United Financial Bancorp Posts Solid Third Quarter
GLASTONBURY, Conn. — United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2014. These results represent the first full fiscal quarter as the combined United Financial (merger of legacy Rockville Financial Inc. and legacy United Financial Bancorp Inc.) Rockville was the legal acquirer in the merger of equals with legacy United, in a transaction that closed on April 30, 2014, and Rockville changed its name to United Financial Bancorp Inc. at that time. The company had net income of $10 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to Rockville’s net income of $4.6 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2013. Operating net income for the third quarter of 2014 was $10.5 million (non-GAAP), or $0.20 per diluted share, adjusted for $4.5 million (pre-tax) of expenses related to the merger, $3.8 million (pre-tax) net positive impact of the amortization and accretion of the purchase accounting adjustments (or fair-value adjustments) as a result of the merger, and $430,000 (pre-tax) net gains on sales of securities. Operating net income for the quarter ending June 30 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 third quarter of 2013 was $4.6 million (non-GAAP), or $0.18 per diluted share, adjusted for income of $29,000 (pre-tax) from net gains on sales of securities. “I am pleased to announce that, during United Financial Bancorp, Inc.’s first full quarter as a merged entity, the company reported strong organic earning asset growth, highlighted by 10% annualized commercial loan growth and record residential mortgage loan production, while maintaining superior asset quality,” stated William Crawford IV, CEO of United Financial Bancorp Inc. and United Bank. “While this is a difficult operating environment for banks, the company will continue its strategy of organic growth and commitment to enhancement of long-term shareholder value through operational and capital efficiency.” Other financial highlights:
• Third-quarter net income of $10.0 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, and operating net income of $10.5 million, or $0.20 per diluted share;
• A 12% increase in operating revenue, compared to linked quarter;
• A 22% increase in operating expense, compared to linked quarter;
• A 3.56% GAAP tax-equivalent net-interest margin, compared to 3.86% in the linked quarter. On an operating basis, the third-quarter tax-equivalent net-interest margin was 3.23%, compared to 3.34% in the linked quarter; and
• Operating non-interest expense/average assets decreased to 2.32% from 2.38% in the linked quarter.
Freedom Launches ATMs in Rite Aid Pharmacies in Western Mass.
SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union and Welch ATM announced that Freedom Credit Union-branded ATMs are now available in Rite Aid pharmacies in Agawam, Chicopee, Easthampton, Holyoke, Lee, Monson, Pittsfield, Southwick, Springfield, West Springfield, and Westfield. Freedom will also provide its members with surcharge-free access to all 224 Rite Aid pharmacy locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In addition to custom branding, Welch ATM is providing new, fully compliant ATM machines and complete management. “We are excited to provide Freedom Credit Union with ATM branding at Rite Aids in Massachusetts,” said Adam Hobelmann, senior vice president at Welch ATM. “Our company strives to provide customer satisfaction, and we look forward to offering easy cash access and consistent ATM service to Freedom Credit Union’s members.” Over the past 11 years, Freedom Credit Union has grown from one branch to 10. The newest branch opened in September in the Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy on State Street in Springfield.
Florence Bank Sets Grand Opening at Hadley Branch
HADLEY — Florence Bank, a mutually owned savings bank serving the Pioneer Valley through nine branch locations, will celebrate the official opening of its new Hadley location at 377 Russell St. on Nov. 8 between 10 a.m. and noon. The public is invited to help celebrate the important milestone by joining officials from the bank for a grand-opening ceremony that includes a ribbon cutting, a weathervane dedication in memory of John Devine, refreshments, and entertainment. The opening of this branch culminates a construction project that began in the spring. The bank’s new home is only a few doors down from where it has been serving the town for nearly 20 years. “The bank owns the real estate at its new location, whereas we rented our previous space at 335 Russell St. It made sense for us to own the space and have control over renovations and upgrades as needed,” said John Heaps, Jr., president and CEO of Florence Bank. “Plus, this is a truly state-of-the-art facility that we believe will be very well-received and appreciated by our customers and friends.” Amenities and features of the new, 3,150-square-foot branch include direct access from Route 9; a full-service teller line with state-of-the-art technology for quick cash handling; walk-up and drive-up ATMs with smart technology for easy depositing; three drive-up lanes, including a drive-up ATM; expanded private offices and a private conference room; an energy-efficient building to minimize the carbon footprint; and a comfortable waiting area with a coffee bar and free wi-fi. Wright Builders Inc. and HAI Architecture worked on the design and construction of the new building in close cooperation with officials from the bank. Toby Daniels, vice president and branch manager of the Hadley branch, will continue in that role in the new location.
Paragus Ranks Among ICIC and Fortune’s Inner City 100 Winners
SPRINGFIELD — The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune announced that Paragus Strategic IT was selected for the 2014 Inner City 100, a list of the fastest-growing inner-city businesses in the U.S. This year, for the first time in the list’s 16-year history, the Inner City 100 consists of 10 fast-growing businesses from 10 industry categories: construction, manufacturing, professional services, food and beverage, retail, media and communications, software and information technology, transportation and logistics, healthcare and biotechnology, and arts, entertainment, and recreation. Applicants ranked according to revenue growth against their industry peers, as well as overall. Paragus Strategic IT ranked sixth in the software and information-technology category, and 35th overall on the list of 100. The Inner City 100 program recognizes successful inner-city businesses and their CEOs as role models for entrepreneurship, innovative business practices, and job creation in America’s urban communities. Paragus Strategic IT, an outsourced IT-solutions business and a nonprofit that trains high-school students in IT, reported 2013 revenues of $3.54 million and a gross growth rate of 328% from 2009 to 2013. The full list of winners can be viewed at fortune.com. Preceding the Oct. 16 awards celebration, winners attended a two-day small-business symposium designed exclusively for urban firms. The 2014 Inner City 100 winners represent a wide span of geography, hailing from 53 cities and 23 states. The winners grew at an average compound annual growth rate of 39% and an average gross growth rate of 336% between 2009 and 2013. Collectively, the top 100 inner-city businesses employ 8,276 people and created 5,119 new jobs between 2009 and 2013. Not only are the winners powerful job creators in their communities, they also help develop their employees — 73% provide business-skills training, and 69% provide professional-development training to all full-time employees.
Baystate Partners with VertitechIT on IT Infrastructure Project
SPRINGFIELD — Looking to maintain its role as one of the largest and most technically advanced health systems in New England, Baystate Health has launched a new IT infrastructure-redevelopment effort to be managed by Holyoke-based VertitechIT. Baystate Vice President and Chief Information Officer Joel Vengco announced the initiative, which includes updates to critical IT technologies and migration to a new, advanced data center. “Our doctors, nurses, and clinicians need access to critical records at all times, in all of our facilities, and on multiple platforms,” said Vengco. “This initiative, including our data-center move to a new facility in downtown Springfield, will allow our more than 10,000 employees to better serve more than a million patients every year and fully utilize the technology that has made us a keystone of the Western Mass. community.” Vengco has called on VertitechIT, one of the fastest growing healthcare-technology consultancies in the country, to manage the project. “Baystate is among the most respected institutions of its kind in the nation,” added VertitechIT CEO and founder Michael Feld. “It’s our job to make sure they have the infrastructure to continue to provide seamless care between the academic medical center, two community hospitals, and numerous outpatient and primary-care facilities. And from a purely selfish standpoint, it’s nice to have such a prestigious client in our own backyard.” VertitechIT formally opened its new national headquarters at Open Square on Oct. 17.
Executech Sold to Dan Serrenho and Partners
AGAWAM — Executech, one of the area’s leading providers of office supplies and equipment, recently announced the sale of its business to Vice President of Sales Dan Serrenho. Serrenho and employees Hilary Leclair, William Walsh, and Greg Nivison jumped at the chance to acquire the business from owner David Centracchio when Centracchio decided to sell. According to Serrenho, “our goal is to let the community know that we are here to continue providing excellent service to our customers. The transition will be transparent in terms of service.” Added Kathleen Anderson, president of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, “we congratulate Mr. Serrenho and all the Executech employee owners on their new roles as small-business owners. Small businesses are the backbone of the community’s economy, and the Holyoke chamber is fully committed to supporting our local businesses.” Executech, located at 53 Ramah Circle South in Agawam, offers a full range of sales, leasing, and service of office supplies and business machines and equipment. “We’ve learned that local ownership is key to meeting the needs of the business of our community,” said Serrenho.
Berkshire Community College Receives 2014 Trendsetter Award
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College (BCC) has received the 2014 Trendsetter Award for Growing and Advancing the Berkshire Economy by 1Berkshire, an independent not-for-profit corporation charged with strengthening and growing the economy in Berkshire County. The award, which was presented last month at 1Berkshire’s Celebrate the Berkshires event, is presented annually to an individual or organization with “a project that attracts new residents or new jobs or enhances the current workforce attributes for a single employer, targeted employee segment, or the region as a whole.” BCC was recognized for its unique collaborative partnership with the vocational schools in the Berkshires, in particular Taconic High School. The partnership between BCC and Taconic to produce the new advanced-manufacturing employee program was launched in October 2013 with the unveiling of a new, state-of-the-art lab. The lab is housed at Taconic and provides both BCC and Taconic students with the advanced technical skills that are needed in the new high-tech manufacturing workplace. BCC’s investment, along with matching funds from the state’s 2013 Vocational Equipment Grant Program, yield a $250,000 capital infusion into the new manufacturing lab. The lab includes a learning system consisting of two programmable computer numerical control (CNC) machines with a material-handling robot, hardware, simulation software, and other cutting-edge CNC equipment. This learning system was provided by funds from the Massachusetts Community Colleges & Workforce Development Transformation Agenda (MCCWDTA), a statewide Department of Labor grant. The kickoff event celebrated new manufacturing and BCC’s participation in MassDevelopment’s AMP (Advanced Manufacturing Program) it up! initiative. In addition to the investment into the manufacturing lab, BCC utilized funding from MCCWDTA and AMP it up! to promote manufacturing as a livelihood through the use of billboards and other advertising displayed throughout the county celebrating October as ‘manufacturing month.’ Presentations were also made to targeted audiences to promote advanced manufacturing as a career. BCC then offered its new advanced-manufacturing training certification program in partnership with Taconic High School to a pilot group of unemployed and incumbent workers at no cost. This 10-week, 66-hour, Level 1 program launched a statewide certified curriculum and employer-led training initiative developed by the Mass. Extension Partnership (MASSMEP) called MACWIC, (Mass. Advancement Center, Workforce Innovation Collaborative.) Following the Level 1 program, a 16-week, 115-hour, Level 2 program was established to build upon the Level 1 programming and meet the needs of the paper and plastic manufacturing companies in the Berkshires. The overall mission of the program is to preserve manufacturing knowledge and to execute the transfer of knowledge, all while meeting the needs of local employers. In addition to the programming at Taconic High School, BCC also assisted with a special manufacturing program offered at McCann Vocational Technical High School in North Adams.