November 21, 2018

Naugatuck's Ion Bank plans Farmington branch

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Ion Bank President David Rotatori.

Naugatuck's Ion Bank, one of Connecticut's smallest community banks, is eyeing a Farmington branch as a prelude to a broader market expansion into central Connecticut, bank officials say.

President David Rotatori said the $1.3 billion-asset bank, formerly Naugatuck Savings Bank, recently won Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approval to open its 18th branch in The Corner House, at 4 Main St. in Farmington. As a state-chartered institution, Ion awaits final review and approval of its branch application from the state Banking Department, Rotatori said.

If fully approved, the 3,500-square-foot office will house 15 staffers, he said. Cherilyn Spatola, a former staffer in Farmington Bank's Newington branch, has joined Ion as vice president-branch manager of its planned Farmington office.

Until recently, Farmington was home turf for former Farmington Bank, which in October formally merged with Bridgeport super-regional lender People's United Financial.

Indeed, Rotatori and his predecessor, Charles "Chuck" Boulier, who is retiring in December after four decades in banking, say Ion's move into Farmington is tied directly to Farmington Bank's and People's United $544 million all-stock merger.

"That creates an opportunity for a true community bank in that neighborhood,'' Rotatori said.

Ultimately, Ion covets planting its flag in Farmington Valley communities, including Avon, Simsbury and West Hartford, he said.

He and Boulier said that, starting the day First Connecticut and People's United announced their intent to merge, Ion began getting calls from Farmington Bank staffers and outsiders, urging Ion to pursue a larger presence in central Connecticut.

Ion officials already were mulling expansion options, but the inquiries "made it easier for us to make the decision,'' Rotatori said.

Ion is a mutual bank, meaning that rather than stockholders, it is owned by its depositors. It is a unit of Ion Financial Mutual Holding Co.

Ion Bank has 17 branches in 13 Connecticut communities.

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