December 19, 2016
The Waterbury-based bank Webster is making moves to increase their profile as a regional bank. They will take over the leases of 14 locations in Boston and eastern Massachusetts that are currently operating as Citibank.
Citibank announced they were getting out of retail banking in the Boston market and will be closing 14 branches in eastern Massachusetts by mid-January. James Smith is the chairman and chief executive officer of Webster Financial Corp., the bank's holding company. He announced that Webster is only taking over the leases as Citibank branches close, Webster will open the following week.
Before all is said and done, Mr. Smith believes they might have as many as 17 branches due to negotiations for three more leases. Most of the locations are inside of Route 128 but further terms are not being released at this time. He strongly believes these locations are excellent choices that will generate over $1 billion deposits for Webster. He sees this as a huge opportunity for the bank.
Six of the 14 locations are situated in some of Boston's most prestigious locations including Downtown Crossing, Copley Square, and Government Center. To make the transition as easy as possible, they hope to bring in many of the bankers who are now working for Citibank. They will have people working along side of them until they learn the way they do things.
James Smith's father started Webster in 1935 in Waterbury during the Great Depression. He has firmly stated that Webster will never forget their Connecticut roots. He said Webster will never lose focus on Connecticut because their success could never have happened without this state. He knows Boston is the economic catalyst for New England and this should greatly benefit Connecticut as Webster continues its growth as a strong regional bank.
In 2009, Webster came into the Boston market opening a leading bank center in the heart of the city's Financial District. This space was originally occupied by the Boston Stock Exchange. They started off focusing on middle market commercial accounts but now have a large range of services. They work with government, institutional, and small business banking.
Webster now has 163 banking centers including the Boston branch, 16 offices in southeastern Massachusetts, and 4 in the Springfield area. They have fought long and hard to position themselves as New England's most prominent commercial bank and by occupying the Citibank branches, they are so much closer to that goal.
John Carusone, president of the Bank Analysis Center, which is a Hartford-based industry consulting firm, sees the acquisition of Citibank's leases as an excellent opportunity. He believes Webster's selective strategic initiatives have the potential to create significant long-term benefits for the bank and their shareholders.
Their success will heavily depend on their effective marketing campaigns for new loans and deposits. Webster's extensible experience in this field should lead to a very prominent position and give them enormous growth.