JOHN CARUSONE – ‘A handsome moniker’

A new alliance has been formed in Connecticut’s banking landscape, and three merging banks have changed their names in order to highlight the spirit of their agreement.

In filings made with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Connecticut Department of Banking on Wednesday in connection with New Haven Savings Bank’s proposed acquisitions of Connecticut Bancshares and Alliance Bancorp of New England, it was disclosed that the combined bank plans to operate under a new holding company name – NewAlliance Bancshares – and will do business as NewAlliance Bank.

Connecticut Bancshares is the holding company for Savings Bank of Manchester and Alliance Bancorp of New England is the holding company for Tolland Bank.

A logo for the new bank has not yet been unveiled, and no additional details regarding the bank’s branding plans have been disclosed.

At the completion of the proposed transactions, NewAlliance Bank will be the second-largest savings bank, and the fifth-largest bank, in Connecticut. It will have 73 branches, $5.3 billion in assets, $3.8 billion in deposits and equity of approximately $460 million.

‘A Strong Heritage’

“Our new name represents a ‘New Alliance’ between three like-minded banks – but even more important, it alludes to the new, stronger alliances we will be forging with our customers and the communities we serve,” said Peyton R. Patterson, New Haven Savings Bank’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“This will be a $5.5 billion bank. It’ll have a commanding market share of Hartford County and New Haven County. They’re going to have sufficient size, scale and image, and with this new moniker they’ll have name recognition,” said John Carusone, president of Bank Analysis Center in Hartford. “I think New Alliance is a handsome moniker and well conceived.”

Patterson explained that NewAlliance Bank’s commitment will not only be to understand customers’ immediate needs, but also their long-term goals, and to help them achieve those goals by providing “great” financial products, trusted advice and the most personalized banking experience possible.

“Whether you are an individual or a complex, growing business, dealing with your bank should be a positive experience,” she said. “Your bank should know who you are, what you do, and how it can help you. That is our commitment to every one of our customers, large and small.”

According to statements from the bank, by combining resources, New Haven Savings Bank, Savings Bank of Manchester and Tolland Bank will be in a position to extend to their customers a significantly wider network of branches, a broader range of products and services, and more choices about where, when and how to access the new bank’s services. And for locally based businesses, NewAlliance Bank will seek to be the best banking choice available, offering a comprehensive range of commercial products and financing options with the highest levels of personal service.

Additionally, NewAlliance Bank will be equally committed to the health and growth of the communities it serves.

“Each of these banks comes to this partnership with a strong heritage of community involvement and support,” said Patterson. “We will intensify this commitment, not only financially, but also through our personal involvement in civic and community causes.”

“I think it’s important that the name be sufficiently neutral so that potential customers can view it as an institution with an extensive geographic reach,” said Carusone. “I think that name has the ability to play well within the Nutmeg State as well as beyond. It intimates or implies the formation of a banking consortium that will have an appeal to institutions out of state, which may want to keep their own for reasons of name recognition.”

Carusone explained that because of the bank’s size of approximately $5.5 billion holdings, it will have sufficient equity firepower to make out-of-state acquisitions.

“That name will doubtlessly have the ability to play well outside of the state,” he said. “You can be East Horseshoe Bank and Trust from East Horseshoe, Maine, and be a newly owned subsidiary of New Alliance Bancshares. The name is fairly generic and has appeal that it’s a willing grouping of institutions for a common purpose.”

A bank looking to expand beyond its geographic boundaries may fare better with a more generic, non-geographic name, said Carusone. By maintaining a name like New Haven Savings, the bank would “require an additional layer of explanation that could get in the way of executing strategy and could become the focus of diversion of attention. It would problematic from standpoint of advertising, public relations and client relations,” he said.

‘Generic Appeal’

Typically institutions hire specialized firms to help create names and images. In this case, the name is a derivative of New Haven Savings and Alliance Bancorp of New England, and Connecticut Bancshares, with all three holding companies retaining some piece of their original name.

“I notice that the New England has been dropped from the name, which may imply expansion into Eastern New York and New Jersey,” said Carusone. “But I think this name has sufficient generic appeal and contemporary flavor so it eliminates any hesitations that may have otherwise occurred.”

NHSB previously announced that it shall be funding a new community foundation with $30 million in conversion stock, which would immediately make it one of the largest private foundations serving the Greater New Haven area. NewAlliance Bank’s headquarters will be located in New Haven.

Savings Bank of Manchester is a state-chartered savings bank based in Manchester with 28 branches and $2.6 billion in assets. Tolland Bank, also a state-chartered savings bank, is based in Tolland with nine branches and $420.8 million in assets. New Haven Savings Bank is a state-chartered savings bank serving the Greater New Haven area with 36 branches and $2.4 billion in assets.

The acquisitions improve New Haven Savings Bank’s Connecticut market position from eighth to fifth, increasing its deposit market share from 2.8 percent to 5.9 percent. The acquisitions move New Haven Savings into Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties. New Haven Savings will enter Tolland County with a commanding No. 1 share, with over 37 percent of the deposits. New Haven Savings Bank also moves into fifth position in Hartford County, with a nearly 7 percent share of deposits, and 10th position in Windham County, with 2.7 percent of the market.

Founded in 1838, New Haven Savings Bank is currently ranked first in market share among banks doing business in the Greater New Haven area, and offers a range of personal and business banking products and services.

The proposed merger of Connecticut Bancshares and New Haven Savings will be submitted to the shareholders of Connecticut Bancshares for their consideration. Likewise, the proposed merger of Alliance Bancorp of New England and New Haven Savings will be submitted to Alliance Bancorp’s shareholders for the same reason. New Haven Savings Bank, Connecticut Bancshares and Alliance Bancorp of New England will file a registration statement, proxy statements and other relevant documents concerning the transactions with the Securities and Exchange Commission.