Location matters. And once again, Stamford is benefitting from that incontrovertible axiom.
When Webster Bank, with deep roots in Waterbury, reached a merger agreement this past week with New York-based Sterling Bancorp, the announcement included plans to establish the headquarters of the newly combined organization in Stamford.
Sterling National Bank has a network of over 70 full-service financial centers throughout the New York metropolitan area, including the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and Westchester County. The closed location to Fairfield County is in White Plains, N.Y.
Webster Bank has just over 130 banking centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Westchester County, after announcing the closure of 27 branches late last year, due to “increased usage of online and mobile banking.” Officials noted that 110 of those branches are in Connecticut, the state where the bank was founded in 1935. White Plains is among its New York branch locations.
Yet Stamford – minutes from the New York border and Westchester County - was where Webster and Sterling decided to land their new headquarters, at a location to be determined. The combined company will retain the Webster name, it was announced, and intends to have a “continued multi-campus presence in the greater New York City area and Waterbury, CT.”
“As Stamford continues to be the economic driver of the state both pre-pandemic, during the pandemic and now through the recovery process, the Chamber is pleased to welcome Webster Bank’s new corporate headquarters to the City,” Heather Cavanagh, President & CEO of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce, told CT by the Numbers.
Webster Bank was founded by Harold Webster Smith in 1935 as the First Federal Savings and Loan of Waterbury. His son, James C. Smith, retired as CEO in 2017. Webster currently has two branch locations in Stamford, which is at the midpoint of the combined company, Alice Ferreira, senior vice president of corporate communications and public affairs at Webster Bank, explained to the Waterbury Republican-American.
"We are bringing together two high-performing organizations with strong cultural and business model alignment to create a powerhouse Northeast bank," said John R. Ciulla, Chairman, President & CEO of Webster. "This combination provides exceptional financial benefits and enables us to more aggressively invest in key businesses and activities to enhance value for our customers, our communities, our shareholders and our bankers."
The merger announcement noted that the “company will have 200+ financial centers in the Northeast market. In addition, it will benefit from the ability to more aggressively grow and invest in HSA Bank, a top health savings platform nationally with 12% market share and strong growth characteristics.”
Stamford is also the U.S. headquarters for Ireland-based WellAir, also in the news in recent weeks. WellAir provides an ecosystem for healthy indoor air – certainly a realm that has gained more interest of late. The company’s portable air dis-infection units, HVAC air purification devices, sensors, and monitoring software “help buildings become energy efficient and optimized for occupant health, wellbeing, cognitive function, and productivity. “ WellAir clients include schools, hospitals, clinics, senior living facilities, office buildings, and apartments, according to officials.
WellAir announced the appointment of Kieran Hannon as Chief Marketing Officer “as the Company enters its next phase of growth.” The company noted that Hannon brings over 30 years of experience in successfully building award-winning and world class consumer experiences in the Internet of Things, mobile, digital and retail sectors.
"Kieran is a globally-recognized, creative and innovative business strategist. His expertise will be a valuable complement to our leadership team and a driving force in the expansion of the WellAir brand as we continue to advance our air cleaning and surface disinfection product portfolio globally," said Todd M. Pope, President and Chief Executive Officer at WellAir.
In 2020, Hannon was named as one of the “World’s Most Influential CMOs” by Forbes magazine.
"Indoor air quality is now more important than ever before. With 90% of our time spent indoors breathing air up to 10x more contaminated than outdoor air, the opportunity to create the de-facto industry brand is probably the highest of noble causes," said Hannon as he assumed his new position. "WellAir’s flagship product, the Novaerus Defend 1050 which recently received FDA clearance, is a prime example of the Company’s healthtech innovation. I’m thrilled to join this team to continue its impressive momentum in making the indoor world safer and cleaner."