Webster Financial Corporation

Yankee banking

Webster Financial Corporation is the holding company for Connecticut-based Webster Bank, the largest independent bank headquartered in New England.  Webster's four lines of business are retail banking, commercial banking, consumer finance, and wealth and investment services.

Webster was founded in 1935 by Harold Webster Smith, then just 24 years old.  Smith borrowed from his relatives to open First Federal Savings of Waterbury, a lending institution dedicated to providing home loans at low rates to Connecticut citizens.  It soon focused on expanding its commercial business, and in the process grew beyond Connecticut.

Today, the Webster footprint extends to the suburbs of Boston, through southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and into New York.  The bank offered its first shares to the public in 1986.  First Federal was renamed Webster Bank in honor of its founder in 1995.  Ten years later, in March 2005, Webster acquired the Wisconsin-based State Bank of Howards Grove, which it now operates under the name HSA Bank.  In October 2006, Webster closed its stock-for-stock acquisition of Connecticut savings bank NewMil Bancorp, in a deal valued at $172.5 million.

How Webster works

Retail banking has historically been Webster's biggest line of business.  This segment serves about 400,000 consumer households and 60,000 small business customers in New England and New York; its distribution network includes nearly 500 ATM locations, 180 banking offices and online banking services.  Retail also includes HSA Bank and home equity loans, mortgage lending and investment products offered through Webster Investment Services.  

The consumer finance division provides first mortgages, home equity loans and direct installment lending programs through Webster Bank and its wholly-owned subsidiary, People's Mortgage Corporation (PMC).

Wealth and investment services are two business units operating as one division.  Webster Financial Advisors (WFA) targets high-net-worth individuals, nonprofits and business clients.  Webster Investment Services (WIS), a registered investment advisor, offers securities, brokerage and advisory services.

A level playing field?

In the diversity sphere, the firm may be wise to concentrate more on the big picture, some insiders say.  "While there may be diversity in the branches, the corporate areas do not appear to have much minority diversity."  Though one insider notes, "I don't believe they discriminate in hiring," the company "doesn't really seek out a diverse workforce, either."  Women within the firm may be slightly better off than minorities, however.  Sources tell us that, "There are a decent amount of women in positions. Women are respected, and promoted based on skills and experience, but minorities appear to be lacking."  Adds another insider, " To boost diversity, "Webster should look more into MBA programs for minority applicants to fill more corporate positions," one contact suggests.

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Webster Financial Corporation


Webster Plaza WFD730
Waterbury, CT 06702
Phone: (203) 465-4364
Fax: (203) 465-4364
www.websteronline.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: WBS
  • Stock Exchange: NYSE
  • Chairman & CEO: James "Jim" C. Smith
  • 2010 Employees: 2,782

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