Category Archives: News

Concerned about the Equifax breach? Here’s what you need to know.

Although bankHometown is not responsible for this information breach, we feel strongly that all consumers should be educated about the details of the Equifax Credit Bureau breach.  The list of Frequently Asked Questions below were provided by Equifax.  Reading through them will help you to understand the details and options so that you can make an informed choice regarding any action that may be right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?
Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.

Was my information stolen?
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.


How can I protect myself?

  • Enroll in Equifax’s services.

Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at

  • Monitor your credit reports.

In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.

  • Monitor your bank accounts.

We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.

  • Watch out for scams related to the breach.

Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.

Should I place a credit freeze on my files?
Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus.  A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.

How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?

Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.

Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.

TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.

Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?
You can learn more directly from Equifax at You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach at To learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach, visit

bankHometown presents multiple contributions to Harrington Healthcare System

OXFORD, MA:  Michael D. Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced the bank has presented 3 checks to the Harrington HealthCare system to fund current renovations and vital community outreach programs.

First, a $1,000.00 contribution was made for Harrington Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) renovations.  The hospital is located in Southbridge, MA.  The last major renovation occurred in 1998 to bring the ED to its current state of 14 stretcher rooms plus a triage room and overflow room.  Since this renovation, the annual volume of visits has grown 23% with steady increases over the most recent years.

Second, a $1,056.00 contribution was presented for Harrington’s Power of One campaign.  This money was raised solely by bankHometown employees on a designated “Jean’s Day” where employees can dress down and contribute to a special cause.  Harrington Hospital launched this fundraising campaign to benefit people struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.  The Power of One campaign enlists the aid of local businesses from across southern Worcester County to create innovative ways to raise money for recovery services.

Lastly, a $5,000.00 contribution was presented for Harrington’s Coexisting Diagnostic Unit (CDU) at their Webster location, now known as Harrington HealthCare at Webster. The facility is the first inpatient unit in central and western Massachusetts to offer an inpatient psychiatric unit with a specialty track for patients suffering from both mental and substance abuse.

Karen Spiewak, Director of Development at Harrington HealthCare, said “We are extremely grateful for bankHometown’s support. Their employees and leadership have demonstrated time and time again that they genuinely care about the community. In this case, they chose to support all three of our recent initiatives, invested time learning even more about how Harrington’s programs impact our shared communities. Generous, genuine and caring, it doesn’t get much better than that! Kudos to them for helping keep access to quality compassionate care local.”

Michael Hewitt, President & CEO of bankHometown added “The Hospital team and this new facility provide an invaluable service to our community.  As a committed local bank, we are very pleased to be able to assist in a small way to these wonderful initiatives.”

bankHometown Promotes Four to Assistant Vice President


OXFORD, MA:  Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced “We are pleased to announce the promotions of our Hometown team members listed below.  We are proud of their performance and accomplishments.”


He added, “Hometown is a community bank with a focus on providing the best customer service and truly caring about the communities we serve.  All of the individuals below have earned recognition of execution of that charge and we look forward to many more years of their exemplary service.”


Christina DiRusso has been promoted to Assistant Vice President Commercial Lending. DiRusso has been a Hometown employee since January 2014 and is currently based in our Leominster branch. She covers the North Central MA market as a commercial lender. DiRusso is active in the BNI Group in Leominster and is a committee member of the North Quabbin Loan Fund and North County Community Development Corp. She resides in Leominster.


Donna Daigle was promoted to Assistant Vice President Branch Manager of Hometown Bank’s Leominster Office. Daigle started with Hometown Bank in August, 2014 as a Branch Manager of the Leominster location. She has more than 20 years of experience in banking. Daigle lives in Lunenburg.


Marc Ostberg was promoted to Assistant Vice President Branch Manager of Hometown Bank’s Athol Office. Ostberg came to bankHometown in August of 2013. He is on the Board at the Chamber of Commerce in the North and is a Board Member of the Economic Development & Industrial Committee in Orange, MA. Ostberg resides in Orange, MA with his wife and children.


Susan Rheault was promoted to Assistant Vice President Operations. Rheault started with bankHometown in July 2008 as a teller in the Oxford branch. She transferred to bookkeeping in 2009 and operations in 2013. She was promoted to operations supervisor in 2015. Rheault oversees the deposit operations for all 13 branches. She lives in Putnam, CT.

bankHometown Recognized with 2017 United Way Tri-County Good Neighbor Award

The United Way of Tri-County honored bankHometown with the Good Neighbor Award on Thursday, April 6th in Framingham. The Good Neighbor Award was created to thank and honor local businesses, their leadership and employees who together make an extraordinary commitment to improving the quality of life within their communities, as well as inspiring others to take action.

“We are truly grateful that bankHometown has taken a leadership role and made a commitment to raise funds and awareness for the many United Way of Tri-County programs and services in our local neighborhoods,” said Paul Mina, President and CEO of United Way Tri-County. “From feeding hungry families, to preparing children to enter kindergarten ready for success, to ensuring no one is alone in times of crisis, your support has helped to improve lives of others.”

Jo-Ann Bussiere, Manager of the South Lancaster branch, was at the ceremony to accept the award on the bank’s behalf. “It was so inspiring, to see volunteers of all ages making a difference in our communities through their volunteer work.  It shows that at any age, one can have passion and drive to better our local neighborhoods,” said Bussiere.

Guests receiving awards from United Way of Tri-County were invited to the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Framingham for an award ceremony, followed by a catered breakfast.

bankHometown contributes $250,000 to Webster Public Library

OXFORD, MA: Michael D. Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced the bank has donated $250,000 to The Friends of Chester C. Corbin Library towards the Capital Campaign to build the new Webster Public Library. Hewitt stated, “We are excited about this opportunity to support the Webster community in which we have been an integral part since our founding in 1889. As a community bank we strive to support the communities we serve and this is a great investment in the future of Webster and the surrounding communities.”

Thomas Klebart, President of Friends of Chester C. Corbin Library said, “I am delighted to be able to thank bankHometown for the significant donation made to the Friends of the Library. Your gift will allow us to help the town pay for the construction of the new library and to create an endowment to provide funds for future library programs.”

Paul LaFramboise, Vice President of Friends of the Chester C. Corbin Library, added “I don’t think you can measure the impact a donation like this will have on our community. I find it so impressive that a bank has not lost sight of the importance of a community library. From its founding here in Webster, bankHometown really is a hometown bank and
a great part of our town.”

This contribution is particularly meaningful to the bank as bankHometown, a mutual bank chartered in 1889,opened its first office in Webster, MA under its original name, Webster Cooperative Bank. For more than a century it operated as a small one-branch bank and in 1997 changed the name to Hometown Bank. Soon, branches in Oxford and Sturbridge were added. In 2011, bankHometown acquired Athol-Clinton Cooperative Bank thereby expanding its presence into Athol and South Lancaster followed by second branch in Webster and new branches in Auburn and Leominster. And most recently bankHometown acquired CNB thereby expanding the branch network south, down the 395 corridor, with 5 branches in Connecticut.

Sam Pappas, Chairman of the Board for bankHometown said, “bankHometown has its roots in Webster and there is no better way to show our appreciation for the community support we have received over the years. Now it is our turn to provide support for the library which will educate people and support democracy by providing our community with the
tools and access to explore and make informed decisions. I truly believe that the library will strengthen neighborhoods and champion the cultural lives of our community which are big responsibilities, and bankHometown prides itself on being part of this important community process. I, and the entire Board of Directors, feel strongly that a library is essential in building a community with long term prosperity and sustainability.”

The new library will better meet the needs of the community and will contribute to the revitalization of downtown Webster. The improved space layout will be more functional for the numerous current programs as well as enable the library to add new services and programs such as school and library coordinated activities for children and job readiness classes for adults. The Friends of the Library will recognize this generous gift with the dedication and naming of the bankHometown Lobby in the new library.

bankHometown Promotes Three and Hires One

OXFORD, MA:  Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced “We are pleased to announce the promotions of our Hometown team members listed below.  We are proud of their performance and accomplishments.”

He added, “Hometown is a community bank with a focus on providing the best customer service and truly caring about the communities we serve.  All of the individuals below have earned recognition of execution of that charge and we look forward to many more years of their exemplary service.”

Norma Collins was promoted to Senior Vice President Operations. Collins joined Hometown Bank in 1987 as a teller. She was promoted to Assistant Vice President in 1992 and has held the position of BSA Officer since 1999. Collins was promoted to Vice President of Operations in 2008 and Senior Vice President in 2016. She recently celebrated 30 years with the bank. Collins resides in Webster.

Susan Collins has been promoted to Hometown Bank’s Cash Management Officer. Collins joined Hometown Bank in 2000 as a teller. She has worked as a Head Teller, a Customer Service Representative and an Assistant Manager. Collins attends Bay Path University. She is a board member of the Central MA Chamber of Commerce and has been Secretary/Treasurer for Business Networking International. Collins lives in Webster with her husband and children.

Matthew LaFlamme has been promoted to Branch Manager of Hometown Banks’ Killingly Office. LaFlamme has been with Hometown Bank since 2015 as an Assistant Branch manager. He was promoted to Branch Supervisor in June of 2016. LaFlamme is currently working towards his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. He is an active volunteer for many organizations. LaFlamme resides in Chaplin, CT.

Jo-Ann Bussiere was recently hired as a Branch Manager of Hometown Bank’s South Lancaster Office. Bussiere has many years of experience in the banking industry, as a Branch Manager. She attended Monroe Community College and is a Board Member of Youth Ministry for St. Isadore and St. Elizabeth. Bussiere resides in Stow, Ma.

Spring Community Shredding Days!

Shred-it® Document Destruction will provide on-site shredding of personal, confidential paper documents on the spot.
Bring up to the equivalent of one or two copy-paper/file-sized boxes of documents. There is no charge!

The following locations will be holding Community Shredding Days from 9 AM – Noon:

April 15th: Leominster Office, 9 Sack Blvd., Leominster, MA

May 6th: Auburn Office, 569 Southbridge Street, Auburn, MA

May 20th: Putnam Office, 182 Main Street, Putnam, CT

June 3rd: Webster Office, 4 Gore Road, Webster, MA

June 24th: Brooklyn Office, 13 Canterbury Road, Brooklyn, CT

Get the Power to Cut High Cable Bills

Watching television can be a great way to kick back and relax. But if you’re a cable TV customer and overpaying for services, that relaxation can quickly turn to stress once you receive a high monthly bill. You do, however, have the power to reduce or even eliminate your bill. Here are some ways to make that happen:

Review your bill. With electronic billing and payments, many people today don’t take the time to open and read their bills. It’s important to read the bill and become familiar with the charges. Look for hidden fees as well as fees for services for which you did not subscribe.

Know your payment history. Review your monthly payments and see if there have been increases in the amount you pay from month to month. Also, look to see how long you’ve been a customer and whether or not you have paid your bills on time. If you’re a good customer, you may have a bigger negotiating edge when you call your cable company.

Look at competitive offers. Chances are, you’ve been receiving direct mail or email from other cable providers eager to earn your business. Take some time to review those offers to see if you can save money.

Call your cable company. Once you’ve reviewed your cable bill and looked at what other providers are offering, call your cable company. Explain to them you are considering cancelling your service due to the high cost. Many companies actually have retention departments established for the purpose of keeping good customers from leaving. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Ditch premium channels. When you signed up with your cable company, you may have been offered free HBO and other premium channels for an introductory period. After this period expires, you will be charged for these services. You can reduce your monthly bill by cancelling these premium channels, which can be costly.

Purchase your own equipment. Your cable company may also be charging you a set monthly fee for rental of equipment, such as your router. You may be able to save money by purchasing the router outright.

Consider cancelling your service altogether. With subscription services, such as Netflix and Hulu, many people are getting rid of cable all together.

Take these steps today to put the power to save where it belongs — in your hands.

bankHOMETOWN contributes $11,514 to local United Way Chapters

OXFORD, MA:  Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced the bank has raised $11,514 during their Annual Giving Campaign benefiting four local chapters of the United Way.  The United Way is a vital link between local non-profit organizations and the communities they serve ensuring better lives for those less fortunate.  These funds have been raised by bankHometown employees evidencing their commitment to supporting local organizations.

bankHometown employees, throughout their 13 branches and Operations Center, have been participating in this bank wide Annual Giving Campaign for more than 30 years.  In addition to their monetary support, employees volunteer at a variety of events with the United Way and their partner organizations, including a bank-wide “Day of Caring” held each September.

The chapters that benefited from this year’s campaign are:
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
United Way of Webster and Dudley, Massachusetts
United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton, Massachusetts
United Way of North Central Massachusetts

Tina Puzo, Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager at bankHometown’s Auburn Office, coordinated this year’s successful campaign for the bank.  She said, “I am so thankful for all bankHometown employees that have either made donations or have volunteered their time for United Way this year. The resources and dedication that the United Way provides to our communities are invaluable and we thank them for all they do on a daily basis. I truly feel that together we are helping those in need and making a positive difference in our communities.”

bankHometown contributes $10,000 to NewVue Communities℠

FITCHBURG, MA: Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced the bank has contributed $10,000 to NewVue Communities℠.  NewVue Communities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating strong and healthy neighborhoods where residents choose to live, work, and invest.

By taking a leadership role in the community and being innovative, NewVue is doing important work in the area of homeownership, housing development and small business counseling.  Their goal is to create long-term solutions by strengthening the sustainability of the entire region.

Christina DiRusso, Commercial Lender at bankHometown said, “Having NewVue in our community enables us to help more businesses start or expand depending on their needs.  I have sent numerous customers to NewVue for business planning and counseling and I am looking forward to continuing our partnership.”

bankHometown’s contribution will go directly to NewVue Communities’ small business technical assistance, affordable housing projects, community engagement and homeownership services focused on financial literacy, education and foreclosure prevention.

Over the past 7 years, NewVue Communities have built 22 homes and continues to facilitate numerous first-time homebuyer seminars. They also provide assistance to current home owners and have recently launched a regional deleading program to help people live in healthy homes.

Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue Communities, said “Thank you bankHometown for being a strong, strategic partner with NewVue Communities as we help small businesses and first time homebuyers throughout North Central Massachusetts.”