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Company Notebook

Whittlesey & Hadley Announces Expansion
HARTFORD, Conn. – Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C., one of the area’s largest regional CPA firms, announced its plan to diversify geographically and grow in size, services, and staff, beginning with a merger with Lester Halpern & Co., P.C. of Holyoke, a leading regional CPA firm providing a broad range of accounting, audit, tax, and management-consulting services to closely held business, nonprofit, and governmental sectors of Western Mass. and throughout New England. The merger became effective Aug. 1. Whittlesey & Hadley provides accounting, audit, tax, technology, and business-consulting services to clients primarily throughout the Northeast, with access to a worldwide network of resources through PKF North America. For more than 50 years, the firm has served closely held businesses, including manufacturing, construction and distribution, real estate, financial institutions, healthcare, government, and technology industries, as well as the nonprofit sector, the firm’s largest niche focus. The firm has 100 professional and administrative staff located in downtown Hartford. “We moved to a larger office space in downtown Hartford, providing us with the resources to begin our future growth,” said Drew Andrews, managing partner of Whittlesey & Hadley, P.C. “It is a common vision, philosophy, and dedication to provide a superior client experience that we are seeking when merging with CPA firms. Lester Halpern & Co. brought that to the table. This merger represents our first step in an aggressive plan to grow our services and staff throughout the Northeast, while retaining our valued reputation as having the expertise of a national firm but the responsiveness of a local firm that clients expect and deserve from its professional services partner.” Established in 1959, Lester Halpern & Co.’s 25 employees will continue to serve their client base out of the Holyoke office, while acquiring the Whittlesey & Hadley brand.

United Financial Bancorp Announces Q2 Results
GLASTONBURY, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended June 30. These results include one month of the pre-merger Rockville Financial Inc. net income, and net income of the combined entity beginning on May 1. Rockville was the legal acquirer in the merger of equals with legacy United Financial Bancorp Inc., in a transaction that closed on April 30, and Rockville changed its name to United Financial Bancorp Inc. at that time. The company had a net loss of $5.6 million, or $(0.13) per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2014, compared to Rockville’s net income of $3.3 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2013. Operating net income for the second quarter of 2014 was $5.8 million (non-GAAP), or $0.13 per diluted share, adjusted for $21.3 million (pre-tax) of expenses related to the merger, $4.9 million (pre-tax) net impact of the amortization and accretion of the purchase-accounting adjustments (or fair-value adjustments) as a result of the merger, and $589,000 (pre-tax) net gains on sales of securities. Operating net income for the quarter ending March 31 was $2.2 million (non-GAAP), or $0.08 per diluted share, adjusted for $1.8 million (pre-tax) of expenses related to the merger of equals between Rockville Financial Inc. and United Financial Bancorp Inc., as well as income of $268,000 (pre-tax) from net gains on sales of securities. Operating net income for the second quarter of 2013 was $4.0 million (non-GAAP), or $0.15 per diluted share, adjusted for $809,000 (pre-tax) for the impact of a branch lease-termination agreement and $561,000 (pre-tax) for termination expense related to position eliminations, as well as income of $329,000 (pre-tax) from net gains on sales of securities. “During the second quarter, Rockville Financial Inc. and United Financial Bancorp Inc. successfully completed their merger of equals. Organic earning asset growth and operating earnings results for the quarter were strong, despite including only two months as a combined organization,” said William Crawford IV, CEO of United Financial Bancorp Inc. and United Bank. “The team is intensely focused on integrating the two companies and is on target to complete the data conversion in the fourth quarter of 2014.” Earnings in both 2014 and 2013 were affected by non-operating income and expense.

HCC Gateway to College Program Tops in U.S.
HOLYOKE — The HCC Gateway to College program, which takes high-school dropouts and puts them in college classes, leads the nation in both retention and graduation rates. The spring 2014 report from the National Network of Gateway to College lists the program at Holyoke Community College number one in both fall-to-fall persistence rate (87%) and graduation rate (80%) out of all 43 Gateway to College programs for the 2011-12 academic year. The network average was 53% for persistence (otherwise known as retention) and 27% for graduation. The Gateway to College program gives second chances to high-school students who have either dropped out of school or are at risk for dropping out by enrolling them in college classes. Students earn both their high-school diplomas and college credit. HCC’s largest Gateway class ever graduated on June 9, with 26 students from Amherst, Palmer, Holyoke, and Springfield receiving their high-school diplomas. Along the way, the class of 2014 also amassed a total of 387 college credits. Since 2010, 142 students have earned their high-school diplomas through the HCC Gateway to College program.

Easthampton Savings Bank Posts Solid Quarter
EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton Savings Bank staged its quarterly directors meeting on July 16. President and CEO Matthew Sosik reported the completion of another successful quarter for the bank. “This past year represents yet another in a long string of excellent financial performances at Easthampton Savings,” he said. “Total assets were up $41.6 million from a year ago, an increase of 4.3%, while total loans increased 9% or $63.5 million.” Total loans now stand at $747.8 million. The bank’s deposit growth was $38.3 million or 5% from this time last year, with total deposits now at $840.2 million. “These continue to be challenging economic times for our region, and interest rates remain very low as a result,” said Sosik. “In spite of those conditions, the bank continues to outperform the industry.  At the same time, we have continued to invest heavily in the communities that we serve through direct charitable donations and many, many hours of community service by our staff and our directors.”

North Brookfield Savings, FamilyFirst Finish Merger
NORTH BROOKFIELD — North Brookfield Savings Bank announced that the bank’s merger with FamilyFirst Bank is now complete, effective June 1. The deal, first announced in January 2014, recently became official thanks to approval of the corporators of North Brookfield Savings Bank, the shareholders of FamilyFirst Bank, and the banks’ regulators. With the addition of former FamilyFirst Bank branches in Ware, the Three Rivers Village of Palmer, and East Brookfield, North Brookfield Savings Bank now includes seven branches in addition to the Business Center at NBSB and online-banking components. North Brookfield Savings Bank, founded in 1854, is a mutual savings bank with over $200 million in assets. The bank has received the highest Five Star Superior Bank rating from Bauer Financial for 74 consecutive quarters. The combined bank will have in excess of $260 million in assets.

Berkshire Bank Renames Mortgage Division
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank announced the renaming of its mortgage-lending division to Berkshire Bank Home Lending. The line of business includes a home-lending call center, operations, servicing, and a team of mortgage-loan originators. This business line will transition Berkshire’s current mortgage-lending affiliate, Greenpark Mortgage, into the Berkshire Bank Home Lending brand. Along with its new home-lending call center and loan-servicing operations, Berkshire Bank Home Lending includes more than 90 mortgage-loan originators located in offices throughout New England and New York. Included in the business-unit rollout was the launch of a new consumer-lending website, berkshirebankhomelending.com. The new site features areas to get pre-approved for a mortgage, apply for a mortgage, and log in to check on an application’s status. It also includes helpful information on topics including mortgage-application checklists, calculators, glossary of terms, and homeowners’ insurance. “Berkshire Bank Home Lending’s goal is to provide individualized home-mortgage solutions because we know no two customers are alike,” said Kevin Inkley, senior vice president, Retail Lending. “With our network of local loan originators, competitive pricing, home-lending call center, and website, we partner with our customers to keep them informed, ensuring the highest-quality service and long-term satisfaction.”

Tighe & Bond Named a “Best Firm to Work For”
WESTFIELD — Based on the survey results of its 2014 “Best Firms To Work For” competition, ZweigWhite recognized Tighe & Bond as one of the best civil-engineering firms in the U.S. to work for. This annual awards competition is based on business-practice data collected from numerous participating firms across the country, including feedback solicited through an employee survey. ZweigWhite, a provider of management information and expertise to architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental-consulting firms worldwide, sponsors the program that recognizes the top firms leading the way in creating a workplace that inspires, motivates, and rewards employees. The competitive ranking that results is based on comprehensive evaluations of factors such as firm culture and workplace practices, employee benefits, career development and growth opportunities, compensation, performance and recognition, as well as recruiting and retention rates.  All firms that apply for this prestigious ranking and recognition are evaluated against each other, not a set standard. “ZweigWhite has recognized Tighe & Bond several times as one of the best engineering firms to work for in the nation, and it is always a significant honor,” said David Pinsky, president and CEO of Tighe & Bond. “It also exemplifies our ongoing commitment to create a working environment where all of our employees feel valued and where they can see their contribution to the overall mission and success of the firm and our clients. Our ability to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented staff is crucial to providing the high-quality, responsive services that our clients have come to expect and deserve.”

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