Every Webster banker maintains an unwavering commitment to our customers that has remained unchanged since our founding during the Great Depression.
For more than three generations, Webster Bank has been committed to helping individuals, families and businesses achieve their financial goals. In that mission, Webster’s 3,000 bankers are guided by our core values, namely, to take personal responsibility for meeting our customers’ needs; to respect the dignity of every individual; to earn trust through ethical behavior; to give of ourselves to our communities; and to work together to achieve outstanding results. Over the years, our mission has evolved to serve communities in four states from metro New York to Boston, Mass.; our vision has grown as Webster now ranks among the nation’s 33 largest banks; but our basic values still endure today.
Those values took root in an 11-by-38 foot office in Waterbury, Conn in 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression. 24-year-old Harold Webster Smith borrowed $25,000 from family and friends and opened First Federal Savings of Waterbury to help his neighbors achieve the American Dream of owning a home. He served as CEO of his bank until 1987 and as chairman until 1995 when First Federal was renamed Webster Bank in his honor. In 2002, Webster listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WBS.
Today, Webster is a full service commercial bank led by our founder’s son, James C Smith, who has been chairman and CEO since 1995. With $21 billion in assets, Webster Bank provides consumer, business, government and institutional banking, as well as mortgage, financial planning, trust and investment services through Webster Private Bank. Webster has 165 branches and 315 ATMs and delivers an exceptional customer experience in person, on the phone, online, and through mobile devices. Webster Bank also does asset-based lending through Webster Business Credit Corporation, equipment financing through Webster Capital Finance, Inc., and provides health savings account trustee and administrative services through HSA Bank.
Through the years, Webster has been an industry leader in many respects. During the 1940’s, First Federal became the first bank in Connecticut to issue GI Loans and the first in its area to make an FHA home improvement loan. It also is the leading SBA lender to small businesses, women and minority businesses and to veterans in its core market. Webster acquired HSA Bank in 2005 and with that became the largest bank administrator and trustee of health savings accounts in the nation. More recently, Webster has been lauded in print and on TV for how we have worked to keep families in their homes when they have encountered financial setbacks. Webster has modified more than $200 million, enabling more than 1,200 people to keep in their homes.
Webster believes in helping our communities through philanthropy, sponsorships, community reinvestment and volunteer activities. Webster gives approximately $4 million in program support to more than 1,000 non-profit organizations across our footprint and our dedicated Webster bankers provide 110,000 volunteer hours each year – a testament to our spirit and our community’s growth. Webster’s commitment to community has been recognized through numerous awards including the United Way of Greater Waterbury’s Spirit of Excellence Award in 2012, the Power of Giving Award from Connecticut Public Broadcasting network in 2010, the Small Business Administration’s Veterans Champion in 2009 and its Excellence in Lending Award in 2007.
Regardless of how large we grow, rest assured that Webster’s commitment remains the same. Webster’s culture is firmly rooted in our mission, vision, brand promise and values.