Chelsea Groton reports 'terrific year'

Groton — Chelsea Groton Bank on Monday reported strong net income of $6.1 million last year, but missed its profit mark of more than $7 million largely because of a one-time tax event related to adjustments for new, lower rates going into effect this year.

The bank was assessed an extra $1 million tax because of a technical adjustment imposed at the end of last year, said bank President and CEO Michael Rauh in an interview at his office. He added that the bank, which reported a $5.5 million profit two years ago, is under stricter regulation after crossing the $1 billion in assets mark last year.

"From an income standpoint, it was a terrific year," he said. Unfortunately, the new law "makes assets look better but liabilities look worse."

Had the tax adjustments not happened, the bank's profits would have improved this year, he said, saying the gains have been "a lot of small things adding up." These include being able to fund more loans through low-cost deposits, increasing loan numbers and wealth management division growth.

"It's representative of a good, sound basis of business where you're not riding one horse," he said.

Among the year's highlights were Chelsea Groton Foundation's $800,000 in charitable donations, more than doubling its gifting from the previous year; funding loans for 152 first-time homebuyers, and $45 million in loans for home purchases, the highest total among any financial institution in New London County.

Another highlight was the bank's opening of a remodeled Center Groton location that Rauh is using as a test tube for creating a new banking experience.

Rauh says Chelsea Groton is continually asking "How do we keep evolving ourselves?"

And Rauh said he believes the business environment in southeastern Connecticut is recovering after several down years following the national financial panic of 2007-08.

"Finally in southeastern Connecticut it seems like we've kind of caught up with the rest of the world," he said.

Rauh released the bank's financial results at its 163rd annual meeting at the Mystic Marriott. The meeting included the appointment of two new corporators: Christopher Jewell, chief financial officer and principal of Collins & Jewell Co. in Bozrah; and Pamela Allen Kinder, vice president of business development at United Community and Family Services in Uncasville.

l.howard@theday.com

 

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