April 17, 2012 | last updated June 4, 2012 12:04 pm

Ex-NewAlliance CEO Patterson returning to CT banking

Peyton R. Patterson

Peyton R. Patterson, who as CEO a year ago led former NewAlliance Bank into the arms of Buffalo lender First Niagara Financial Group, is resuming her banking career -- this time running a cluster of smaller southern Connecticut lenders.

Largely out of banking and the public eye since the $1.5 billion deal in April 2011, Patterson in early September will take the reins as CEO of New Canaan's BNC Financial Group, parent of The Bank of New Canaan, The Bank of Fairfield and Stamford First Bank.

The Greenwich resident will also join the board of the holding company and the boards of the subsidiary banks, BNC announced Tuesday.

Patterson's compensation package was not disclosed. BNC did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Patterson could not be reached for comment.

"I am honored to be joining BNC Financial Group because it represents everything I love about community banking," Patterson said in a statement from the bank.

BNC's current CEO, Merrill Jay Forgotson, will work closely with Patterson throughout the transition period, the bank said.

Forgotson subsequently will stay on as president and a board member of The Bank of Fairfield.

BNC is among a handful of Connecticut banks participating in a new federal program that allows community lenders to trade in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds for cheaper capital with fewer government restrictions.

BNC borrowed $11 million from the Treasury Department's Small Business Lending Fund program that lowers the repayment sum proportionate to the volume of small-business loans BNC generates.

Before NewAlliance, Patterson, 53, was a senior officer with Dime Bancorp in New York. Previously, she spent eight years with Chemical Bank and Chase Manhattan.

As chairman and CEO, Patterson led the NewAlliance's $1 billion IPO in 2004, and made a series of acquisitions that quadrupled the size of the bank over six years. Additionally, she oversaw the creation and funding of the NewAlliance Foundation, which has become one of the major philanthropic organizations in the region.

The New York Times reported that Patterson received a pay package as high as $24 million when she departed NewAlliance last spring.

First Niagara Financial Group paid $1.5 billion in cash and stock for NewAlliance's 88 branches.

Patterson received a degree from Kenyon College and an MBA in marketing from George Washington University.

She serves on the boards of the Consumer Bankers Association, Connecticut Council for Education Reform, NewAlliance Foundation, The Greater New York United Way, the Greenwich YMCA and is on the executive committee of Yale New Haven Hospital.


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