A banner year for Essex Savings

Profits at Essex Savings Bank rose only slightly during the past fiscal year compared with 2011, but the financial services division reported a banner year, with revenues growing 11 percent.

Gregory R. Shook, president and chief executive at Essex Savings, said in a statement issued after the bank's semi-annual trustees meeting earlier this week that 2012 "was one of our best and most profitable years."

Profits of $2 million were essentially flat from the numbers reported last year, but the bank said in a release that it plans to distribute $258,000 to local nonprofits - 10 percent of after-tax net income.

"By year end, we will have contributed back to the community in excess of $3.7 million over the past 17 years," Shook said.

The bank said during its fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, assets grew by $16 million to $314 million. Core deposits also rose, by nearly 9 percent, the bank reported.

Capital increased during the year by $2 million, with the current $38.6 million on hand far exceeding regulatory minimums.

"Our branches continue to attract new relationships, and our new branches in Madison and Chester are operating ahead of our projections," Shook said.

The bank also said its trust department, led by Granville Morris and Moira Martin, increased assets under management last year by $47 million to $267 million.

The financial services division, led by John W. Rafal, reported total revenues of $17 million during the fiscal year, with assets under management cracking the $4 billion mark.

"I am proud to report that the firm is now operating as one of the top 25 independent broker-dealers in the country," said Rafal, president of Essex Financial Services.

Essex Savings, a mutually owned bank that was founded in 1851, serves Connecticut River Valley towns including Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.

l.howard@theday.com

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