March 20, 2017
Reporter's Notebook

Proximity to depositors, venues sold United Bank on downtown

William (Bill) H. W. Crawford IV, Chief Executive Officer, United Financial Bancorp Inc.

United Financial Bancorp Inc. and its flagship, United Bank, had a few other options, bank officials say, for relocating away from its cramped Glastonbury office quarters, aside from choosing downtown Hartford.

But Chief Executive Officer William (Bill) H. W. Crawford IV and his aides, after closer research and a lack of success locating suitable suburban space, made what to some looks like a bold choice: To relocate the $6.5 billion-asset bank's administrative headquarters, along with a few hundred staff and bankers onto several upper floors of downtown Hartford's Goodwin Square skyscraper.

The bank is retaining Rockville Bank's original Vernon headquarters at 25 Park St. to house some of its operations. United's desire to consolidate some of its spread-out office outposts was a key reason for the relo, scheduled to take place by summer, Crawford said.

"It's a chance for us to be the signature tenant in Goodwin Square," United's CEO said recently. "It's an opportunity to raise the visibility of our bank and the visibility of our brand.''

Among its research findings, Crawford noted that Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. bank-deposit data shows about 38 cents of every $1 of bank deposits is held by Hartford area insured lending institutions. Those deposits, and their commercial and residential accountholders, are an enticing lure to United and its peers, he said.

Also, since its May 2014 birth from the merger of former Rockville Bank and United Bank of West Springfield, United has recruited a number of commercial bankers from its area rivals. Many of those bankers still have relationships with customers based downtown, so locating there puts them in closer proximity, Crawford said.

Meantime, United was among those signing on as a corporate sponsor of the Yard Goats minor-league ballclub.

"It will be a good opportunity for us to entertain customers down there,'' Crawford said.

– Gregory Seay

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