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 The Milford Bank continued to provide superior, personalized banking products and services throughout Milford, Stratford and other nearby communities we serve, the Bank enjoyed a solid year that illustrates its financial strength and positions it for even greater success going forward.
Total assets ended 2018 at $441.8 million and deposits totaled $345.7 million. Our lenders were busy writing loans; our loan portfolio grew to $381.2 million, an increase of over $9.0 million. Our earnings improved markedly to $1,744,000. In comparison to 2017’s results, which were punctuated by changes in the tax law that drove our earning down to loss of $500,000, our annual net income increased by $2,244,000. Even pre-tax, we performed better in 2018 with $2,152,000 in earnings compared to $1,865,000 in 2017, a 15% increase year over year. Capital stands at $45,533,000 and the Bank retains the highest regulatory capital rating of “well capitalized”.
Our commitment to the communities we serve is as strong as ever. We remain active members in the community and are committed partners with our customers. Our employees continue to volunteer countless hours to charitable endeavors. Additionally, in 2018, the Bank contributed approximately $135,000 to various organizations in Milford and Stratford. The Bank also contributed $25,000 to The Milford Bank Foundation which, in turn, awarded nearly $16,000 in grants to 18 community groups. We really do make a difference in the communities we serve.
There’s a saying that goes “everyone loves a good challenge”; well, we’re no different. We enter 2019 poised to tackle the challenges of new customer acquisitions that will allow us to grow our deposit customer base. That, in turn, allows us to fund new loans, provide growth to our balance sheet and further support the communities we serve. The common denominator to successfully taking on these initiatives will be our reliance on our legendary customer service working in tandem with offering relevant digital solutions and technology. This is not your father’s bank any more. People want to bank on their phones, move money between themselves seamlessly, and apply for a mortgage without ever coming into a bank. We balance the need for exemplary personalized service with the speed and efficiencies digital offerings bring. We believe the relationships we’ve developed matter. We want to be a trusted adviser to and a partner with our customers. As we look to 2019, we will further develop and leverage our digital side, while simultaneously keeping our branches fresh and staffed with employees who are focused on finding the right solution to meet our customers’ needs. We are poised for the future and look forward to what it holds for us.
Thank you for your business, for your continued support, and for believing community banks like ours make a difference