Category Archives: News

Eliminate the clutter – eBills Are Coming on April 1st!

Effective April 1, 2015, Hometown Bank loan customers (mortgage, home equity, consumer, commercial, etc.) may receive their monthly loan payment notices, or eBills, electronically in place of paper statements sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

Hometown Bank customers who are already signed up to receive eSatements online, will be automatically enrolled to receive  monthly loan payment notices, or eBills online the next time they log in to view their eStatement on or after April 1, so long as their loan accounts appear in their online account.

Loan customers who have not yet created an online banking account, but would like to receive their monthly loan payment notice online, may sign up now, but first they will need to create an online banking account.

Customers who sign up between April 1 and June 30 to receive their monthly account statements and loan payment notices electronically will be automatically entered to win an iPad Mini3.

Check your April loan payment notice for full details, or drop by your local Hometown Bank office. Questions? Call our Customer Service Department at (508) 499-1846.

Community Shredder Days are Back!

Hometown Bank has scheduled another round of its popular Community Shredder Days, beginning on April 18 according to Vice President of Communication, Joe Klimavich.

On Community Shredder Days, a Shred-it truck with a built-in industrial paper shredder is parked in the bank’s parking lot for an entire morning. Local residents are encouraged to bring up to 3 boxes of confidential documents to be shred on-site as they look on.

The first Community Shredder Day is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 18 at the newest Hometown Bank office at 9 Sack Boulevard, in Leominster. A second Community Shredder Day will be held on Saturday, April 25 at the bank’s offices at 4 Gore Road, in Webster. On May 2, a Shred-it truck will be at the Auburn office located in the Heritage Plaza at 569 Southbridge Street on 9 a.m. to noon in conjunction with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce’s annual town-wide cleanup day.

“Identity theft is a growing concern,” said Klimavich, “so we want to do what we can to assist local residents in properly shredding and disposing of the kinds of confidential documents that can accumulate around the house in a safe and permanent way.”

Hometown Bank Community Shredder Days are open to all residents of local communities as a public service. You do not need to be a Hometown Bank customer to participate.

Hometown Bank is a $400 million mutual bank with offices in Athol, Auburn, Leominster, Oxford, South Lancaster, Sturbridge and Webster.

Hometown Bank Promotes Three

OXFORD, MA – Hometown Bank has announced the following promotions:

Jennifer Laffond has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Collection according to President and CEO, Michael D. Hewitt. Laffond began her banking career with the former Athol-Clinton Co-operative Bank (ACCB) in 2000 and has served in a variety of positions, including ATM/debit coordinator, customer service representative and bookkeeper. When ACCB merged with Hometown Bank in 2011, she was appointed collection administrator and, in 2012, she was promoted to collection manager.

“Hometown Bank is very fortunate to have Jennifer on staff,” says Hewitt. “Her professional demeanor and the empathy that she demonstrates in the day to day management of the collections and loan modification process results in better relationships between the bank and our customers.”

Ms. Laffond and her family reside in Athol, where she volunteers as secretary for the Mahar Regional Middle and High Schools parents group. Her other activities include running, cycling, soccer and deck hockey.

Susan Collins has been promoted to Branch Manager of Hometown Bank’s Sturbridge office. Collins joined the bank as a teller in the Webster office in 2000 and has served in a variety of positions, including head teller and customer service representative. She has served as assistant manager of the Oxford office since 2012.

Ms. Collins has twice been recognized by Hometown Bank for her efforts in providing superior customer service. She and her family reside in Webster, where she is a member of the Webster Dudley Oxford Chamber of Commerce.

Sabrina Grillo has been promoted to Assistant Branch Manager of Hometown Bank’s Oxford office. Grillo joined Hometown Bank as a teller in the Sturbridge office in 2009, and in 2011, she was also appointed levy coordinator. She was recently selected to be the 2015 participant in Hometown 360, the bank’s employee development program, and she has twice been recognized for providing superior service to Hometown Bank customers. A frequent participant in the United Way of Sturbridge, Southbridge and Charlton’s annual Day of Caring program, Ms. Grillo resides in Southbridge.

Oxford Branch to Host Reception for New OHS Student Gallery

Hometown Bank will host an Artists’ Reception on Thursday, March 5, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring watercolors, pencil and colored pencil illustrations and ceramic pottery created by students in the Oxford High School Visual Arts department. Light refreshments will be served.

The original student works are part of a small gallery installed in Hometown’s office at 31 Sutton Avenue, Oxford by Jaimee Taborda, chair of the unified arts department at OHS, and teacher of art and ceramics. The gallery, which is open to the public during regular bank hours, will be on display through April 15th.

Hometown Bank Announces Promotions and Appointments

OXFORD, MA – Hometown Bank has announced the following promotions and appointments, according to Vice President of Human Resources Norma Collins:

Vice President of Retail Kathryn Latour, who has managed the Bank’s Sturbridge branch office since 2006, has been appointed branch manager of Hometown Bank’s Oxford office. In her new position, she will be responsible for the administration and efficient daily operation of the Bank’s full service flagship branch office at 31 Sutton Avenue, including lending, product sales and customer service, and developing new deposit and loan business. She will continue in her role as vice president of retail, promoting the Bank’s sales and service culture through coaching, guidance and staff motivation at all eight locations. A resident of Brookfield, Ms. Latour has served as treasurer of the Sturbridge Unit of the Salvation Army for 15 years.

Santo Mojica has been appointed information technology manager. In this newly created position, he will be responsible for the overall planning, organizing, and execution of all IT functions at Hometown Bank. This includes directing all IT operations to meet staff requirements as well as the support and maintenance of existing applications and development of new technical solutions. He is presently pursuing an Associate’s degree with a concentration in information technology at the University of Phoenix Online. A resident of Sturbridge, Mojica and his wife have two sons, aged 10 and 17. He is actively involved as a basketball, baseball and football coach in the community-wide athletics program.

Cassandra Day has been appointed senior accountant. In her new position, she is responsible for many of the day to day accounting operations of the company, to include preparing and reviewing financial documents and analyses for senior management and Board of Directors, maintaining the Bank’s general ledger and budget expenses, investment accounting and fixed assets, assisting with month end close, ensuring that regulatory filings are completed in a timely manner and working with both internal and external auditors and regulatory examiners. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Suffolk University. A resident of Oxford, she and her husband have three sons, aged 3, 5 and 7. Ms. Day serves as a classroom volunteer in the Oxford public school system and as a member of the school council’s parent subcommittee.

Kaysie Larochelle has been promoted to customer service representative II at the Bank’s Oxford office, where she previously served as a teller. In her new position, she will help customers open new accounts, provide information on deposit accounts and respond to customer inquiries and problem resolution. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish for the Professions, Communications from Worcester State University where she was a member of the Alpha Mu Gamma National Honor Society and is a graduate of the Walt Disney World College Program in merchandising and guest services. A resident of Webster, Ms. Larochelle has been a team member for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life for 12 years and was team captain for 3 of those years. She also participates in the annual Boston “Making Strides” Walk for Breast Cancer.

Hometown Bank concludes 11th annual “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” campaign with record donation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2014


OXFORD, MA –
Hometown Bank concluded its 11th annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors campaign to help support local food pantries on December 10th with a holiday breakfast at which a check in the amount of $2,500 was presented to each of seven participating agencies. This represents record collections of $7,500 from Bank customers and employees and a dollar for dollar match by Hometown Bank for a campaign total of $17,500.00.

Vice President of Communication Joe Klimavich welcomed the many volunteers representing the agencies and thanked them for their dedicated service to the communities served by Hometown Bank.

He explained how the program has grown with each new location and announced the addition of Ginny’s Helping Hand, a 30-year old agency selected by Hometown’s new Leominster office to participate in the program. In the 11 years Hometown Bank has been running the Neighbors Helping Neighbors campaign, a total of $80,700.00 has been distributed to participating food pantries.

Each year, the Bank’s customers are invited to be a Hometown Hero for a $1 donation or a Hometown Superhero for a $5 donation. The Bank also sends a letter to business customers inviting their help and contributions. Then, Hometown Bank matches all donations, dollar for dollar and splits the funds among food pantries that serve the areas surrounding each of its eight offices. In addition to Ginny’s, participating food pantries include Auburn Youth & Family Services, Athol Salvation Army Emergency Food Pantry, Wheat Community Services of Clinton, Oxford Ecumenical Food Shelf, Southbridge Food Share and the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry of Webster.

“This is an event we look forward to every year,” said Klimavich, “because we have gotten to know these agencies and the good work they are doing so well. The need is great but their commitment is up to the challenge. Everyone here at Hometown Bank considers this collaboration with our customers to be an important expression of who we are as a community bank.”

Area businesses contributing to the 2014 Neighbors Helping Neighbors campaign include:

Accord Elder Care Properties LLC
All Phase Dental Lab Service Inc.
All Star Incentive Marketing
Amark Communications, Inc.
Auburn Chamber of Commerce
Breezy Corner LLC
Car & Truck Wholesalers
Chapter Eleven Realty Corporation
Cohasse Country Club
Commercial Security Corp.
Country Meadows, LLC
Cowden Pest Control
Dan Amorello Services Inc.
DRL Corporaton
E & M Slater Street LLC
EPV Plastics Corporation
Floor Source Inc.
G R F Inc. General Rubber Fabrics
Galaxy Worcester LLC
Giguere Lumber Sales Inc.
Griffin And Company, PC
Guerin Plumbing LLC
Harrisville Golf Course
Holland Mail and Graphics LLC
Hub Block Inc
J.O.C. Inc.
Jezierski Plumbing & Heating Inc.
Kitchen Options, Inc.
KLMB Properties LLC
Knapik Builders Inc.
Liv Inc
Mac Joly Corp
Mike’s Laundry Corp.
Morin Jewelers
Nordic Shield Plastics Corporation
Northeast Merchant Systems Inc.
O’Connell & O’Connell , P.C.
Paradis-Givner Funeral Home Inc
Paul T. Bremer
Pete’s Tire & Oil
Precision Auto Rebuilders, Inc
Pro Automotive LLC
R.C. Rheault Construction
Rollie’s Variety LLC
S&S Contractors Supply Inc
Speedee Of Auburn Inc
Standard Source Inc.
Sun Stop Tanning LLC
T & S Inc.
Teddy G’s Pub & Grille Inc
Vandi Auto Supply, Inc.

Hometown Bank is a $400 million mutual bank with offices in Athol, Auburn, Leominster, Oxford, South Lancaster, Sturbridge and two offices in Webster.

Photo Cutline: (Left to right) Paul Mina (United Way of Tri-Country), Oxford Branch Manager Karla Christiansen, Jerry LaFleche (Southbridge Food Share), South Lancaster Branch Manager Denise Fernald, Leominster Branch Manager Donna Daigle, Donna Jarvis (WHEAT), Athol Branch Manager Marc Ostberg, Richard Nolin (St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry), Lt. Elliott Higgins and Lt. Darlene Higgins (Athol Salvation Army Food Pantry), Sturbridge Branch Manager Kathryn Latour, Catalino Alicea (Southbridge Food Shelf), Sally D’Arcangelo (Auburn Youth & Family Services), Ed Wentland (St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry of Webster), Webster Branch Manager Sharon Dimopoulos, Lynn Ellis (Auburn Youth & Family Services), Susan Rheault, Senior VP Lending Michael Mahlert and Commercial Lender Paul Raffa.

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Skip & Judy Nielsen’s Volunteerism Knows No Boundaries

OXFORD, MA – Carl (aka “Skip”) and Judy Nielsen, Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Heroes for December have perfected the art of community building. Whether it involves creating a community garden so neighbors can enjoy fresh, organic vegetables, or trekking off to Africa to install a new community well pump, the Nielsens’ style of volunteerism knows no boundaries.

The Nielsens have called the eastern shore of Sturbridge’s Quacumquasit Lake home for the better part of 30 years. Both have a long legacy of serving in leadership positions for QQLA, the local lake association, and been strong advocates for preserving the region’s lakes – Quaboag and Quacumquasit – for the enjoyment of fishermen, boaters and all who enjoy these natural resources.

As a former nursing manager at U Mass Medical Center, Judy is quick to respond to respond to neighbors’ medical needs: dressings, transport, medical information and usually a hearty bowl of soup for nourishment.

10 years ago, Judy joined the Board of Directors of Growth Through Learning (GTL), a local charitable organization that provides a high school education to deserving girls living in East Africa. Nominator Louis Fazen says, “With charismatic charm, Judy has awakened our consciousness and helped raise funding to provide education for almost 800 young women in three African countries. On one remarkable trip to Uganda, Judy carried a much needed laptop computer while Skip packaged up solar panels and then installed them on site. The school’s headmistress could not believe her eyes!”

Skip is a self-professed tinkerer, with a reputation for being able to build or fix just about anything. Neighbors know they can count on him for advice and assistance. He spent a recent morning climbing the clock tower in nearby Brookfield to set back the hands on the large antique clock that graces the town hall. A few years ago, noticing that the clock was no longer working, he fabricated new gear teeth and got it working again. And then there was that trip to Africa to install a well pump that literally changed the lives of local villagers.

A donation has been made to Growth Through Learning (GTL) in honor of the Nielsens.

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Photo Cut Line: Sturbridge Branch Manager Kathryn Latour (right) congratulates December’s Everyday Hometown Heroes, Skip and Judy Nielsen, of Sturbridge. Behind them is a photo display of daily life in one of the schools supported by Growth Through Learning, on display at the Sturbridge Coffee House through December 29th

Hometown Bank’s Hometown Hero for November Raises Hope and Spirits

Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Hero for November is a familiar figure in her hometown of Auburn. Sheila Barter serves on the board of directors as secretary of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and sits on a number of key committees – nominating, program, school/business partnership, health and business expo, Best of Auburn contest, Auburn Cleanup Committee and the golf tournament that benefits scholarships for students at Auburn High and Baypath Regional.

But it is her work with the Auburn VNA/ Hospice, a division of the Southern Worcester County VNA, a position she has held since 1985, that puts her in a position to do what she loves most, look out for the frail, the infirm and, in some cases, the forgotten. These days, Sheila spends much of her time speaking at local senior centers explaining the ins and outs of palliative care, home health assistance and end of life programs, such as hospice care with sensitivity and compassion.

“The word ‘caring’ is one of the first words you learn when you are employed in a health care agency,” says Mrs. Barter, who has a particular affinity for helping patients undergoing cancer treatment. When she hears some local resident has been diagnosed and started treatment, she sends anonymous, inspirational cards and words of encouragement, and she is fond of handing out hand-crafted “pocket angels” to help raise people’s hopes and spirits.

She has also supported Relay for Life efforts in both Auburn and Worcester, and encouraged her grandson, Nate to adopt the charity in fulfilling his school’s volunteer requirement.

The community of Auburn is so very fortunate to have such a warm and compassionate advocate,” says Hometown Bank’s Auburn branch manager, Tina Puzo, who nominated Mrs. Barter. “We should all be so fortunate as to have a Sheila Barter in our corner to encourage us and lift our spirits!”

A donation has been made to Why Me? Sherry’s House in Mrs. Barter’s honor.

Hometown Bank is a $400 million mutual bank with branch offices in Athol, Auburn, Leominster, Oxford, South Lancaster, Sturbridge and two locations in Webster

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Hometown Bank celebrates 125th Anniversary with Open House

As Hometown Bank’s 125th anniversary year draws to a close, the Bank will be holding a special Anniversary Open House at all branch locations on Thursday, November 13, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Hometown Bank has been serving local residents as a respected community bank since 1889,” said President and CEO Michael D. Hewitt. “Along the way, we’ve grown to 8 locations, including our new Leominster office, but we’ve worked hard to maintain the Hometown Bank culture that is so appreciated by our customers. We hope area residents will take advantage of this opportunity to drop by their local branch office, meet our staff and learn more about why we believe this is the way banking should be.”

On November 13, all Hometown Bank offices will be serving light refreshments throughout the day. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet staff and enter a raffle to win a $500 gift card. The event is open to the public and you need not be a customer to enter the raffle.

Hometown Bank is a $400 million mutual bank with offices at 90 Exchange Street, Athol; 569 Southbridge Street, Auburn; 9 Sack Boulevard, Leominster; 31 Sutton Avenue, Oxford; 31 Main Street, South Lancaster; 331 Main Street (Route 31) Sturbridge; 4 Gore Road, Webster, and 218 R Main Street, Webster.

Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Hero for October is Athol’s Bill Kessler

OXFORD, MA – Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Hero for October, Bill Kessler says the driving force behind his volunteer activities in the community of Athol over the years has been the many opportunities he’s had to help make Athol a better place.

Kessler’s connection to the town goes back about a century. His grandfather moved to Athol in 1916, where he worked for L.S. Starrett, and raised three children. In the 1950’s, Bill’s parents moved out of town and it wasn’t until years later that Kessler was drawn back to Athol to raise his own family. “Affordable housing brought us here,” he says, “but what kept us here was that it was a wonderful place for kids to grow up.”

Kessler joined the Athol Rotary in 1996, saying “I was looking for an organization that allowed me to meet other local business people and community leaders, but what I found was lots of wonderful friendships and a multitude of opportunities to help make Athol an even better place.” Like his grandfather, who served as Rotary president in 1935, Kessler is also a past president of that service organization and now serves as its membership chair.

The Athol Area YMCA, where his three sons have worked and volunteered, is of particular importance to this month’s honoree. He has just completed a 3-year term as president of that organization’s board of directors. “The YMCA provides sports activities, after school and preschool programs for local kids,” Kessler says, “and actively promotes healthy living skills, youth development and social responsibility. The organization also provides numerous summer camping and day camp opportunities for kids at Camp Selah, in Tully, MA and Camp Wiyaka, in Richmond, N.H.” Each year, Kessler chairs a dinner dance to help raise funds to underwrite membership in the organization for needy local youngsters.

In addition to the Rotary and YMCA, Kessler is a member of the Athol Chamber of Commerce and the North Quabbin Lodge of Freemasons, past president of the Chuck Stone Little League, a former Scoutmaster for Troop 8 at the Athol Congregational Church, and past president of the Athol Lions Club. “I’ve just always enjoyed helping out” he says.

At his request, a donation has been made to the North Quabbin Lodge of Freemasons Angel Fund in his honor.

Hometown Bank is a $400 million mutual bank with branch offices in Athol, Auburn, Leominster, Oxford, South Lancaster, Sturbridge and two locations in Webster. To nominate an Everyday Hometown Hero from your community, visit the Hometown Bank website at www.hometowncoop.com.

Photo Cut Line: Hometown Bank’s Everyday Hometown Hero for October, Bill Kessler, of Kessler Investments, with Athol Branch Manager, Marc Ostberg.