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Chelsea Groton Bank Marks a Year of Embracing Change, Adapting, and Thriving

At its best during the hardest of times, Chelsea Groton Bank marks a year of embracing change, adapting, and thriving. Chelsea Groton Bank reported impressive financial, educational, technical and community-based accomplishments at its 167th Annual Meeting at the Mystic Marriott on Monday, April 11, 2022.

President and CEO Michael Rauh presented the Bank’s 2021 results to Bank officers, Board members and Corporators.

“When I think about 2021 in retrospect,” Rauh said, “successfully adapting to change sums up the incredible year that we had. Some of the changes were short term, dealing with the constantly shifting sands of the COVID pandemic. Others were an acceleration of changes that have been brewing for years, even decades, suddenly becoming more acute as the epidemic forced changes in the behavior and priorities of our customers and communities.

“Our ability to embrace change was responsible for our success. Where it was possible and acceptable, we conducted business live and in-person. And where it wasn’t, our early and deep adoption of various video technologies allowed us to accomplish great things, even when we were physically separated from our customers and our teammates.”

2021 saw the Bank offer even more tools and resources to help guide its customers through these unprecedented times, with curbside concierge and hands-on training to help customers get the most out of Chelsea Groton’s Video Banking ATMs. In fact, with the addition of five new Video Banking ATMs in 2021, there are now over 10 Video Banking ATMs across the Bank’s footprint, with more locations slated for 2022.

The complete – and quick – reinvention of the Bank’s Westside Branch was another 2021 success, allowing customers and bankers to work one-on-one in a modern environment of learning and collaboration. 

The Bank’s continued focus on personal digital options that help customers bank when, where and how they want, also led to the development and launch of Chelsea Chat, and the transition of CGB Debit Cards to Contactless Cards.

Through the Chelsea University community education program, 236 classes were offered to community members of all ages, some live from reinvented branch spaces, but almost all offered virtually as well. Topics ranged from a spring and fall Small Business Series to Digital Marketing classes and subjects for individuals like Budgeting, Credit Repair, Transitioning Students Back to In-Person Learning and even Online Cooking Classes.

“I am proud of the incredible team we have here and the tremendous work they do,” Rauh continued. “They have been ‘economic first-responders’ never missing a beat during this long and challenging pandemic. Our mission is to help those we serve achieve their goals, and to take them on as if they were our own. I have seen that mission at work each day – and in the hearts and minds of my teammates – and I thank them for everything they do.”

For the sixth consecutive year, Chelsea Groton proudly accepted the honor of being named a “Top Workplace in CT” by The Hartford Courant. 

A critical area of focus for team members this year was the development and launch of the ONE CHELSEA initiative, which highlights the strength of the Bank’s continuous commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and its focus on ensuring an ongoing sense of belonging for team members, customers, vendor partners, and all members of the community.

The Bank’s Grow, Launch, Lead Leadership Program introduced Pathways, which invites all team members to customize a mentorship program in order to gain experience in areas of interest and support them on their professional development journey.

Throughout the year, Team Chelsea participated in virtual water coolers, employee appreciation days, a Purple Palette painting activity to represent diversity at work, CFIT team walking challenges and personal challenges related to physical, financial and mental wellness, ice cream socials and all sorts of fundraisers for area non-profits.

This year, CGB and its Chelsea Groton Foundation together gave over $600,000 to organizations throughout the community, with an additional $22,000 given to the local organizations of each employee’s choosing through the Bank’s Acts of Kindness initiative.

Chelsea Groton also hosted collection drives at each of its branches to support various non-profits throughout the holiday season, and adopted 16 local families to provide them with a holiday season they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

As of December 31, 2021, the Bank’s total assets increased to $1.59 billion. Net operating income decreased from $13,095,912 to $11,782,520 and the year saw an increase in capital to $219.4 million.

On the commercial side, Chelsea Groton saw a 180% increase in adoption of its Cash Management services. The Bank’s commercial loan portfolio amounted to $255 million. Overall loan production totaled $74.3 million, and business deposits grew by $86.3 million.

The Chelsea Groton Financial Services team saw a 10% growth in assets under management, handling over 1200 video and phone consultations with its clients throughout the year.

In 2021, Chelsea Groton was the number one Connecticut-based real estate lender in Eastern Connecticut, providing more residential financing than any bank, credit union or broker in the region. Overall, the bank handled $204 million in new consumer loans and mortgages, including 672 first mortgage loans as well as 190 home equity loans and lines of credit. 

“In 2021, we celebrated our 167th birthday,” CEO Rauh continued. “Those of us who have the honor of working here today stand on the shoulders of the many men and women who have helped steer the Bank through the changes of their times. Through wars and natural disasters, through economic booms and busts, Chelsea Groton has stood the test of time. In many respects, we are at our best for our customers and communities during the hardest of times.”

At the 167th Annual Meeting, Bank officials also announced the appointment of five new Corporators:

Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Rodney was the 2019 Recipient of the Citizen of the Year award by the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce, and in 2017 was appointed Tribal Leader of the Year by the Native American Finance Officers Association. A resident of North Stonington, Rodney served as past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the United Way of Southeastern CT, and currently serves on boards for the Mystic Aquarium, Roger Williams University and the National Indian Gaming Association.

Tracy Espy, President of Mitchell CollegeTracy earned a Bachelor’s degree from Berea College, her Master’s in Family Studies from Miami University (Ohio), and her Ph.D. in Child/Family Marriage and Family Therapy from Syracuse University. Tracy was the 2019 recipient of the National Zenobia L. Hikes Faculty Women of Color Award at Virginia Tech. A resident of New London, she currently serves on boards for the Lyman Allyn Museum and the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges.

Dina Sears-Graves, President & CEO of United Way of Southeastern ConnecticutDina Graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Relations, and earned a Master’s degree in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College. Previous Vice President of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut overseeing $2.4 million fund distribution, in 2016, Dina was accepted into the Advanced Leadership Program at United Way Worldwide. Dina resides in Norwich and serves on the Board of Corporators for Norwich Free Academy and Board of Directors for End Hunger CT!

Kathleen Stauffer, Chief Executive Officer at The Arc Eastern Connecticut. A graduate of Point Park University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Communication, Kathleen graduated from University of New Haven with an MPA degree. Kathleen has served as Member and Past-president of the Norwich Rotary Club as well as co-chair of SCCOG Health & Human Services Coordinating Council. A resident of Mystic, Kathleen is the author of The 11 Secrets of Nonprofit Excellence (contract pending).

Adam Young, Owner, Sift Bake Shop. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute with a degree in Culinary Arts, Adam was the 2018 Winner of Food Network’s Best Baker in America and the 2019 Winner of Connecticut Restaurant Association’s Pastry Chef of the Year. A cookbook author residing in Pawcatuck, Adam has also served as a Food Network Judge and was featured in Connecticut’s Top 40 Under 40.

 Chelsea Groton 2021 Annual Report video and financials.