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Company Notebook

United Financial Announces Q1 Earnings, Dividend

GLASTONBURY, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017. The company reported net income of $13.7 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2017, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $14.6 million, or $0.29 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $11.9 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2016. “Over the last three consecutive quarters, United Financial Bancorp Inc. has averaged a return on average assets of 0.87% and a return on average tangible common equity of 10.89%, as the company continues to make progress on its four key objectives communicated in April 2016,” said William Crawford IV, CEO of the company and the bank. Assets totaled $6.70 billion at March 31, 2017 and increased $97.1 million, or 1.5%, from $6.60 billion at Dec. 31, 2016. At March 31, 2017, total loans were $4.94 billion, representing an increase of $42.3 million, or 0.9%, from the linked quarter. Changes to loan balances during the first quarter of 2017 were highlighted by a $44.6 million, or 6.2%, increase in commercial business loans and a $16.6 million, or 4.0%, increase in owner-occupied commercial real-estate loans. Total residential mortgages increased during the first quarter of 2017 by $11.2 million, or 1.0%. Total cash and cash equivalents decreased $6.3 million, or 6.9%, during the linked quarter, while the available for sale securities portfolio increased by $32.3 million, or 3.1%. Deposits totaled $4.79 billion at March 31, 2017 and increased by $79.2 million, or 1.7%, from $4.71 billion at December 31, 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, money-market deposit accounts increased $157.2 million, or 12.9%, and NOW checking deposits increased $39.2 million, or 7.9%, from the linked quarter, reflective of a seasonal increase in municipal deposits and successful new account acquisition. These increases were offset by a $110.1 million, or 6.3%, decrease in certificates of deposit, some of which migrated to money market deposit accounts. The board of directors declared a cash dividend on the company’s common stock of $0.12 per share to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 28, 2017 and payable on May 10, 2017. This dividend equates to a 2.73% annualized yield based on the $17.58 average closing price of the company’s common stock in the first quarter of 2017. The company has paid dividends for 44 consecutive quarters.

Johnson & Hill Partners with Family Business Center

AMHERST — The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley has been helping family-owned and closely held companies from around Western Mass since 1994, through a series of educational dinner forums and morning workshops, roundtables and customized consults. The center’s strategic partners contribute to that professional development in the areas of accounting, banking, leadership, insurance, wealth management, staffing, and law, and BusinessWest is the media partner for the center. Now Johnson & Hill Staffing will be taking on the role of the FBC’s staffing sponsor-partner. “As a longtime member of the FBC, we are excited to move into the role of sponsor/partner in our continued support of family business across the Pioneer Valley,” said Andrea Hill-Cataldo, president. “As specialists who staff anything from short-term needs to key direct hire roles in administrative, accounting and finance, legal, and professional settings, the Johnson & Hill team collectively brings decades of staffing insight to the table. Our goal is to provide members of the FBC with that insight to help them evaluate new and innovative ways of acquiring the talent that will drive their business forward.” The schedule of educational events for the Family Business Center is at fambizpv.com.

Berkshire Bank Receives Six Marketing Awards

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank was recently honored with six awards for community engagement and marketing of leading-edge products. The bank was recognized at the Financial Marketing Awards in Newport, R.I. and the New England Financial Marketing Awards in Burlington, Mass.; both events took place in March. The Financial Marketing Awards are the oldest financial awards in New England. The program honors banks and credit unions for creative marketing and branding efforts, while the Community Champion Award recognizes a bank or credit union for the difference they make in the community. Berkshire received recognition in the following categories:

• Community Champion Award – Gold for Pittsfield Public Schools attendance billboard;

• Loan Award – Silver for home-equity campaign; and

• Deposit Award – Bronze for Leap Year deposit campaign.

The New England Financial Marketing Assoc. has a diverse membership representing financial institutions with assets ranging from less than $500 million to more than $5 billion. Its annual awards program honors banks and credit unions in the New England states for creative marketing, branding, and community efforts. Berkshire received recognition in the following categories:

• Overall Community Service – 2nd Place for Xtraordinary Day campaign;

• In-Branch Design – 2nd Place for Mid-Atlantic region branch design; and

• Customer Service – 2nd Place for Game Plan point of sale.

Pride Stores Partners with Local Beer Brand White Lion

SPRINGFIELDWhite Lion Brewing continues to root itself as Springfield’s craft-beer brand. Pride Stores, which has a beer and wine selection in five of its 30 locations, will feature White Lion as the preferred local beer brand. “The partnership is part of Pride Stores’ commitment to the local community,” said David Horgan, director of Advertising. White Lion has accounts throughout Massachusetts, but company President Raymond Berry said “there is no better feeling than knowing local decision makers like Pride Stores want to be part of our growth. This partnership will put the brand and our portfolio in front of people daily. Both companies are committed to the city and surrounding communities.” The stores will carry White Lion’s portfolio of bottled and soon-to-be-released canned products.

HMC Earns ‘A’ Grade for Patient Safety

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) has once again earned an ‘A’ rating from the Leapfrog Group, ranking it among the safest hospitals in the U.S. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the first and only national healthcare rating focused on errors, accidents, and infections. The program has been assigning letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. since 2012. Holyoke Medical Center was one of 823 hospitals to receive an ‘A’ ranking among the safest hospitals in the U.S. “This is the third consecutive ‘A’ rating for Holyoke Medical Center. As a free-standing, independent community hospital, we must rely on providing our patients with the safest, highest-quality, affordable care possible, and we appreciate our staff who join us every day in being dedicated to our mission,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems Inc.

Sunshine Village Earns CARF Accreditation

CHICOPEE — The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) announced that Sunshine Village has been accredited for a period of three years for its day-habilitation, employment-services, and day-services programs. The latest accreditation is the 10th consecutive successful three-year Accreditation given to Sunshine Village by the international accrediting body. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization. An organization receiving a three-year accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality. CARF accreditation is a useful tool to determine the best organization for services. Specifically, the organization was tested against 856 standards in areas including leadership, strategic planning, financial planning, input from people served, risk management, health and safety, human resources, technology, rights of people served, accessibility, and performance improvement, as well as quality individualized services and supports. In the past ten years, this achievement indicates Sunshine Village’s well-established pattern and commitment to practice excellence. “I am so proud that Sunshine Village has again been recognized by CARF with their highest level of accreditation,” said Gina Kos, executive director for Sunshine Village. “This is an outstanding achievement, and it shows that the organization meets our mission of improving the lives of people with disabilities. Every day, more than 230 staff work hard to achieve that mission — and this accreditation is validation of that. It shows that we do deliver on the promise of a great day — and that our employees truly shine.” Now in its 50th year, Sunshine Village is a nonprofit organization with a main campus in Chicopee and additional sites in Chicopee, Springfield, Three Rivers, and Westfield. It has been providing day services for adults with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum, since 1967.

Mary Ann’s Dance and More Announces Relocation

EASTHAMPTON — Mary Ann’s Dance and More, a local dance-apparel store, announced it will be moving to its new home on Route 10 in Easthampton on July 1. The company will move to 396 Main St., the former home of Fit Body. The location offers easier parking, a more friendly shopping experience, better accessibility, and the ability to host more in-store events. In January, the company launched its app on Google Play and the App Store. It will also be celebrating its 10th anniversary in August. Mary Ann’s Dance and More offers customers dance supplies, including apparel and accessories, as well as novelty and gift items. An active business in the community, the company is recognized as a consistent sponsor of various local organizations.

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