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 2017, the bank operates six full-service locations in Milford and Stratford and a loan production office in New Haven.
Total assets ended 2017 at $441,647,000 and deposits totaled $350,107,000. That’s growth year over year of $22,274,000 or 5%. Our lenders were busy writing loans; our loan portfolio grew to $372,000,000, an increase of over $25 million. We retain the highest regulatory capital classification of “well capitalized”; The Milford Bank remains strong. The Milford Bank has always closely aligned with the communities we serve; we don’t just lend money and provide checking accounts.
We are active members in the community and are committed partners with our customers. Our employees continue to volunteer countless hours to charitable endeavors. Additionally, in 2017, the Bank contributed approximately $170,000 to various organizations in Milford and Stratford. The Bank also contributed $25,000 to The Milford Bank Foundation which, in turn, distributed over $15,000 to 20 community groups.
Our job every day is to “wow” our customers. We have a clear track record that speaks to a legendary customer service experience supported by advanced technology. We are committed to understanding our customers’ needs, owning their problems, and finding the right solutions. Our future is bright. There will certainly be challenges we face in 2018, but every challenge brings opportunity. We look forward to continuing to make loans for people to realize their dreams, whatever they may be. We will continue to strengthen our digital solutions. This economic expansion shows little sign of slowing down; as the economy flourishes, so should the Bank.
Thank you for your business, for your continued support, and for believing community banks like ours make a difference.