Savings Bank of Manchester Records
Scope and Content
The collection contains the official records of the Savings Bank of Manchester divided into five series: Administrative, Financial, Advertising/Public Relations, Photographs, and Multimedia.
The Administrative records contain the full run of meeting minutes from the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee (established in 1949) until 1995, providing a glimpse into the manner of executive decision-making at SBM as it evolved throughout the twentieth century. The collection contains complete sets of Annual Meeting files from 1969-1995 and Government Examinations, both state and federal, from 1969-1985. Worthy of note in the Human Resources subseries is a collection of Job Descriptions, mostly from the late 1990s, providing insights into job nomenclature, job requirements, and human resources practices at the end of the twentieth century. The Administrative record series does not include corrrespondence or records of SBM presidents, officers or executives, with the exception of those materials pertaining to Public Relations (see Series III).
The Financial series allows researchers to trace the evolving financial condition of the Savings Bank of Manchester from its founding in 1905 until records cease in 1995. Ledgers document bank finances until 1955, after which Directors Reports and Statements of Condition provide quarterly information until 1995. Also of interest are the stock records from the Home Bank & Trust Co., whose Savings Department was purchased by SBM in 1932. A book of stock certificates and another containing shareholder records span the years from 1929 to 1934.
The Advertising/Public Relations records are perhaps the strongest portion of the collection. While there are few newspaper advertisements in the collection from before 1968 (the few that do exist are housed under "Historical" in this series), the seven large scrapbooks kept from 1968 to 1983 seem to contain most of SBM's ads and bank-related news articles from that period. However, another void exists in the advertising collection from 1984 until 1994, when documentation of newspaper ads resumes, at least partially documenting SBM advertisements through 2003. These ads are filed by year and month. The Public Relations records contain a strong series of correspondence for the mid-1990s, including requests for SBM donations and the responses from SBM. The records contain a small amount of the correspondence of Donna Cammeyer, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations, from the same period. Also of note in Series III is a collection of SBM signage, containing both lobby signs and a few outdoor banners, mostly apparently from the 1990s.
The Multimedia portion of the collection contains audio, video, beta, C.D., and other tapes containing mostly audio and video of commercial footage. The bulk of the materials seem to be radio and television commercials from the 1990s.
The Photographs series is comprised of black-and-white employee portraits, many of which were used in newspaper ads, as well as "photo-opportunity" type pictures, albums with SBM event photographs from the 1980s-ca. 2000, and several older photographs of the Bank's various branch offices and employees. Unfortunately, few photographs documenting SBM in the first half of the twentieth century exist in the collection.
- undated, 1839, 1905-2004
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from both the University of Connecticut Libraries and the owner(s) of the copyright.
The first official meeting of the Corporators of the Savings Bank of Manchester (SBM) took place on 11 May 1905 at the Odd Fellows Hall in Manchester, Connecticut, where they accepted the charter, adopted by-laws, and elected officers. The first President chosen to lead the Bank was Frank Cheney, Jr., of the family that owned the prosperous Cheney Brothers Silk Mills in Manchester. At a final planning meeting of the Directors on June 5th, it was decided that the bank would open for business on June 26th, sharing space in the "Old Keith Building" with the Manchester Trust and Deposit Company. This "Trust Company," also incorporated in 1905, was apparently the parent organization of SBM during the first years and was appropriated as a depository for SBM funds. Whether SBM and the Manchester Trust Company were ever legally connected as institutions is unclear -- a newspaper ad shared by the banks in 1923 described them as "two institutions occupying the same building." It is clear, however, that the two institutions specialized in different niches of banking -- the Manchester Trust Co. dealt primarily in business accounts and safe deposits, while SBM was "a purely mutual savings bank." SBM also paid five dollars per month to the Trust Company for rent and clerical services. By the end of 1905, SBM held 411 accounts for total deposits of $57,375.
In 1906, the Trust Company and SBM moved together to a second location, "Old Bowers Block" in Manchester. The two banks almost consolidated when a merger was proposed in June 1920, but the merger never occurred. In 1921, the two institutions moved together yet again to 923 Main Street in Manchester, where SBM headquarters would remain for eighty-three years, until the company's merger with NewAlliance Bank in 2004.
During the tough economic years of the Great Depression, SBM seems to have experienced significant growth, despite a drop in its assets from over $7 million in 1930 to under $6 million in 1935. First, SBM took over the Savings Department of the struggling Home Bank & Trust Company of Manchester in 1932. At the same time, the Manchester Trust Company bought out the commercial division of Home Bank & Trust Co. -- an acquisition that contributed to the eventual failure of Manchester Trust Company and the emergence of SBM as the stronger bank. Symbolic of this change was the fact that in 1932, SBM purchased the 923 Main Street office from the Trust Company. SBM also adjusted its operations during the economic depression, acquiring a high amount of property through foreclosure and quitclaim procedures, and thus having to manage, maintain, and dispose of a large number of properties. In 1929, at the first signs of financial crisis, the Board of Directors had granted authority to the President and Treasurer to take actions that could not await Board approval and, a few years later, Board meetings were increased from once to twice per month to enable quicker financial decisions. To offer security to its customers, SBM joined the Mortgage Liquidity Fund for Mutual Savings Banks in 1933 to protect its depositors during the economic crisis. Customers at SBM never earned less than 2% interest on their deposits during the Great Depression.
In 1941, a building addition was constructed at the rear of the 923 Main Street office to expand operations, and SBM ended its affiliation with the weaker Manchester Trust Company, which remained as a tenant in the SBM building. On December 9th of the same year, just two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Treasurer recorded a subscription of $600,000 to government war bonds.
The 1950s were a time of exceptional change and growth for SBM. In 1949, because of the increasing complexity of operations, the Board appointed a committee of six Directors who would meet for "Monday Meetings" in order to make decisions between Board of Directors meetings. This group would evolve into the "Executive Committee" of the Board during the early 1950s, and would become an important decision-making body that would continue to exist until the Bank's merger five decades later. This change in management was part of a general trend at SBM, when Directors and Corporators became more active in management and freed upper-level executives to spend more time on bank policy and government relations. Several other permanent committees were established during the 1950s in order to streamline decision making, including the By-Laws, Real Estate, Personnel, Public Relations, and Pension Committees. The SBM building also expanded in the 1950s. When the Manchester Trust Company moved out of the 923 Main Street Building in 1951, SBM began an extensive three-year renovation project. This included the removal of the wire partitions that had previously existed between bank tellers and customers, as well as the installation of safe-deposit boxes. Several other new services were first offered in 1954, including Savings Bank Life Insurance, Travelers' Checks, and Home-Improvement Loans. As these changes occurred, Frank Cheney, Jr., who had been the President of SBM since its establishment, retired in 1954 at the age of ninety-four after fifty years of service. R. LaMotte Russell, former long-time Treasurer, succeeded Cheney as President, serving until 1957.
At the bank's fiftieth anniversary in 1955, it could claim almost $25 million in assets. During May in the same year, SBM opened its first branch office, the "East office," on East Center Street in Manchester. The second branch office, the "West office," was opened in 1958 on West Middle Turnpike in Manchester. At the same time, SBM withdrew from the Connecticut Mutual Savings Bank Guaranty Fund and joined the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (F.D.I.C.).
SBM instituted new technology in their offices during the 1960s. In 1961, the bank installed IBM computer systems to process customer accounts. Three years later, security cameras were installed in all three SBM offices. Also of note was the opening of the first SBM branch not located in Manchester. In 1965, the South Windsor branch opened to the public on Sullivan Avenue, and an Advisory Board was created that year to facilitate communications with the new office. Also in 1965, the Board of Directors first invited corporators of the Bank to participate in Board meetings in order to better familiarize them with bank operations. In 1966, SBM launched yet another branch office in East Hartford, on Burnside Avenue.
In 1972, SBM undertook another renovation of the 923 Main Street office in Manchester, including a new arched doorway and windows, an automatic door, a complete remodeling of office space and meeting rooms on all three floors, and an elevator at the rear entrance. Soon after, the Main Street office added drive-through and walk-up service in the back of the building. In 1976, as the nation celebrated its 200th birthday, the bank also celebrated as it reached the $200 million mark in total assets. The same year, due to great demand for the newly-offered personal checking account, as well as the need for additional computer space, the Accounting/Computer Center moved to a new location near the 923 Main Street office. SBM had also recently added three new branch offices in Manchester, including the Hartford Road office (1969), the North End office, and the Spencer Street branch (1974). Other branches opening in the late 1960s and 1970s included the East Hartford office, Bolton (1968), Andover (1974), Ashford (1976), and Burr Corners (1979).
During the 1980s, SBM expanded its operations significantly and, with the help of government deregulation, offered its customers a much broader range of financial services. In 1980, SBM launched the "Express Bank," a recreational vehicle that had been converted into a mobile bank, which included a permanent walk-up counter inside. The Express bank was stationed alternatively at three small towns, each for two days per week, including Eastford, Scotland, and Sprague. This transportable bank was welcomed with a flurry of media coverage, as it was apparently the second of its kind in the United States. In September of the same year, SBM revealed "Conni," an Automated Teller Machine that could serve customers twenty-four hours per day, at three of its Manchester offices. Also in 1980, because of the tough economy, SBM offered for the first time a "variable rate" mortgage to its customers in an attempt to encourage home buying. Deregulation also allowed SBM to offer money market accounts, Certificates of Deposit, and IRAs, as well as new financial services to businesses, including an interest-bearing "Bottom Line" checking account that was introduced in 1984. SBM assets grew quickly as its operations expanded, and by 1986, total assets for SBM had reached the $500,000,000 mark.
In 1985, SBM adopted a new logo, the red "SBM" diamond that became widely recognizable in eastern Connecticut until the merger in 2004. This change was coupled with further expansion as SBM opened a branch office in Mansfield and announced plans for branches in Tolland and Glastonbury. Five years later, in 1990, SBM would open its 20th office (Dayville).
Technology also enabled advances in SBM's operations during the 1980s and 1990s, as a new INVEST center was opened in 1985 near the Manchester headquarters, at which customers could recieve individual investment counseling and execute personal investment transactions. In 1988, a new computer system was installed at SBM offices which increased the speed of information retrieval and reduced waiting time for customers. The following year, SBM's "Conni" ATM machines joined the YANKEE 24 network, allowing SBM customers ATM access at over 3,500 locations throughout New England. In 1998, SBM embraced the Internet by offering "On-line Banking" to its customers and, two years later, the bank launched " NETSHOP@SBM," a program allowing customers to shop online with several merchants through the SBM website.
In 1996, responding to an "increasingly competitive marketplace," SBM corporators voted to convert SBM from a mutual savings to a stock savings bank, owned by a mutual holding company. In 2000, SBM went a step further to convert to a stock savings bank, going public with the company. Wishing to maintain its tradition of being a community-oriented bank, SBM formed the SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc., which was funded initially by about 8 percent of the outstanding shares of Connecticut Bancshares stock. The Foundation pledged to contribute 5 percent of assets annually to worthy causes in the SBM market area. In 2001, SBM acquired the former First Federal Savings & Loan Association of East Hartford. By 2002, SBM possessed twenty-eight branches in twenty-two communities, with assets totaling $2.4 billion.
In the summer of 2003, the SBM Board of Directors agreed to a merger with New Haven Savings Bank, a long-time Connecticut mutual savings bank serving the southern Connecticut market. New Haven Savings Bank at the same time acquired Tolland Bank, and converted to a stock-ownership bank. The resulting conglomerate, including a bank system of 70 branch offices, was renamed NewAlliance Bank. The SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc. continued to operate independently for the SBM market area. The NewAlliance Bank merger and conversion process was officially completed in September 2004.
- Charter established for "The Trust Company"
- List of incorporators revised on charter
- Charter extended
- Charter extended
- May 11 - First meeting of Bank founders at Odd Fellows Hall, Oak Hall Building
- June 5 - First meeting of Directors in Watkins Brothers furniture store (at School & Main Streets)
- June 26 - SBM opens for business as a mutual savings bank, occupying the "Old Keith Building" in Manchester, using extra space in the quarters of affiliated Manchester Trust Company (a depository for the funds of the Bank)
- The Trust Company & SBM move to second location, on "Old Bowers Block" in Manchester
- SBM, with The Trust Company, moves into 923 Main Street, Manchester office
- As economic depression sets in, the Board of Directors vested the President and Treasurer the authority to take actions when necessary without Board approval
- SBM takes over the Savings Department of The Home Bank & Trust Company, while Manchester Trust Company takes over Home Bank & Trust's commercial business (contributing to eventual failure of Manchester Trust Company)
- SBM purchases building from The Manchester Trust Company
- Building addition added to the rear of 923 Main Street office
- SBM ends affiliation with Manchester Trust Company; MTC remains tenant in SBM building
- Management structure includes new Junior officers
- "Executive Committee" of five from Board of Directors created for investment & policy, meeting weekly and granted powers to act on Board's behalf between meetings. Other committees created in By-Laws, including Real Estate, Personnel, Public Relations, Pension Committee, to streamline decision-making
- Manchester Trust Co. moves out of 923 Main St. SBM renovates office, including removal of wire partitions between tellers and public
- July - Frank Cheney, Jr. resigns as President after almost fifty years in that position. Succeeded by R. LaMotte Russell, formerly Treasurer
- Savings Bank Life Insurance, safety deposit boxes, Travelers' Checks, and Home Improvement loans all made available to customers
- At 50th anniversary, Bank claims over $24,000,000 in assets
- First branch office, "East", opens on East Center Street in Manchester
- Lynwood K. Elmore elected President of Bank
- Second branch office, "West", opens on West Middle Turnpike in Manchester
- SBM withdraws from Connecticut Mutual Savings Bank Guaranty Fund and joins Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (F.D.I.C.)
- IBM computers installed for accounts
- Everett J. Livesey elected President of Bank
- Security cameras installed in all offices
- South Windsor branch office opens on Sullivan Avenue
- Corporators first invited to participate in Board meetings to increase familiarity with bank operations
- East Hartford branch office opens on Burnside Avenue
- Another renovation of 923 Main Street office in Manchester, including new arched doorway and windows, an automatic door, complete remodeling of interior of all three floors, and an elevator at rear entrance
- William R. Johnson elected President of Bank
- SBM offers personal checking accounts
- Due to great demand for personal checking and the need for computer space, accounting/computer center moves to new location near 923 Main Street office
- Burr Corners Shopping Plaza branch opens
- SBM launches the "Express Bank," a recreational vehicle that has been converted to a mobile bank, serving three small towns, including Eastford, Scotland, and Sprague
- In September, SBM launches "Conni," an Automated Teller Machine, at three Manchester branch offices
- For the first time, SBM offers "variable rate" mortgages in order to encourage home buying during difficult economic times
- Grand opening of the SBM Loan Center at 913 Main Street, Manchester, neighboring SBM headquarters
- "Bottom Line" checking account offered for businesses
- SBM adopts new logo, the red diamond that becomes widely recognizable in eastern Connecticut until the merger in 2004
- Opening of Mansfield branch, and announcement that SBM will open branches in Tolland and Glastonbury
- Opening of the INVEST center at headquarter office, 923 Main Street, Manchester, where customers are offered personal investment services
- By the end of the year, SBM total assets reach the $500,000,000 mark
- A new computer system is installed, speeding up information retrieval and reducing waiting times for customers
- "Conni" ATM system joins the YANKEE 24 network, allowing SBM customers ATM access at over 3,500 locations in New England
- SBM opens its 20th branch office (Dayville)
- In response to an "increasingly competitive marketplace," SBM corporators vote to convert SBM from a mutual savings to a stock savings bank owned by a mutual holding company
- SBM becomes a stock savings bank, offering shares to depositors and employees and stocks in the Initial Public Offering of the company, "Connecticut Bancshares, Inc," is oversubscribed
- Bank forms the SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc. funded initially by about 8 percent of the outstanding shares of Connecticut Bancshares stock. Foundation pledges to contribute 5 percent of assets annually to worthy causes in the SBM market area
- SBM acquires former First Federal Savings & Loan Association of East Hartford
- SBM Board of Directors agrees to a merger with New Haven Savings Bank, a long-time Connecticut mutual savings bank serving the southern Connecticut market. New Haven Savings Bank also acquires Tolland Bank, and converts to a stock-owned bank, and renames the new bank system of 70 branches NewAlliance Bank. SBM Charitable Foundation continues to operate independently for SBM market area
- September - NewAlliance Bank acquisitions/mergers/conversions officially completed
76.65 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Savings Bank of Manchester was founded in 1905 as a mutual savings bank, owned by and serving its depositors in the Manchester, Connecticut, community. SBM existed for 99 years, opening a total of 28 branch offices in the eastern half of Connecticut. In 2004, SBM merged with New Haven Savings Bank to become part of NewAlliance Bank. The collection, the bulk of which ranges from 1905 to 2003, contains administrative and financial records, including the original ledgers and account books, as well as a rich collection of advertisements, public relations records, photographs, and audio/video of commercials.
The collection consists of five series: Administrative, Financial, Advertising/Public Relations, Multimedia and Photographs.
Series I: Administrative Records (1905-2003) date back to the Bank's founding in 1905, and include the minutes and records of the Board of Directors (1905-1997) and the Executive Committee (1949-1997), the earliest of which are in old ledgers. Note that one ledger, from the Home Bank & Trust Company (1920-1927) is from the Savings Department of that bank before it was bought by SBM. Also included in the Administrative series are the Annual Meeting Files (1969-1970, 1977-1995) and records of several other committees, including Audit Committee (1955-1994), Joint Advisory Board (1966-1995), Bank Services and Operations Committee (1970-1989), Commercial Loan Department records (1988-1993), and Pension and Retirement Committee records (1959-1990), among several others. The Administrative series also houses U.S. and State of Connecticut bank examination records (1969-1985) and a few other legal documents, as well as some scattered records from Human Resources (1973-2003).
Series II: Financial Records (1905-1995) contains the original SBM "Accounts Journal" (1905-1913) and "General Ledger" (1905-1915), as well as other general ledgers recording transactions until 1955. After 1955, financial statements were typed and filed under three different names, Directors' Reports (1958-1960, 1962-1963), Directors Loan Approvals (1955-1970), and Statements of Condition (1971-1995). Also contained in the Financial series are the Shareholders Ledger (1920-1934) and the Stock Share Certificate book (1920-1929) from the Home Bank & Trust Co., purchased by SBM in 1932.
Series III: Advertising and Public Relations Records (1968-2004) is extensive, including seven large advertising scrapbooks with SBM ads and bank-related articles (1968-1983). There is a gap in this portion of the collection from 1984-1993. Photocopies of a large number of SBM newspaper ads, as well as some sponsorship ads in programs, playbills, and other similar publications, are filed in the collection for 1994-2003. It should also be noted that the few pre-1968 advertisements found in the collection have been filed under "historical" in this series. Another large part of the Advertising/P.R. series are the "promotional" collections, including files with materials from specific promotions or ad campaigns, files with marketing materials from branch openings, many SBM-logo promotional give-away items, and other ephemeral promotional items and records. Public Relations files include several large folders of donation records (including requests for funds, copies of disbursed checks, or denials for requests), as well as correspondence, a few SBM historical items including an SBM history (1976), a few press releases, and plaques of recognition. Finally, the Advertising/P.R. series contains many oversized SBM lobby signs, banners, and a few large framed SBM photographs from bank offices.
Series IV: Multimedia materials (ca.1980-2004, bulk 1990-2004) contains audio, video, beta, C.D., and other tapes containing mostly audio and video of commercial footage.
Series V: Photographs (1960s-2000s) is comprised of black-and-white employee portraits, "photo-opportunity" type pictures, albums with SBM event photographs, and several older photographs of the bank's various branch offices and employees.
The collection was donated to Archives & Special Collections in 2004.
The following materials have been separated from the collection and cataloged:
Richard Urban. Connecticut: Chartered for Progress. Dodd Call No. D1688 (2 copies)
Weldon Welfling. Mutaul Savings Banks; the evolution of a financial intermediary. Dodd Call No. A5093
Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P. Prospectus: Connecticut Bancshares, Inc. Dodd Call No.
Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P. Prospectus Sumplement. Dodd Call No.
Financial Women International. 1995 Professional Network--Membership Directory. Dodd Call No.
Savings Bank of Manchester. "Pulling Together". Dodd Call No.
Savings Bank of Manchester. "Between Friends". Dodd Call No.
Savings Bank of Manchester. "Savings Bank Country News". Dodd Call No.
Savings Bank of Manchester. "The News". Dodd Call No.
Savings Bank of Manchester. "Savings Bank of Manchester Newsletter". Dodd Call No.
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- Savings Bank of Manchester Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2004 August
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- This finding aid was prepared with generous support from the SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc.
Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository
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