Category Archives: News

bankHometown recognized by SBA as a Top Lender in CT Market

HARTFORD, CT – The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced its 2017 Eagle Award recipients at its Annual Lenders & Partners Meeting yesterday at Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, CT.

The SBA lending results in Connecticut for the federal government’s fiscal year ending September 30, 2017 reported positive trends.

SBA in Connecticut supported over $284 million dollars in loans through its three premier loan programs: the 7a Loan Guaranty Program, the Certified Development Company/504 Loan Program and the Micro-Loan Program. Connecticut surpassed last year’s loan volume total by 3 percent for a grand total of 819 loans. As a result of these loans, over 6,200 jobs were either created or retained in Connecticut.

bankHometown was recognized as the Top Lender in the 504 Loan Program category, based on loan amount in the state of Connecticut.

The SBA 504 Loan program is a powerful economic development loan program that offers small businesses another avenue for business financing, while promoting business growth, and job creation.  As of February 15, 2012, the $50 Billion in 504 loans has created over 2 million jobs.  This program is a proven success and win-win-win for the small business, the community and participating lenders.

The 504 Loan Program provides approved small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization.  504 loans are made available through Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA’s community based partners for providing 504 Loans.

 

bankHometown Continues Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program

OXFORD, MA:  Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, the 2017 Neighbors helping Neighbors Campaign has resulted in total donations of $25,000.

This is the 14th year that bankHometown has challenged local residents and businesses to help support local food pantries. It’s a way for the bank and its customers to make a real difference in the lives of local residents.

Customers of the bank and community members are invited to be a “Hometown Hero” for a $1 donation or a “Hometown Superhero” for a $5 donation. In addition to the in-branch fund drive, bankHometown also sends a letter to business customers inviting their contributions. bankHometown then matches all of the donations dollar for dollar and splits the funds among food pantries that serve the areas surrounding each of its thirteen offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

This year’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors donations benefit the Oxford Ecumenical Food Shelf at the Oxford Community Center; Food Share, a Southbridge-based program that serves residents of Sturbridge, Charlton and Southbridge; the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at Sacred Heart Church in Webster; the Athol Salvation Army Food Pantry; CARE Food Pantry in Clinton, the Auburn Youth and Family Services, Inc. Food Pantry and Ginny’s Helping Hand in Leominster. The Connecticut pantries being served this year are Daily Bread in Putnam; Friends of Assisi in Killingly and Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG) in Thompson.

At the check presentation each organization shared a bit about their particular program and how they are striving to feed the hungry in their communities. John Kneeland of the Ecumenical Food Shelf in Oxford stated that they “are able to leverage each $1.00 raised to buy the equivalent of about $4.00 worth of food”.

Each representative also shared how the generous donations raised collectively from our customers, employees, and the bank, would positively impact their programs and why it means so much that the local communities stepped forward to help.  Karen Osbrey of The Daily Bread located in Putnam, CT shared that “IHSP continues to respond to the ever-changing economic challenges in northeast Connecticut, but we can’t accomplish this alone.  That is why we are so grateful for our many community partners, like bankHometown.” Collectively, the recipients provide meals to thousands of individuals and families each month.

Lt. Michael Buzzard of the Athol Salvation Army shared “in addition to the donation received today, I am also so appreciative of the support that bankHometown employees provide throughout the year whether it is spending time on committee work, fundraisers or other support of our programs”.

Michael D. Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown added that branch employee involvement in the community “is yet another example of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

To date, more than $142,500.00 has been distributed through this program.

Area businesses contributing to the 2017 Neighbors Helping Neighbors campaign include:

All Phase Dental Lab Service Inc.

American Lanes

Arland Tool & Mfg Inc

Attorney Brian S. Mead

Attorney Stephen J. Adams

BC Custom Homes LLC

Central Mass Builders, Inc.

Dan Amorello Services Inc.

DJD Realty, LLC

Double G Enterprises LLC

DRL Corporation

East Woodstock Co-Op

EPV Plastics Corporation

Ewings Construction Services Inc

Floor Source Inc.

French Knot LLC

Giguere Lumber Sales Inc.

Griffin And Company, PC

J F Rosseel Contracting Co.

J S K Financial Service Inc.

J.O.C. Inc.

Jezierski Plumbing & Heating Inc.

JK Emerald Realty, LLC

JK Lake Realty, LLC

Kangaroo Quick Prints

KLMB Properties LLC

Knapik Builders Inc.

Laskey Group LLC

Linemaster Switch Corp

Marc & Ernest Pallotta Foundation

Mass Ten Enterprises, LLC

Nordic Industrial Properties, LLC

Northeast Merchant Systems Inc.

O’Connell & O’Connell, P.C.

Osbrey Broadcasting Company – WINY Radio

Oxford Insurance Agency, Inc.

Paradis-Givner Funeral Home, Inc.

Precision Auto Rebuilders Inc.

Premier Listings Inc.

Ramshorn Excavating Inc

S & N Excavators Inc

Sam S Pappas CPA

Sixty-Five West LLC

Soper Construction Company Inc.

Standard Source Inc.

Stephen A Solomon DMD

T & S Inc.

Taylor Brooke Winery LLC

The Shopper-Turnpike Corp

Tyler Latour, d/b/a Island Storage

Vandi Auto Supply, Inc.

West Dudley Hydro LLC

bankHometown DONATES TO WOODSTOCK PLAYGROUND

OXFORD, MA:  Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, announced that bankHometown has made a donation of $1,000 for the Woodstock playground.

Viktor Toth, Superintendent, along with Wendy Durand, WMS Principal and Crystal Adams, Woodstock Playground Committee Chair, recently received a check for $1,000 from bankHometown’s Woodstock Branch Manager George Dimopoulos.

With this donation, the Woodstock Playground Committee is now over half of the way to their $100,000 goal. The playground will be located behind the Woodstock Middle School and is well designed for older children. It will also be available for area families and children to enjoy when classes are not in session. In addition, families at the adjacent sports fields will be able to use the playground during practices and games.

“We are very grateful for the support and trust bankHometown has shown us,” said Adams. “They have also generously allowed us to use their coin-counting machine during our recent Pennies for Playground’s fundraiser. We look forward to inviting them next year to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the playground.”

 

bankHometown Launches 14th Annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors Campaign

bankHometown kicks off its 14th Annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors Campaign on November 1st with a challenge to local residents to help support local food pantries and a way for the bank and its customers to make a real difference in the lives of local residents.

Customers of the bank and community members are invited to be a “Hometown Hero” for a $1 donation or a “Hometown Superhero” for a $5 donation. bankHometown then matches donations dollar for dollar and splits the funds among food pantries that serve the areas surrounding each of its thirteen offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In addition to the in-branch fund drive, Hometown Bank also sends a letter to business customers inviting their help and contributions, which the bank also matches dollar for dollar.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors donations benefit the Oxford Ecumenical Food Shelf inside the Oxford Community Center; Food Share, a Southbridge-based program that serves residents of Sturbridge, Charlton and Southbridge; the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at Sacred Heart Church in Webster; the Athol Salvation Army Food Pantry; CARE Food Pantry in Clinton, the Auburn Youth and Family Services, Inc. Food Pantry and Ginny’s Helping Hand in Leominster. The Connecticut pantries being served are Daily Bread in Putnam; Friends of Assisi in Killingly and Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG) in Thompson.

Last year’s campaign concluded with a total donation of $17,500.00, with individual checks in the amount of $2,500.00 were presented to each of the seven participating food pantries. To date, more than $117,500.00 has been distributed through this program.

bankHometown is a $700 million mutual bank with offices in Massachusetts (Athol, Auburn, Leominster, Oxford, South Lancaster, Sturbridge and Webster) and Connecticut (Putnam, Brooklyn, Killingly, Thompson, and Woodstock).

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: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. 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 https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.

  • 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 annualcreditreport.com. 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 https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do. To learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.

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.