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Company Milestones

Company Milestones

Paul Scully, president of Country Bank

Paul Scully, president of Country Bank

It was March 1850. Millard Fillmore was still working through his first 100 days in office as the thirteenth President of the United States — although no one was probably counting the days back then. In six months, California joined the Union as its 31st state, taking the country from coast to coast and Ware Savings Bank was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Thus, the first chapter in the 170-year history of Country Bank was written.

There have been a number of important chapters written since — including the incorporation of Palmer Savings Bank in 1870 and the merger of those two institutions in 1981 to form Country Bank for Savings (later shortened to simply Country Bank). Paul Scully, the bank’s current president, noted that many things have changed at this institution over those 170 years, everything from its footprint — it now stretches from Ludlow to Worcester, with 14 branches and 23 ATM/ITM locations — to how people do their banking.

Country Bank
Home Base:
Ware, Mass.
Paul Scully
Company Snapshot:
A community bank with 14 locations

What’s more significant to him — and all members of the Country Bank team — is what hasn’t changed in that time. Specifically, it’s a commitment to the customers, communities, and staff that sets this institution apart. In short, what hasn’t changed is that this is still a community bank in every sense of that phrase. “What we are celebrating is the bank’s support for those who have been right there with us along the way,” stated Scully. “And we’re celebrating our independence in being a mutual savings bank, and one of the most highly capitalized banks in the Commonwealth.”

This rich history of support prompted the bank to assume a leadership role during times of crisis — and there have been many over the past 170 years, perhaps none more significant than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past several months, the bank has stepped up to assist its commercial and consumer customers impacted by the virus and resulting economic downturn. “Every customer matters, regardless of their deposit balance, and we’re here to help them achieve their dreams or navigate through rough waters.” None have been rougher than those generated by the pandemic, he noted, adding that the bank has written 475 Payment Protection Plan (PPP) loans in amounts ranging from $1,500 to $2 million and helped many commercial and mortgage borrowers. “It’s the premise of why community banking and Country Bank exist,” he went on. “Since the start of the pandemic, the bank has donated over $450,000 to COVID-related relief efforts along with an additional $400,000 to other local non-profits. For the past one hundred and seventy years, the bank’s operated with the belief that healthy communities thrive; recognizing that it has not only an opportunity but a responsibility to support its communities at varying levels.”


There have been many milestones for Country Bank since 1850, and dates to remember:

July 1869: The Committee of Investment voted that the bank loan to the town of Ware in the amount of $70,000 was to be used in the building of the Ware River Railroad;

• 1920: The service of school savings accounts was inaugurated to help establish a habit of thrift among young savers;

• 1945: The first home loan to a veteran of World War II was made under the G.I. Bill of Rights;

• 1982: The first ATM was installed;

• 2017: The Boston Business Journal first recognized the bank for its charitable donations; and

• 2019: Country Bank became a founding member of the Worcester WooSox.

These milestones collectively speak to the notion of what a community bank is — or should be — and that legacy is being celebrated as this institution turns 170. “Behind the individual milestones is a consistent pattern of service to the community,” Scully said.


When asked how the bank would mark its 170th birthday, Scully said there would be “subtle” celebrations. “We’re not big on tooting our own horn on things,” he noted, adding that there would be themed events in the fall celebrating its 170th birthday and the staff and customers who have been a part of the bank’s legacy. Rather than celebrate with lots of hoopla, the bank is far more focused on continuing — and building upon — its strong track record. “It’s a significant milestone that you can’t take lightly,” he said. “For all of us who are associated with the organization, we are given the challenge — and opportunity — to maintain a legacy: a legacy of supporting those in need and helping customers achieve their financial goals and dreams, whatever they may be. And that’s what is being celebrated as this institution turns 170.”


It was early 1984, and 24-year-old entrepreneur John Gormally had an observation, then a question, and, eventually, the ultimate answer.

The observation was that most urban areas and regions had journals covering the local business community. The question was, in essence, ‘why doesn’t Western Massachusetts have one?’

The answer came in two parts — Gormally’s conclusion that the region certainly needed one, and the product he launched.

It’s now called BusinessWest, but only relative old-timers will recall that it was originally known as the Western Mass. Business Journal.

Then, as now, the publication was the most trusted, most comprehensive source of information on the local business community. Its pages were filled with articles on people, businesses, trends, developments.

It’s the same today, but BusinessWest and its sister publication, Healthcare News, launched in 2000, have gone well beyond the printed word in their efforts to inform, inspire, and even entertain its audience of local decision makers.

Indeed, over the past several years, the publications have added several recognition programs. These include 40 Under Forty, created to identify rising stars across the region; Difference Makers, a program with a name that says it all; Healthcare Heroes, a program devoted to that all-important sector of the economy; and Women of Impact, which recognizes the contributions of a still often-overlooked constituency.

There have been other additions, including the annual Resource Guide, an invaluable resource for the community; daily news blogs to provide more accessibility to important information; educational seminars, including the recent Future Tense series; special publications such as Cool Stuff, focused on employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector; and much more.

BusinessWest has come a long way in 35 years, but it has never wavered from its original mission and reason for being — to meet a critical need within the four counties of Western Mass.


Whalley Computer Associates (WCA) has grown and changed tremendously since it was founded in 1979, but it remains a friendly, flexible, family-owned business that puts the customers’ needs first, said President Paul Whalley.

WCA is a technology sales and service organization that partners with customers to reduce their costs and increase their efficiency through technology, said Whalley, adding that it accomplishes this by providing unbiased presales consultation, exceptional pricing, outstanding, product preparation, delivery, deployment and maintenance services anywhere in North America.

Since the beginning, WCA has been servicing corporations and educational institutions headquarted in New England, New York, and their remote locations throughout North America, he noted. The company has extensive experience with corporations of all sizes, educational institutions from kindergarten to college, as well as local and state government.

WCA performs services for some of the largest and most prestigious companies in New England and New York including EMC, TJMAXX, Marshalls, Friendly’s, Bertucci’s, Westfield State University, Providence College, the cities of Boston, Springfield, Warwick, R.I., and nearly 3,000 other customers.

As a result of its rapid growth, Ingram Micro, the largest distributor of technology products in the world, recognized WCA as one of their fastest growing ‘solution providers’ in the industry. WCA is also one of the largest Lenovo, Dell, Aruba, and HP solution providers in the Northeast.

Today, WCA’s corporate office is located in our new 62,500-square-foot state-of-the-art office building located at One Whalley Way in Southwick. WCA employs more than 140 computer professionals at its two business locations, serving a customer base of more than 30,000 customers. They provide hardware, software, programming, technical, networking, and training services.

WCA remains a family-owned business completely focused on providing the best service available anywhere in the United States.
As its celebrates its 40th anniversary, one thing that will not change moving forward, said Whalley, is its commitment to customer satisfaction and ability to provide the best technology products and services in the region.


bankESB is marking its 150th birthday this year, and there is much to celebrate, especially a century and a half of being a true hometown bank.

“For all of those years, the bank has been dedicated to providing its customers with a wide range of innovative products and services,” said Dena Hall, bankESB Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Today, bankESB is a one-stop shop for individual and commercial banking and financial services. The bank has been growing and expanding to better serve customers, including recently adding three commercial bankers, and increasing its staff in human resources, cash management, and mortgage services. Customers looking to buy a home or refinance have the option of applying for a loan either in-person with a mortgage professional or online.”

With the opening of a branch on Sargeant Street in Holyoke, bankESB has 11 branches throughout the Valley. Besides Easthampton, where it has two locations, branches are also located in Agawam, Belchertown, Hadley, South Hadley, Southampton, Westfield, and two in Northampton. And a 12th branch is scheduled to open in Amherst in 2020.

In short, the bank has grown and evolved over the years, but it remains true to the charter on which it was launched.

Indeed, a mutual bank, bankESB’s mission is to remain loyal to its customers, employees and the communities it serves, not stockholders, said Hall, adding that the bank’s mission is reflected in its values of charitable giving and volunteerism. From large organizations like Cooley Dickinson Hospital to local

Little League teams, the Easthampton Saving’s Bank Charitable Foundation has donated close to $2 million over the past five years.

Recent contributions to local nonprofits include the Hampshire Regional YMCA’s Renew and Restore Project, Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Big Enough Initiative, and Northampton Survival Center’s “Partners in Doing Good Business” program.

bankESB employees can also be found volunteering their time for a myriad of charitable projects and events throughout the Pioneer Valley, so much so that the Boston Business Journal recently ranked the bank as a “Top Corporate Charitable Volunteer” in Massachusetts.

“It’s important for us to be that community partner,” said Hall. “We’re focused on how we serve our customers, how we serve our communities, and how we treat our employees.”

These efforts have culminated in Forbes Magazine naming bankESB to its 2019 Best n-State Bank list, two years in a row.

“This recognition is particularly special because we live and work by a set of core values, so I’m proud to say this award really goes to our employees,” said Matthew Sosik, President & CEO of bankESB and CEO of Hometown Financial Group, the bank’s parent company. “The commitment they bring to their job each day and the service they provide to our customers and communities is what sets us apart from other banks.”

As Hall and Sosik noted, as bankESB marks its sesquicentennial, there is plenty to celebrate.