In the early eighteen-seventies Milford had no banking institutions of any kind. To deposit their savings, residents made use of banks in nearby cities. Recognizing the need for a bank in Milford, a group of public-spirited citizens applied to the State for a charter. An act of incorporation was passed during the 1872 session of the General Assembly and was approved by the Governor on June 26th of that year.
The first meeting of the incorporators was held in August 1872. Because of delays so frequently attendant upon the starting of a new enterprise in a small community, no active measures towards opening for business were taken until 1875. On January 18, 1875, at a meeting of the incorporators held in the Town Hall, it was decided to commence business. The bank opened shortly thereafter.
The first deposit was made by Miss Lucille A. Fowler, as Treasurer of St. Peter’s Church. Miss Fowler was a respected teacher in the Milford public schools and the daughter of Hon. John W. Fowler, the first Secretary of the bank and one of its original incorporators.
The original deposits were placed temporarily in a wooden cigar box in a safe at the store of Phineas S. Bristol, the bank’s first Treasurer. This cigar box and the original account books of Mr. Bristol have been carefully preserved by the bank and are currently on display in our Main Office Lobby.
At a meeting of the bank’s directors held December 21, 1875, after the bank had been operating nearly a year, the Treasurer reported earnings of $380.92 for the second six months’ period and a dividend of 3%. This amounted to $281.79. A surplus of $180.76 was reported, of which $97.00 was invested in an iron safe.
The bank was originally located in Mr. Bristol’s store on Broad Street westerly of the corner of Center Street. At first its sole equipment consisted of its books, an iron safe and the wooden cigar box. Later a desk was added, and then additional office equipment was purchased. Finally, after Mr. Bristol retired from business, the bank occupied the entire front room of the first floor.
The bank continued to serve depositors there until 1901, when it moved to larger quarters in the Masonic Building on Broad Street. In keeping with the growth of the bank, additional equipment was installed. The bank was located in these quarters for nearly thirty years.
In 1926, larger facilities and more modern equipment were needed to meet the demand of the bank’s increasing business. That year the first step was taken towards the fulfillment of the vision of the directors – a home for the bank. They purchased land on Broad Street, a short distance from the quarters then occupied, from James T. Patterson. This site, in the heart of downtown Milford, is considered one of the most convenient locations for a banking institution.
How far the bank has progressed since this modest beginning is shown by the following:
As of year end 2016, the bank operates six full-service locations in Milford and Stratford and a loan production office in New Haven. Total assets ended 2016 at $419,373,000 and deposits totaled $353,713,000. Our loan portfolio grew to nearly $347,000,000, an increase of almost $18 million year over year. The Bank was profitable, earning over $1,000,000, an increase of over 30% from 2015. Capital stood at $43,785,000 or 11.21% of average assets. We retain the highest regulatory capital classification of “well capitalized”; The Milford Bank remains strong.
Looking back over our years of progressive service, the thousands of customers who have made use of The Milford Bank have had the knowledge that at all times their funds have been carefully invested and adequately safeguarded. With this fine background, we look forward to a period of even greater growth and progress, but without loss of our reputation for carefully managing and conservatively investing our depositor’s funds which have always marked the bank’s policies and history.
Our organization – built at a modest cost, but fully equipped to meet the requirements of many years – is a monument to the foresight and public spirit of the original incorporators and to the success of the institution they founded in 1872 and put into operation in 1875.