Liberty Bank, Middletown

Paul R. McConnell, president and chief executive officer of Middletown-based Liberty Bank, has been elected chairman of the Connecticut Bankers Association for a one-year term ending November 2007.

Based in Farmington, the CBA represents state- and federally chartered commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loans, and trust companies in legislative, regulatory and general banking issues in both Connecticut and Washington, D.C. In Connecticut, the banking industry employs some 25,000 people and represents about $110 billion in assets.

“There are significant challenges facing the banking system today,” said McConnell. “I look forward to serving as a voice for the banking industry and explaining some of those issues to legislators, colleagues and the public.”

McConnell cited public concerns about privacy, the increased incidence of identity theft and the end of the real estate boom as the financial issues most strongly affecting consumers. On the industry side, he added, he sees a growing regulatory burden and the proliferation of non-bank competitors as key challenges for the near future.

McConnell came to Connecticut in 1997 as president and CEO of Liberty Bank. A veteran banker, he was previously chairman, president and CEO of Fleet Bank of Maine, a $3 billion, 90-branch subsidiary of Fleet Financial Group. He worked for Bank of Boston, first as managing director of the company’s Private Bank and Trust and Investment Management businesses, then as chairman and CEO of Bank of Boston, Florida, N.A.

From 1988 to 1990, he was president and CEO of Bank of Vermont, having previously served in a variety of positions at Bank of Boston and its subsidiaries.

COCC Staffers Elected
Three industry associations recently elected Avon-based COCC employees to leadership positions, directing the associations’ efforts to advance technology, security and quality initiatives throughout Connecticut and the nation.

“We are pleased to lend our employees’ expertise to the many valuable efforts around our state and the country,” said Richard A. Leone, president and chief executive officer at COCC.

Betsy Didan, COCC’s document processing manager, has been elected vice chairman of Metavante Image’s Client Services Committee. Metavante Image is a recognized leader in Check 21 check-image exchange solutions, serving top-tier U.S. financial institutions as well as community banks and service bureau check-processing consolidators. Didan will help guide the Metavante Image client community to further innovation during her two-year term, and assume the chairman’s position thereafter.

Didan is responsible for COCC’s entire check-processing operation, which processes 250,000 items each day, implementation of the company’s image exchange services, and development of new image processing services going forward. Didan brings years of experience with check processing, cash management operations and wholesale-lockbox work at the largest banks in New England. She currently is leading the implementation of Bridgeport-based People’s Bank’s decision to use COCC’s check-processing services.

Kelly Standridge, a member of COCC’s Internal Audit Department, has been elected to the board of the Connecticut Information Systems Security Association. The ISSA is a leading international organization dedicated to promoting the safety and security of information resources.

Standridge is a certified fraud examiner who joined COCC after attaining her master’s degree in criminal justice/forensic computer investigation.

Robert Bessel, public relations director for COCC, has been elected vice president of the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership (CQIA). The organization utilizes the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence criteria in an effort to advance innovative programs that improve quality, performance and marketplace competitiveness in organizations located in Connecticut.

Bessel is responsible for COCC’s publicity activities including press releases, advertising and liaisons with industry associations such as CQIA.