Chelsea Gro­ton re­ports ‘ter­rific year’

The Day - - DAILY BRIEFING - By LEE HOWARD Day Staff Writer l.howard@theday.com

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.

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