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President's Message

Gregory Shook, President Essex Savings Bank
Gregory R. Shook
President & Chief Executive Officer
gshook@essexsavings.com
(860) 767-4414 x219

Essex Savings Bank Celebrating 160 years

I am pleased to report on our accomplishments for 2014. We have seen positive growth in our capital, increased relationships within our businesses and continued investment in our future at the completion of our 163rd year of operations. Despite a prolonged low interest rate environment, our banking unit continues to operate successfully and has achieved improved net interest income, spread and margin when compared to last year. Bank revenues and net earnings of our core business of deposits and loans were at record levels. Bank net interest income earnings were up by 7.5% at $684,000 while interest expense improved by $570,000 or over 40% year over year. The bank’s credit quality remained ahead of peers with currently zero foreclosed properties. Loans increased by a net $10 million from 2013 after pay downs of $48.3 million and total loan volume of $56.3 million while our capital increased and remains substantially above the FDIC requirement to be considered well capitalized. Our Trust business, led by Moira Bessette Martin, continued to build their department to record levels above $300 million with ever increasing revenues and contributions to our bottom line.

Our wholly owned subsidiary, Essex Financial Services, led by Charles Cumello, President, continued to invest in people, technology and infrastructure improvements following a management transition year. The firm, with its national recognition and reputation, continues to grow revenue and assets under management and administration at a rapid rate. The firm is poised to lead us into an exciting future with their outstanding wealth management services. The team of advisors at Essex Financial Services were honored to be named by the Financial Times in their list of top financial advisory firms in the United States. Additionally, John Rafal and the team were recognized by Barron’s magazine as the State of Connecticut’s second ranked Investment Advisor. This is the second year in a row for this impressive achievement.

Currently we are in the process of proudly distributing 10% of our net income to worthy non-profits. Due to our long term planned investments, total earnings were less when compared to last year; however, we ask our clients to help spread the word that as the Bank continues to be successful and we build our business to meet our strategic projections, the community will continue to share in our results. By year end, we will have reached a milestone and have distributed $4 million to hundreds of local non-profits since the inception of our Community Investment Program in 1996.

We believe our model as an independent community Bank that supports our community, businesses and individuals, with professionally engaged people and a complete array of financial services, helps enhance the quality of life we all desire. Proof of our success was evident in the Commercial Record as the Bank was rated by their readers with Gold Medals as the number one Commercial and Commercial Real Estate Lender, a Silver Medal for Community Banks and Bronze Medals for Residential Lending and Commercial Financing.

Additionally, Essex Savings Bank has once again earned the highest 5-Star rating for strength and stability from BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm. BauerFinancial has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks since 1983. No institution can pay BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can an institution choose to be excluded. Essex Savings Bank has proven its commitment to superiority by earning this top rating for 19 consecutive years. Fewer than 10% of the nation’s banks can claim this distinction. In order to do so, the Bank has excelled in areas of capital adequacy, delinquent loan levels and profitability to name just a few.

I want to thank all of our Directors, Trustees, Officers and Staff for their dedication in helping us achieve and assist in developing personal relationships with skill and genuine concern for all. We also thank our clients for your business and want you to know how much it is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Gregory R. Shook
President & Chief Executive Officer 

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