Bank on Her



Visko Hatfield

When Peyton R. Patterson talks about what will probably go down as the defining moment of her banking career, she uses words like “torturous,” “hair-raising” and even “bloodcurdlingly scary.”

One would think that having engineered the largest initial public offering in United States banking history would be something that makes the banker smile in her sleep. But when asked about the $1.1 billion conversion of what had been a modest New Haven mutual savings bank in concert with the acquisition of banks in Manchester and Tolland three years ago, Patterson shows no signs of reverie.

Navigating the business side of the deal was daunting enough. But this venture presented other pitfalls as well. “We had protesters out here every Friday,” says Patterson, who is chairman, president and CEO of NewAlliance Bank. “I would look out the window, and it would be protesters. Your picture on posters. It was like, ‘Have I just dropped into a new planet here?’ ”

To put it mildly, the changeover was unpopular in politically charged New Haven, where residents feared the loss of what was then the New Haven Savings Bank, a community institution that dated back to the nineteenth century. In the eye of the storm was newcomer Patterson, who was portrayed as greed personified, a hired gun who came to pillage the bank. There was a depositor petition drive, bitter accusations at public hearings, even threats against her life. But what pierced Patterson most deeply was the day that her daughter Kathleen, then six years old, asked out of the blue, “Mommy, why doesn’t the mayor like you?”

That New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. was spearheading the opposition was one thing. But to think that the public rancor had somehow found its way to her child hit Patterson harder than anything her critics could muster. “That was when I said I’d had enough,” she says.

Yet she stayed the course, signed off on the merger-conversion, then set forth to conquer new ground. Under Patterson’s command, New Haven Savings Bank went from “a very nice bank,” as it dubbed itself, to a force to be reckoned with. When she took over five years ago, the bank’s assets were at $2.5 billion. This winter that number is expected to reach $8 billion. Branches, meanwhile, will have gone from thirty-six in two Connecticut counties to seventy-three in six counties around the state, with another fifteen in Massachusetts. NewAlliance ranks as Connecticut’s third largest independent bank and the sixth biggest in New England.

In reaching such heights, Patterson has presided over a string of acquisitions both in and out of the state that has won NewAlliance praise in banking circles and, more important, a widening customer base. In 2005 the bank paid $19.3 million for the Hartford–based Trust Company of Connecticut, boosting its wealth management component. That was followed by the $50 million purchase last year of Cornerstone Bancorp of Stamford, which gave NewAlliance a beachhead in lucrative Fairfield County, including a branch in Cos Cob. And last summer, the bank made the first of what may be several forays into neighboring states when it announced its intention to pay $116 million for Westbank Corporation of West Springfield, Massachusetts, a deal that was expected to be finalized last month.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Verismo - Opera Arias and Ensembles

    2014.09.26
     @ Round Hill Community Church

    Music from the Heart at Round Hill  “Verismo – Arias and Ensembles,” an opera concert, will bring drama and passion...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
     @ Richards

  • Curiosity Concerts Season Opening: SONIC ESCAPE

    2014.09.27
     @ Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium

    The Greenwich Arts Council's Curiosity Concerts opens its second season of free classical music concerts for families on Saturday, Sept. 27,...

  • Bistro Versailles Wine Dinner

    2014.09.29
     @ Bistro Versailles

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other...

  • Joie Special Shopping Event

    2014.09.30
     @ Joie

    Joie invites you to a special shopping event! Enjoy wine & hor d'oeuvres while shopping 20% off your purchase Enter to win a...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. American Red Cross: Red and White Ball 2014
    NetJets Hangar at Westchester County Airport
  2. Fashion Day Out
    September 13, 11am to 6pm
  3. Stars of Greenwich
    Meet the founders of the Greenwich International Film Festival
  4. Moroccan Nights
    Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich
  5. 5 Key Pieces To Buy Now
    Buy now and wear all season