'Phenomenal' year for Chelsea Groton

Groton — Chelsea Groton Bank's profits grew 29 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, according to an annual report released Thursday.

"Last year was really phenomenal," bank President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Rauh said during an interview at his office off Poquonnock Road.

Net income last year stood at $4.1 million, a $1 million increase from the year before.

What's more, according to Rauh, new loans increased 47 percent during the year. A big rise in mortgage activity — particularly among home buyers versus refinancers — helped spur the lending jump, Rauh said.

At the same time, the bank saw a "huge decrease" in bad loans, he said, resulting in a more than $400,000 reduction in money set aside for possible losses.

While certificates of deposit were down slightly during the year, savings and checking deposits more than made up for it. Total deposits increased nearly $40 million over the year.

Noninterest income also was up significantly — from $1.2 million to $1.6 million — as many of the mortgages were sold to other servicers. Overall, according to Rauh, Chelsea Groton was the No. 2 mortgage originator in New London County, but it was No. 1 when it came to home-purchase loans.

Other areas of growth included financial services, which saw a 12 percent increase in money managed. Rauh said most of the boost represented new business.

"There's a definite trend toward people looking for a local relationship at a local bank," Rauh said.

Raud said Chelsea Groton initiatives include increased digital processing capabilities, the installation of a new phone system, expanded locations for its ATM machines, new mobile-banking apps, remote-deposit capabilities and new products that focus on businesses that need loans of less than $100,000.

Chelsea Groton officials met at the Mystic Marriott Thursday to release the annual report. At the meeting, three new corporators were appointed: Lynn Malerba, chief of the Mohegan Tribe; Daniel R. Dennis Jr., former president of Norwich Savings Society, and Robert W. Tabor, retired senior vice president at Chelsea Groton.

Chelsea Groton has about 215 employees spread throughout its network of 14 offices.

l.howard@theday.com

Chelsea Groton Bank: 2012 annual report

Total assets 2012 $883.5 million; 2011 $835.8 million

Profits 2012 $4.1 million; 2011 $3.1 million

Noninterest income 2012 $8.8 million; 2011 $7.5 million

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