentors and more than one person helped him along the way. “I personally believe that mentorship can come in many different forms and does not

need to be defined as one person who guides another person for many years,” he said. “Although this is a tremendous gift to young employees, the mentors that I have had were shorter term individuals who helped me learn and understand specific parts of the industry.” One mentor that Tonon remembered fondly was a senior lender at his bank. Tonon was not a commercial lender at that point, but it was what he wanted to do. The senior lender guided Tonon through the decision process by assigning him one or two tasks on loans as they came up. The senior lender would go over each step with Tonon and have him explain his conclusion. If mistakes were made, the senior lender helped him fix them and learn from them. “His mentorship helped me and my career tremendously and I do my best to do the same thing with other young lenders who are interested,” Tonon said. His greatest success, he said, is raising his children to be positive and kind to others. As to the future of the banking industry, Tonon said he foresees branch banking continuing to dwindle while technology continues on the path it has followed for the last 10 to 15 years. “Smart phone banking applications and payment applications will continue to grow. Blockchain services could be the largest disrupter. Smart contracts, real time settlement systems, remittance networks and currently exchanges can not go through the blockchain,” he said. u

and then her current role as assistant vice president and regional experience manager. “I thank Newtown Savings Bank for the support they have showed me over the years and trusting in me. I look forward to continuing to grow and enhance my job knowledge at Newtown Savings Bank,” she said. Smith sees a shift in banking and technology coming in the future. “In general, bank customers are changing in terms of their ways and anticipation,” she said. “Keeping up with technology not only involves providing these products and ser-

vices, but also staying on top of, and mitigating threats to information security.” She also sees a change coming in the branches. “As more and more customers conduct their banking transactions electronically, the current bank branch model will see lower transaction volume along with higher costs. With that being said, the universal banking model will take over many insitutitions and enhance banking transactions overall,” she said. “It will boost the customer’s experience as well as increasing the job knowledge of banking employees.” u


Continued from page 18 “I want to be that role model for others and lead by example,” she said. “We all need someone in our life that we can trust, confide in and count on to be there.” Smith’s greatest success, she said, is how far she has come in her career. “I have grown as a leader, built confidence in myself and worked hard to be where I am today,” she said. “Through hard work and determination, I worked my way up the ladder and have enjoyed learning each role.” After being a teller, Smith advanced to head teller, customer service representative, assistant manager, branch manager


First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

MEGHAN O’CONNOR PeoplesBank Cash Management Specialist

Thomas Senecal, president and CEO, PeoplesBank, left, with Meghan O’Connor

Meghan O’Connor went from being a customer of PeoplesBank to falling in love with the banking profession. “I often went into my local PeoplesBank branch to do banking and regularly connected with someone on the teller line,” O’Connor said. “My experience with this person, and with other staff members at the bank, always exceeded my expectations.” While browsing the PeoplesBank website, she decided to apply for the Management Development Program with zero experience in banking. O’Connor said doing so was one of the

best decisions she had ever made. She said she has found PeoplesBank to be the perfect fit for her because of the people and the culture. “I am loyal because the mission aligns with my own personal values. PeoplesBank is a leader in the community by operating responsibly as a good corporate citizen and fosters an environment that nurtures growth for the employees,” O’Connor said. “On an individual level, I am also motivated to play the same role in my community, work and family.” O’Connor was nominated for the New Leaders in Banking Award because of her ability to foster team approaches to problem resolution. “Meghan is a smart and creative employee of PeoplesBank with strong leadership skills and emotional intelligence,” her nominator said citing O’Connor’s process improvement project that created efficiencies at the bank. O’Connor said she has not had any specific mentors that have made an impact in her career. Instead, she views every person who comes into her life as a mentor of some kind. “Whether they play a large or small role, positive or

negative, I improve myself by collecting traits and adapting from people around me,” she said. O’Connor said it is crucial to surround yourself with people who make you want to be a better person and to avoid people who hinder your growth as an individual. Her greatest success, she said, is not banking related. Rather, it is her three children. “Seeing the smiles on their faces when they achieve a goal they worked hard to obtain brings me great pleasure,” O’Connor said. “Knowing that I might have done something to assist them to reach that goal makes me feel successful as an individual.” Looking toward the future of banking, O’Connor said she sees technology playing an even greater role in the industry. “Currently, within the ACH Network, same day payments are available and becoming even more expedited in the near future,” she said “Other options for emerging payments with fintech will increase making funds available immediately at the touch of a button.”  u

oriented roles, Goewey said each step has been important for her. “I enjoy learning and I stay in banking because it continues to offer so many opportunities for growth,” Goewey said. Throughout her career, Goewey said she has had a number of mentors help her along the way. “I have had managers that have invested in me and really pushed me to take on more and work outside my comfort zone to grow,” she said. “Mentoring is so important because we need to continue to foster and encourage leaders in banking.” She feels strongly about colleagues being encouraged and challenged in the right way to help achieve goals. “I want my coworkers to learn as much as they can and do not see this as a threat,

but instead as a necessity,” Goewey said. However her greatest success is not at the bank. “I consider my greatest success my family,” Goewey said. “I find balancing a career and being a mother and wife challenging, but rewarding. I have been so lucky to work for an institution that has invested in me, but also understands the importance of family.” Looking toward the future of banking, Goewey said technology will continue to push innovation and change. “We are all struggling to stay ahead of the curve,” she said. “We have a lot of competition and work cut out for all of us when it comes to technology and not just from competitor banks. We need to adapt and adopt.”  u

AMANDA GOEWEY Salisbury Bank and Trust Company Vice President, Berkshire Regional Branch Manager

Amanda Goewey, left, with Richard Cantele, president & CEO, Salisbury Bank and Trust

Amanda Goewey got into banking because of the people. Working in both back-office positions as well as customer-


Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

MATTHEW FAZO Thomaston Savings Bank Project Manager

Matthew Fazo, left, with Stephen L. Lewis, president and CEO, Thomaston Savings Bank

When Matthew Fazo first imagined his career path, he never considered banking. A call to interview for a teller position at Thomaston Savings completely changed his professional life. “I was actually at the culinary institute ready to sign up to train as a chef,” Fazo said. “I’m very happy that call came when it did.” Fazo said he loves the people he works

with and sees the impact that Thomaston Savings has on the communities it serves. “I plan to remain in banking and continue to make a positive impact on the people and communities that I live and work in,” he said. “Matt is an accomplished, multi-talented professional with expertise in data analysis, custom report writing and project implementation,” his New Leaders in Banking Award nominator said. “He has established strong relationships, promoted collaboration and has proven himself an excellent problem solver with the ability to resolve complex situations.” Along the way, Fazo said he has had a number of mentors that have taught him. “Not only about hard work, perseverance, collaboration and holding myself to a high standard, but also respecting all coworkers, helping others and taking time to enjoy and laugh at work as well,” he said. On a personal level, Fazo said he considers his father a mentor. “He is one of the hardest working people I know and always puts his family and friends before himself,” he said.


“Having great people around you to learn from is crucial. Not only is it important to learn from their successes, but also from their mistakes. I hope that someday, someone will look back on their life and think of me when they are answering this same question,” Faza added. His greatest success, Fazo said, has been continually progressing in his five-year career. “Having only been in banking for such a short time, I’ve very proud that I have earned the trust of my colleagues and have been given amazing opportunities not only to make our organization better, but also to better myself.” Regarding the future of banking, Fazo said technology will continue to make banks more innovative and efficient. “We have already begun utilizing these new applications and software to streamline or automate some of the more outdated practices that were in place,” he said. “We do need to keep the customer in mind when implementing these new technologies. Our customers and communities should not be hindered due to our advancements or changes.” u

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

SCOTT KOZEK Union Savings Bank Director of Learning and Development

Cynthia C. Merkle, president and CEO, Union Savings Bank, left, with Scott Kozek

An Army veteran, Scott Kozek said he went from “Tank to Bank” once he completed his five-year military duty. “I’ve always had an interest in financial services so when one of my good friends, who worked at Union Savings Bank, told me about an opportunity at the local bank, I applied and began my journey,” Kozek said. “Seventeen years

later, the bank’s values and commitment to the communities it serves continues to align with my personal values.” Kozek was nominated for the New Leaders in Banking Award for his organizational and leadership skills along with a drive to go above and beyond his job description. “Scott’s leadership skills have been tested numerous times in his role, but the greatest example of his leadership skills came during the successful bank system conversion,” his nominator said. “Scott and his team were responsible for the development, scheduling, delivery and support of all training on the bank’s new core operating system.” “His initiative, enthusiasm, community outreach and strong organizational skills are all the attributes that drive him to be the leader that he is today,” his nominator added. Throughout his banking career, Kozek said he has had a number of

role models and mentors to guide him along with great managers and supervisors that believed in the importance of cross training and building bench strength. “I’m a big proponent of developing others and helping them learn and grow because what starts as a job can turn into a career and that’s a win for the individual, the customer and the company,” he said. continued on page 24


Congratulations Scott Kozek, our Director of Learning & Development, for being named a New Leader in Banking by the Connecticut Bankers Association. Your energy and enthusiasm motivate us to work together to achieve our goals.



Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019


Continued from page 14 and constructive criticism of things I needed to work on,” he said. On a personal level, Estelle says his aunt Larraine Cellucci, who told him about his first banking job, made a huge impact on his career. “Yes, if not for her, I may never have gotten into banking,” he said. “Although this is a thank you to her, she was also a great mentor when it came to meeting and greeting people. She is one of the few

people I know that can enter a room not knowing anyone and leave knowing everyone.” Estelle’s greatest success, he said, would be achieving a vice president position at Dime. “Since the start of my banking career, I had always wanted to work for a local community bank, which appreciates a work life balance and the importance of giving back to the community. Dime was a perfect fit,” he said.

Going forward into the future of banking, Estelle sees more advancements in cashless transaction technology and internet-based banking. “I see fewer brick and mortar branches opening and possibly some shrinking of existing branches,” he said. “I am hopeful that technology will continue to improve the security of non-public information to combat the fraud that continues to affect all financial institutions.” u

help move the needle on the metrics that matter most,” he said. “Personally, my biggest success is my family.” Kozek is married with two children. Looking toward the future, Kozek said technology will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. That in turn will re-

shape the way banks operate and deliver products and services to consumers. “Partnerships with fintechs to leverage big data, advanced analytics and new technologies to improve the customer experience will take a front seat,” Kozek said.  u


Continued from page 23 Kozek said his greatest professional accomplishment has been being well rounded at the bank. “My biggest success has been the ability to participate in important bank projects and serve on a variety of committees working with great teams to


First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

YOU Need a Mentor; Here’s How To Find One

By Debbie Peterson


hy is it that we think we have to have everything figured out? How come we have to have all of the answers when we don’t expect anyone else to? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of; someone who champions you and can make suggestions and introductions? Wouldn’t you like to acquire skills or knowledge to advance your career more easily? Well then, you need a mentor; AND if you are serious about taking your banking career to the next level, you need to know that you won’t do it alone. By definition, mentoring is when a more experienced or knowledgeable person helps to guide someone who is less so. That’s it. The mentor doesn’t need to be older, or even in the same industry. Mentoring doesn’t even have to be time consuming. Early in my career when I was in Investor Relations, I needed to familiarize myself with company financials to have a basic understanding of them. I asked an accountant friend to guide me. During a series of lunches, we reviewed them, and I got to ask lots of questions. That was mentoring. Even though she was much younger than I and worked in a different department, she was a “subject mentor.” She had the knowledge, and I made the ask, which is a crucial point - I made the ask. You have to be willing to ask for what you need from a mentor, but that requires that you know what type of mentor you’re looking for according to your career goals. It’s fine if you’re not sure what’s next. We’re going to do some digging at the Women in Banking Conference and give you some clarity!

In the meantime, here are some other types of mentors or mentoring categories for you to consider: Career Mentors – This is someone you meet with routinely and for a specified period, say six to nine months or more. In a more formal career mentoring relationship, you’d be wise to have structure and goals around what you wish to accomplish with the time spent. This gets you the guidance to develop your overall career. Group Mentoring – This is someone who mentors a group of individuals. I recently spoke at a women’s affinity group on this, and essentially I was mentoring them on mentoring. Perhaps someone in your office is willing to present their knowledge for a group mentoring experience. What do you want to learn? Chances are there are others want to learn the same thing too. Mentoring Moments – This happens when you make an ask at a specific time for a specific reason. Perhaps you want to increase your business development skills so the next time someone is having a client call or meeting you can sit in and then debrief after. Maybe you want to understand contracts better so if you know someone from legal, you might take them to lunch and ask to have the legal jargon explained in layman’s terms. There are also Virtual Mentors. These are the books you read, the courses you take, coaches you work with and YouTube videos you watch for the goal of increasing knowledge, skills and gaining advice. What do you fill your head with? So how do you find a mentor? They are most likely right in front of you. Once you get clear on what it is that you want to achieve in your career, pay attention to the people you work with or meet who have the skills you need to succeed. Then approach them. Don’t wait for someone to offer; take the initiative. #MakeTheAsk Like any other connection, a mentoring relationship takes time and the right chemistry to develop. Trust has to go both ways, and the mentoring needs to be comfortable for each person. Structure has to be in place to protect each other’s time and ensure there is accountability. Mentoring can be a powerful tool to elevate your career to the next level if you see how it can work. Explore some of these different kinds of mentors and here's wishing you the clarity you deserve! u Debbie Peterson of Getting to Clarity, works with professionals to develop a winning mindset that accelerates performance results. Meet Debbie at the Women In Banking Conference being held May 3, 2019 at the Mystic Marriott Hotel, Mystic, CT. Visit http://www. ctbank.com/Education/WomenInBanking.aspx for program and registration information. 25

Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

Flo Carbone

Lucy French

Toure Surgeon

Amanda Goewey

Thomas Linder

John Bonora

Rosalia Aiello

Tom Berta

Sara Tucker

David Rotatori

Vincent Saggese

Sal Romano

Cherilyn Spatola

Paul LaMonica

Tony Denniston

Stacey Uccello

LaKisha Jordan

Katie Farrington

Jerry McDermott

Patricia Startz

Chandler Howard

Jennifer Height

Ornet Hines

Pam Days-Luketich

Toral Maher

Daniel Longo

Jason Cote

Kristin Bures

James Trimble

Christine Bascetta-Gath

Margaret Warner

Marc Massimino

Carl Josephson

Caroline Corgbett

Richard Bushka

Shaun Calhoun

Scott Kozek

Paul Bruce

Greg Nilson

MaryJean Rebeiro

Jason Ginsberg

Dan Silva and Olya Conterez

Mimi Rog

Brandon Swafford

Claudio Lameira

Todd Navin

David Iannucci

Lynne Stanley

Nathan Adajian

Bankwell Flo Carbone was named assistant vice president and branch manager. Lucy French was named assistant vice president and marketing manager. Toure Surgeon was promoted to assistant treasurer and assistant branch manager.

John Bonora was promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Essex Savings Bank Thomas Linder received the 2018 Beacon Award in recognition of his extensive volunteer work.

Ion Bank David Rotatori was named as chief executive officer. Vincent Saggese was named as a Five Star Wealth Manager for 2018. Sal Romano joined as senior vice president of commercial lending. Cherilyn Spatola joined as vice president, branch manager. Paul LaMonica was hired as senior vice president of commercial lending. Tony Denniston joined as executive vice president, chief human resources officer. Stacey Uccello joined as senior vice president, cash management.

First County Bank Tom Berta was promoted to senior vice president manager of branch sales and service, retail banking division. Rosalia Aiello was promoted to vice president, chief of compliance and operational officer in the risk management department. Sara Tucker was promoted to executive vice president and chief lending officer.

KeyBank LaKisha Jordan was named as one of the "100 Most influential Blacks in Connecticut" by the State Conference of NAACP branches. Katie Farrington joined as Key@Work Relationship Manager. Jerry McDermott was hired to expand asset based lending capablilites for middle market business. Patricia Startz joined as a

Berkshire Bank - CBT Region Amanda Goewey was promoted to vice president, Berkshire regional branch manager.


business banking relationship manager. Kristin Bures was promoted to business banking relationship manager. James Trimble received the Connecticut Food Bank's 2018 Commitment and Service Award for his volunteer work at the food bank since 2005 and for conducting a "Super Size Me" food drive to raise donations for the food bank each year. Liberty Bank Chandler Howard received the Leadership Award in the Large Employer Category at the Hartford Courant's Top Workplace event. Doreen Dziurgot was awarded the widely recognized CAMS. Jennifer Height was inducted into the Bank's Volunteer Hall of Fame and presented a $1,000 check in her honor to the East Haddam Youth and Family Services. Ornet Hines participated in a panel discussion at the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce's Diversity in Leadership event. Pam Days-Luketich spoke at the FDIC's Economic Inclusion Forum highlighting Liberty's inclusion efforts. Toral

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

Maher was promoted to assistant vice president, senior program officer. Daniel Longo joined as vice president, senior commercial loan officer. Jason Cote was promoted to assistant vice president, consumer loan workout manager. Litchfield Bancorp Christine Bascetta-Gath was hired as senior vice president, commercial lending officer. Maura Malo was elected as President of the Oliver Wolcott Library's Board of Directors. Margaret Warner was honored as the 2018 Community Leader of the Year. Newtown Savings Bank Marc Massimino joined as vice president, product marketing and development manager. Carl Josephson joined as senior vice president, retail lending.


Tom Curry

Ben Mahtani

COCC New Valley Bank & Trust selected COCC as its core provider for banking services. COCC was honored as a recipient of the 2018 Maracum Tech Top 40 fastest growing companies in Connecticut. Veteran's Day Breakfast at Head O'Meadow School in Newtown.

Torrington Savings Bank Shaun Calhoun was promoted to branch manager.

Paul Bruce was a guest speaker at a Young Entrepreneurs Academy hosted by the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce. Greg Nilson was presented the 2018 USB Community Hero Award. MaryJean Rebeiro received the 2018 Cecil J. Previdi Award. Jason Ginsberg joined District Governor Lyn Meyers and other Lions Club members and suppporters for the Danbury Lions Club, CT Breakfast. Dan Silva and Olya Conterez helped at ARC - Association of Religious Communities repacking family portions of rice for distribution at the Comida Food Pantry.

Union Savings Bank Gary DellaRocco joined as vice president, business banking officer. Scott Kozek, Army Seargeant E-5 and director of Learning & Development volunteered at the annual

Washington Trust Joseph Confessore was chosen to lead their new Private Client Group while Robert Mancini joined as vice president and senior private client advisor.

Savings Bank of Danbury Caroline Corgbett was hired as vice president of human resources. Thomaston Savings Bank Richard Bushka was elected to the Board of Directors

Nutter Tom Curry, a partner and co-leader of Nutter's Banking and Financial Services practice group was appointed chair of the Milken Institute Fintech Advisory Committee. PW Campbell Ben Mahtani was promoted to vice president and chief information officer. 


Webster Bank, N.A. Mimi Rog joined as senior vice president and director, learning and talent management. Brandon Swafford joined as senior vice president and director of corporate information security. Wells Fargo Bank Claudio Lameira was promoted to business banking specialist. Westfield Bank Todd Navin joined as senior vice president, commercial loan officer. Windsor Federal Savings David Iannucci joined as vice president of residential and consumer lending. Lynne Stanley was promoted to assistant vice president, cash management officer. Nathan Adajian was promoted to assistant vice president. 


Bank of America employees designed, built and decorated playhouses during Habitat for Humanity Global Build Week. They were displayed and raffled with all proceeds benefitting Hartford Habitat.

Bank of America selected Riverfront Recapture as its 2018 Neighborhood Builders award recipient. Bank of America named Columbus House its 2018 Neighborhood Builder grant recipient in Southern Connecticut.

Bank of America sponsored The Salvation Army Store event hosted by WTIC's Ray Dunaway in the CityPlace lobby.


Bank of America sponsored its 19th annual Turkey Tuesday with the event being the single largest food collection in Greater Hartford, raising nearly 700 pounds of non-perishable food items, 600 turkeys, and $31,000 of donations for Foodshare.

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Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

Bankwell sponsored the New England Dance Theater's 9th Annual Benefit Show.

Bankwell sponsored the Filling in the Blanks Annual Holiday Backpack Drive.

The Chelsea Groton Foundation made a second $100,000 grant to support Global City Norwich to focus on funding for entrepreneurship and small business. Chelsea Groton Bank announced the renaming of their community education program to Chelsea University and their new e-learning platform. Chelsea Groton Bank earned the BauerFinancial 5-Star rating. Chelsea Groton Bank promoted wellness at work by challenging employees to participate in A Walk Across America challenge, logging over 46, 000 miles.

Chelsea Groton Foundation approved funding $315,663 in grants to 40 non-profit organizations, one of which was the Children's Museum of SECT.

Chelsea Groton Bank was named a winner of the 2018 Top Workplaces Award for the third straight year by the Hartford Courant.

Chelsea Groton Foundation donated $100,000 to the National Coast Guard Museum Association.

Collinsville Savings Society presented a $1,000 donation to SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton and a $10,000 donation to The Arc of Farmington Valley. Essex Savings Bank received "Best Of " nods in 5 categories in the Commerical Record's 11th annual readers' poll - Commercial Lending, Community Bank, Residential Lending, Financing and Lending.

KeyBank and New Haven Public Schools were presented with the Community Partnership Award for their Collaboration on a workplace mentoring program with Hillhouse High School.

KeyBank, the Official and Exclusive Retail Bank of the Uconn Men's Basketball team, awarded a $400 cash prize to a lucky fan during KeyBank Day at the XL Center.

The Housatonic Community College Foundation received a $30,000 grant from KeyBank Foundation for the College's Family Economic Security Program which supports 400 students enrolled in the program.

Essex Savings Bank employees donated hundreds of books to Read to Grow. Fairfield County Bank was ranked as one of the top workplaces in Connecticut by Hearst Connecticut Media Group. First National Bank of Suffield was acquired and is now conducting business under the trade name of First Suffield Bank, a Division of PeoplesBank. Liberty Bank, along with the Branford Rotary Club, raised $46,068 while the Liberty Bank Foundation granted $11, 517 in matching funds for a total of $58,085 donated to several local organizations.


KeyBank Foundation pledged $300,000 to Connecticut Association for Human Services to support the BankOn New Haven initiative, the city's Financial Empowerment Center and CAHS financial literacy programs.

Liberty Bank hosted its annual United Way Campaign raising $275,000.

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

Liberty Bank was named the 2018 Best Bank in Connecticut by readers of the Record Journal.

Liberty Bank was one of the presenting sponsors of the American Heart Association's Little Kid Hero Day at Lyman Orchards.

Liberty Bank received the 2018 AT&T Veteran Support Business of the Year Award from the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce.

Liberty Bank Foundation presented a check to United Way of Southeastern Connecticut.

Litchfield Bancorp donated $1,000 to the Friends of the Litchfield Community Greenway.

Litchfield Bancorp employees volunteered with The Salvation Army and raised more than $7,400 ringing bells from Black Friday until Christmas Eve.

Liberty Bank held a ribbon cutting for the new, fully renovated corporate headquarters. Newtown Savings Bank employees helped distribute food with the Mobile Food Pantry in Bethel and presented the CT Food Bank with a $2,000 donation.

Liberty Bank volunteers serve lunch and wash dishes two Friday's each month at the St. Vincent dePaul Amazing Grace Food Pantry.

Liberty Bank was named a Hartford Courant Top Workplace for the seventh straight year in the Large Employer category.

Northwest Community Bank donated $5,000 to youth basketball with Torrington Police Activities League. Liberty Bank sponsored free cold treats from Ice Cream Emergency at Naugatuck's first annual Borough Brew Festival. Liberty Bank's Waterbury branch donated a box full of warm winter gloves, scarves, and mittens to Waterbury Youth Services.

Litchfield Bancorp continued their ongoing series of local Cash Mob events at Energy Fitness Factory in Torrington. Litchfield Bancorp sponsored the fifth local cash mob at the Sportsmen's in Bantam. Litchfield Bancorp sponsored their ongoing series of local Cash Mob events at Ponte's Package Store in Torrington in January.

Liberty Bank's New London branch presented a check to The Riverfront Children's Center.

Litchfield Bancorp started 2019 off with a local Cash Mob event held at The Spa at Litchfield Hills.


Northwest Community Bank held a free shred day and collected nonperishable food items for local food banks. People's United Community Foundation awarded $318,000 in grants to Connecticut non-profits. Salisbury Bank and Trust Company partnered with Score by offering a free seminar on Creating a Business Plan 101. Salisbury Bank and Trust Company started its annual "We Believe" program collecting new unwrapped gifts for local children.

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Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2019

Salisbury Bank and Trust Company offered a free seminar on making sense of Medicare. Salisbury Bank and Trust Company kicked off its Fill-the-Basket Campaign collecting foods and donations for local food pantries. Salibury Bank and Trust Company hosted several Community Shred Days. Salisbury Bank and Trust Company offered a free seminar on buying your first home and credit scores.

Simsbury Bank made a $1,700 donation to the Simsbury Camera Club in exchange for photos taken by Club members that are featured in the Bank's 2019 full-color calendar.

Simsbury Bank and Uconn School of Business jointly hosted a series of their Family Business program.

Simsbury Bank made a $2,500 sponsorship contribution to the Salvation Army as part of WTIC NewsTalk 1080's annual Holiday Store program.

Simsbury Bank was named a top workplace six years in a row by the Hartford Courant.

Start Community Bank employees dressed in costume for Halloween while hosting their Customer Appreciation Event. Start Community Bank was a sponsor of Community Health Network of Connecticut Foundation's KHAIR Program event for children.

Torrington Savings Bank celebrated the grand re-opening of their main office in Torrington. Union Savings Bank employees participated in their annual USB Gives Back initiative, completing 32 projects for various nonprofit organizations throughout their local communities. Union Savings Bank employees celebrated National Read a Book Day by making deliveries of books to community partners; Families Network of Western CT, Northwest CT Torrington YMCA and the Regional YMCA of Western CT Children's Center.

Start Community Bank employees collected toys for the Clifford Beers Annual Toy Drive. Simsbury Bank made a $600 donation to the Granby Camera Club for the Bank's 2019 fullcolor calendar.

Start Community Bank was a Friend Sponsor of the Columbus House Annual Meeting. Start Community Bank employees collected food for Christian Community Action's Annual Food Drive. Start Community Bank was the sponsor of Continuum of Care's Wine & Beer Tasting event.

Simsbury Bank continued their sponsorship of the annual Fall Festival at Auer Farm.

Start Community Bank was a Table Sponsor of the Archbishop's Annual Columbus Day Breakfast. Start Community Bank was a Bronze Sponsor of Connecticut Voices for Children's First for Kids Awards.

Union Savings Bank participated with runners and volunteers at the United Way of Western Connecticut's King of the Hill 5K which supports many of the United Way's ALICE initiatives. Union Savings Bank donated books from their Share the Love of Reading project to the Literacy Volunteers on the Green.

Start Community Bank was a Silver Sponsor of New Haven's Annual Columbus Day Parade. Start Community Bank was a Silver Sponsor of the Chapel Haven Annual Golf Classic. Simsbury Bank is the Title Sponsor of the 2019 Class of the Simsbury High School Trojan's Hall of Fame.

Start Community Bank was a Silver Sponsor of the New Haven Chapter of the Links, Inc. Emeralds and Pearls annual fundraiser.


Union Savings Foundation announced the recipients of the 2018 USB Foundation Grants. This year, eighteen local organizations were awarded grants totaling $202,525 in support of educational programs.

First Quarter 2019 • Connecticut Banking Magazine

Union Savings Bank employees joined Families Network of Western CT for their 20th Anniversary Gala.

Union Savings Bank Board of Trustees and Corporators were ready to ensure that teachers and children in their community have the tools they need to succeed by donating school supplies to the USB Teachers’ Closet during a recent corporate meeting.

United Bank employees volunteered at the Hartford Marathon's FitKids in School event.

United Bank was the top sponsor of the Rockville Downtown Association's Business Expo. Union Savings Bank supported a new "Be Kind" Mosaic to be installed at the Booth Free School in Roxbury which helps students celebrate acts of kindness through the Ben's Bells Project Kind Campus Initiative.

Union Savings Bank employees teamed up to join over 1,000 volunteers at the Handy Dandy Handyman Ministry Annual Rake n' Bake.

Union Savings Bank welcomed new team members at a recent presentation with a fun culinary lesson from Dawn Hammacott and Chef Blythe Roberts of the Community Culinary School of Northwestern CT. Union Savings Bank welcomed South Street Elementary School Principal Carmen Vargas-Guevara as the newest school to benefit from the Union Savings Bank Teachers' Closet program.

Union Savings Bank Canton Solutions Team presented a donation to Foodshare for the annual Jack Bannon Memorial Turkey Trot and turkey drive in collaboration with Miller Foods. Union Savings Bank volunteered as a judge at the annual Ridgefield Founders Hall Wreath Festival. United Bank sponsored Foodshare's annual Empty Bowls Project fundraising event.

United Bank teammates participated with Mayor Luke Bronin at the CT Craft Beer Festival in Hartford.

United Bank was a "Podunk Sponsor" of the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce's 50th Anniversary Celebration and annual meeting.


United Bank employees from the North Haven and Park Street-Rockville branches participated in the bank's #My25 employee giving campaign. Webster Bank was named best overall bank in the Northeast in Bank Director's annual Ranking Banking study.

Webster Bank was named to Hartford Courant and Hearst Media 2018 Top Workplace Lists.

Windsor Federal Savings & Loan raised $1,200 for The Linda Clemens Breast Cancer Foundation. u



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Connecticut Banking 1Q 2019  

In this issue, read a Q&A with Connecticut Bankers Association President Steve Lewis, meet the 13 bankers honored as New Leaders, discover w...

Connecticut Banking 1Q 2019  

In this issue, read a Q&A with Connecticut Bankers Association President Steve Lewis, meet the 13 bankers honored as New Leaders, discover w...