SOUTHINGTON - Webster Bank on Monday celebrated the opening of a new regional center at 200 Executive Blvd. that will employ 500 people, making the bank the largest employer in town.
Webster Bank executives, including President John Ciulla and CEO Jim Smith, joined town leaders, including Town Manager Garry Brumback, Town Council Chairman Mike Riccio, Economic Development Director Lou Perillo and Elizabeth Hyatt, executive director of the Southington Chamber of Commerce, for a ribbon cutting at the new facility. Spirits were high and bank officials and town leaders expressed a mutual interest in maintaining a strong relationship.
“For many years we have been working to consolidate our corporate facilities and bring our bankers together to make our operations more efficient,” Smith said. “This 85,000-square-foot facility, which employs 500 Webster bankers, is, in our mind, among our most important consolidated facilities in Connecticut. It is a significant upgrade from our former facility in Cheshire, which we were at for 16 years. We plan to expand it by another 25,000 or so eventually. We will grow; we always grow. We feel that this is a great place to be and we feel responsible to make contributions to the community to help improve the quality of life. ”
Smith noted that this center, along with a 132,000-square-foot center in New Britain that has 600 employees, will support bankers throughout Webster’s service area.
He said the bank has come a long way since it was founded in 1935 by his father in Waterbury and is now a “strong and vital” regional commercial bank with “enduring values.”
“We believe in Connecticut and we are investing in Connecticut,” he said. “We did not come here because of tax credits or handouts; we came here because this is the right thing to do. We are bullish about Connecticut and we believe that positive fiscal changes are coming soon that will generate long-term economic growth.”
Riccio welcomed Webster Bank to Southington.
“You are now at the top of our list of employers,” he said. “With new restaurants opening in town we are attracting many new visitors and potential clients. If you ever need anything from us we will take care of it for you.”
Perillo, who said that he has been a client of Webster Bank for 28 years, touche on Southington’s recent economic growth.
“Since the 2008 recession we have developed three industrial parks and sold them all out,” he said. “Our community has so much to offer. We share Lake Compounce with Bristol, which attracts thousands of visitors that pass by this location all the time and our town has also put itself on the map with its green energy efforts.”
Brumback called Webster Bank’s investment in the community “amazing.”
“They will be a great addition,” he said. “They take great pride in being community citizens and giving back to the community. Them being a part of our town can only enhance our culture.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.