Menu Icon
Toggle Main Navigation
Skip to main content

CEO Letter

Chandler J. Howard

President and CEO

Building on our past successes

A year unlike any other

2018 was a year to remember at Liberty! Epic on many levels, last year made me prouder than ever to be part of such an incredible, strong company. We drew closer to our vision - To Become the Most Admired Company in Connecticut - with our considerable accomplishments and chart-topping results. Our employees continued to impress with their dedication to our customers, communities and our brand. We were named a Hartford Courant Top Workplace for the seventh straight year and a Best Bank in America by Forbes for the first time!

Our partners put their best feet forward helping with two exciting transitions- the full revamp and launch of our new digital banking platform and website, and the move to our new 90,000-square-foot Corporate Headquarters set on an impressive 23 acres!

As a financially sound company, we celebrated 193 years of service to Connecticut and assets hit the $5.1 billion mark. We welcomed 13,565 new households, opened 18,000 consumer and 3,000 business checking accounts, and experienced $150 million in deposit growth. Liberty provided millions in loans for businesses and consumers. Our Foundation awarded more than $900,000 in grants and our employees volunteered 14,000 hours of service to our communities.

We are well positioned to continue full speed ahead into the future! Liberty is a unique institution devoted to being a trusted financial partner and resource.

For our customers, we are committed to your long-term success and will stop at nothing to help you manage your finances with ease and confidence.

For our communities, when you succeed, we succeed. We will continue to give back in ways that help move us toward a brighter future.

For our teammates, you make all of our successes a reality. We will remain dedicated to your growth, provide you with valuable resources and invest in you personally and professionally.

Over 11 years ago when I became President and CEO, I knew Liberty was special right from the start. Yet, I had no idea my journey would be so rewarding and memorable. I've had many, many proud moments, and I want to thank our amazing team for leading us to greatness. Although my retirement is bittersweet, I look forward to seeing what else unfolds as we turn the page to the next chapter in Liberty's history. Our new President and CEO, David W. Glidden, along with the rest of our team, will carry the torch to lead the way toward great accomplishments and building lasting relationships with our customers every step of the way.

Sincerely, 

Chandler J. Howard Signature

Chandler J. Howard,
President and CEO

2018 Highlights

BUILDING FOR
THE FUTURE

Liberty Bank was honored with the 2018 Financial Capability Innovation Award presented by the nation's leading technology innovator, EVERFI, Inc. The award recognizes the Bank for significant efforts to improve the financial capability of Americans through unique digital learning initiatives.

As voted on by employees, Liberty Bank was named a Hartford Courant Top Workplace for the seventh straight year!

icon for award

Financial Advisors Brian McLaughlin, Skip Marquardt, Dwayne Stallings and Rod Duxbury achieved Executive Council Status within Raymond James Financial Services.

President and CEO Chandler J. Howard received the Leadership Award at the Hartford Courant Top Workplace Event.

icon for 11th place nationwide

Our Investment Services program achieved Raymond James Financial Services Leader's Council status, ranking 11th place out of nearly 200 financial institutions across the country.

Based on customer satisfaction and trust, Liberty Bank was one of three Connecticut banks to be recognized as a 2018 "America's Best Bank" by Forbes.

President and CEO, Chandler J. Howard received a "Local Leaders, Local Legends" Leadership Award from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County.

Liberty Bank Investment Services Manager, Jill Honeycomb, was one of Bank Investment Consultant Magazine's Top 25 Managers in the country.

We received the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce's 2018 AT&T Veteran Support Business of the Year Award.

icon for home lending options

We continued to offer Home Lending options to fit any financial situation and help people fulfill their dreams, including low-down payment and down payment assistance programs, options for veterans, new construction and renovation projects.

Our Customer Service Center agents answered nearly 218,000 calls! Specialists provided exceptional one-on-one support six days a week with quick fixes like password unlocks and resets and found more complex solutions for tools like Bill Pay. Their guidance and expertise were particularly crucial during our Online Banking transition in early 2018!

icon for business express loans

We wowed our savvy small business customers with the launch of a brand new service for loans up to $100,000 - our Business Express Loan - with turnaround time and approval in as little as 24 hours!

 icon for 13,565 new households

We have 240,000 total customers and proudly on boarded 13,565 new households in 2018 - the most ever in one year's time!

Our 700 employees participated in over 37,000 hours of training to broaden and sharpen the skills they need to better serve our customers. Each employee averaged 53 hours of training and e-learning hours outweighed instructor-led classroom hours for the first time.

icon for positive pay

We introduced Positive Pay to better protect the assets of our business customers through an automated fraud detection tool.

We were named the Best Bank in Connecticut at the Record Journal's Readers' Choice Awards as a result of votes from people within the publication's footprint.

icon for 18,000 new checking accounts

Our loyal branch employees opened over 18,000 consumer checking accounts and over 3,000 new business checking accounts!

icon for fixed rate

We launched a Fixed Rate Home Equity product and enhanced the customer experience through the launch of an online, user friendly loan review and approval dashboard.

In 2018, we implemented the branch pod design in our Newington, Glastonbury, and North Haven branches. This means we now have 10 pod locations in our network and anticipate adding more in 2019! Renovating branches improves efficiency and takes our customer experience to the next level, a win, win for everyone.

Unselfish acts by our employees led to 14,000 volunteer hours, helping causes they are passionate about. From helping veterans, to animal rescue groups and organizations that work to end homelessness in every corner of Connecticut.

icon for 400 loans

Our Small Business Loan Center closed just about 400 loans - this totaled a whopping $36 million!

icon for My Pay student banking

We continued to develop unique products with great benefits and added perks, and accounts to match spending habits. In 2018, we debuted My PaySM Student Banking in July and it immediately topped the millennial charts with nearly 1,800 checking accounts opened last year alone!

icon for LBIS

Liberty Bank Investment Services generated more than $4.9 million in revenue! The team also placed a total of nearly $159 million assets, exceeding the previous year by almost $46 million!

icon for commercial lending

On the Commercial Lending side, we provided over $950 million in loans including $260 million in Resort Finance loans, 28 percent more than in 2017! Our Resort Finance team also released a new product, Home Owners Association loans, which hit the ground running and has the potential to be a very solid new business opportunity in 2019.

We partnered with WTNH News 8 to host a Save-A-Suit drive for veterans at each of our 55 branch locations. In just the first two weeks of May, nearly 4,000 items were donated by our generous customers and employees to support local veterans as they transition back into the workplace!

icon for security experts

Our security experts and scam artist catchers also made great strides, further protecting our customers, averting losses and staying in tune with the latest fraud trends. Our team constantly works closely with all areas of the Bank to increase fraud education and awareness through ongoing employee training and customer communication.

icon for literacy platform

On the Community Development side, we launched a self-branded digital financial literacy platform in collaboration with the FDIC and hosted our Academy for Small Business helping about 35 local entrepreneurs in New Haven, Norwich and New Britain, among many other achievements!

Each year, our Giving Circle program sets aside $100 for every mortgage application received by the bank in April and May, and then divides the accumulated funds among local agencies that provide emergency or transitional housing for homeless families and individuals. As of 2018, the total donated through the 24-year-old program rose to almost $595,000.

icon for CRE results

Our Commercial Real Estate (CRE) team produced outstanding results. They closed $427 million in new loans. This brought the portfolio to an impressive $1.8 billion! In addition, we continued to support housing needs throughout Connecticut. Last year, our CRE approved the financing of more than 500 housing units in the state ...and more than 165 will provide affordable housing to people in our communities.

In 1935 Liberty Bank was a founder of and began supporting Middlesex United Way. Since then, we have expanded beyond Middlesex County and successfully grown donations, putting tens of millions of dollars back into local communities. Last year, we raised about $275,000 to support programs and services for families throughout our footprint!!

icon for our home lending team results

Our Home Lending team produced $240 million in mortgage originations, along with $102 million in Home Equity and Home Equity Line of Credit originations. What's more, we added five Loan Officers to provide home lending opportunities for more low-to-moderate income households.

icon for Liberty Bank Foundation

Liberty Bank Foundation awarded more than $900,000 in grants to nonprofits within the many diverse communities we serve, supporting education, affordable housing and basic needs. The Return on Investment:
View Results

Continue Scrolling...

GREW TO

$5.1
BILLION

IN ASSETS

OVER

$300
MILLION

IN ASSET GROWTH

$150
MILLION

IN DEPOSIT GROWTH

OVER

$275
MILLION

IN LOAN PORTFOLIO GROWTHS

PORTFOLIO GROWTH OF NEARLY

$40
MILLION

IN CONSUMER REAL ESTATE

2018 HIGHLIGHT: DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM

The Core of
Our Success:

Customers, Communities and Colleagues

2018 was full of building, moving (literally) and growing on many, many fronts ... all because we want our customers and employees to reaffirm their admiration for Liberty!

The Building of a New Digital Space

We are devoted to being forward thinkers and staying relevant in the ever-evolving digital space. Giving you the tools needed to simplify your life and confidently build a safe, sound financial future is and will always be a top priority. To that end, after years of planning and thoughtful decision making, the formation of many solid partnerships inside and outside Liberty, and working around the clock ... we released a brand new Online Banking and Mobile Banking Platform and website in early 2018! Our goal: to find more 'hip' ways for you to manage the financial side of things right from your fingertips at any time and in almost any place.

An upgrade from the good 'ole days.

Here's what we aimed to achieve ... banking that's: easy to use, convenient for that on-the-go lifestyle, and super hands-on. So, on top of creating two new design themes for you to pick from, some exciting bells and whistles include: the ability to view tax documents online, Debit Card controls, Send Money, Liberty2Liberty transfers, and Money Manager.

Giving you the tools needed to simplify your life

icon for Debit Card Controls

Debit Card controls allow you to turn on and off cards when lost or stolen, block debit cards from being used at certain merchants, and even block certain transaction types. You also have the option to set up alerts so you are aware of things like where your card is being used or when a transaction is denied.

icon for Money Manager

Our savvy Personal Financial Management tool - Money Manager - lives up to our brand promise with a dashboard for aggregating and seeing your full financial picture all in one place! Money Manager helps you keep an eye on your spending, track trends and save for that next big adventure.

icon for Send Money service

Send Money is a free, simple way to pay any person - no matter where they bank -by text or email. All you need is their account number and a few business days for the payment to process!

icon for Liberty2Liberty

Liberty2Liberty money transfers are free and immediate! You can move funds back and forth from your Liberty Bank accounts and easily pay family, friends, co-workers and more. As long as the person you are paying is also a Liberty customer, it literally takes no time at all to pay whomever, whenever ... completely online and without hassle!

2018 HIGHLIGHT: 245 LONG HILL ROAD

The Move
to our
New Space

The fall of 2018 came with more than just the changing leaves! The excitement continued at Liberty when, in October, we moved nearly 300 employees to our new 90,000 square foot Corporate Headquarters set on an impressive 23 acres in Middletown! Our long-term success, dedication to our customers and desire to give our employees only the best of the best, brought us to this very important milestone in Liberty Bank history. Our world-class facility at 245 Long Hill Road allows for increased innovation, efficiency and collaboration, supporting our efforts to continue to be a leading company in the state!

Entrance of our new corporate headquarters Side view of our new corporate headquarters

Just as you can imagine,
it took a village.

A special shout out goes to our head honchoes FIP Construction, WB Mason, and Perkins Eastman, along with Engineering partner, BVH; Audio Visual Partner, Vision Point; Security partner, ISG; and the dozens upon dozens of other local contractors and partners!! We found the best partners in the business and could not be happier with the outcome.

And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Liberty's leaders - our Facilities, Technology and Operational Risk Teams -, too, for their tremendous efforts, attention to detail, expertise and support on this gigantic undertaking and accomplishment! 245 Long Hill Road is impressive, to say the least, and it speaks volumes about our commitment to Middletown, the surrounding communities, our customers and employees.

Core team for new corporate headquarters project
Collaboration Area are members of our Retail Lending and Community Development teams
Photographed in our cafeteria are members of our Business Solutions, Retail Banking, and Operational Risk teams
In Liberty Square at our new Corporate Headquarters, new President and CEO David W. Glidden shared his vision with teammates at our Town Hall Meeting in March 2019
Photographed here are members of our Customer Service Center and Online Banking Teams in a Collaboration Area at 245 Long Hill Road.

WHAT THE HYPE IS ALL ABOUT;
OUR BEAUTIFUL FACILITY HAS:

icon

Fitness center, cafeteria and wellness rooms

icon

Adjustable height desks for every employee

icon

Energy efficient, first-rate interior climate control & lighting systems

icon

A state of the art heating and cooling system with high efficiency, variable air volume and digital controls

icon

An outdoor generator with full backup power to run 100% of this facility

icon

High-efficiency access control, alarm and surveillance under one operating system

icon

More conference rooms than we dreamed of, 16 to be exact, in all shapes and sizes

icon

Electric vehicle
charging stations

icon

Sustainable, ecological design features up to par with the latest Connecticut energy codes and standards (plumbing, electrical, roofing, and HVAC plans

icon

Double panel tinted glass & shading fins to divert sun

icon

Specially designated collaboration areas for casual meetings, brainstorming or quick cross-functional check-ins; ...and more!

Liberty Bank Foundation

GIVING IN
LEAPS AND BOUNDS

As far as Liberty Bank Foundation is concerned, there are two types of giving. The funding of grants (which anyone with pockets can do). And then the more personal kind - the giving of time and expertise to help solve community problems that no one organization could on its own.

Don't get us wrong. We exist to provide financial support to our community partners. It's the lifeblood that keeps their vital work in motion. Our grants hit a record high of $906,494 in 2018. And our endowment received a $7.9 million gift from Liberty Bank, which we expect will put our giving over the $1 million mark soon.

Yet, one thing we've learned over the years is that to be a more powerful change agent, we need to take the lead in bringing community stakeholders together to find solutions for the common good.

For example, nonprofits now face unprecedented challenges - the profile of individual givers is shifting, many experienced executive directors are retiring, and governmental funding is waning - while at the same time demand for services continues to rise.

In response, we helped to assemble nine Southeastern Connecticut funders to create the Institute for Nonprofit Excellence, offering free workshops and consulting grants to nonprofits looking to build their capacity. The partners created a $60,000 pool for the purpose, and have already calendared programming on advocacy, fundraising, legacy giving, communications and marketing, and board governance, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Another cause requiring collective action is early childhood education. When you realize that 90 percent of a child's brain is formed by age two, it's obvious that learning for the state's youngest residents is imperative. Reaching children at their youngest ultimately benefits them, their families, and the state's economy-but too many parents can't afford quality care.

For the last 10 years, Liberty Bank Foundation and 16 other organizations have partnered in the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative to build better systems for young children. We speak to government as the collective voice of philanthropy to encourage expanded support, and invest our own pooled funds to improve outcomes, engage families, and implement best practices.

Our 15-year partnership with local Rotaries produced a record-breaking Thanksgiving Dinner Drive in 2018, amassing $426,607 to stock local nonprofits serving the food insecure. And perhaps our longest-lasting and most rewarding partnership is with our employees. We promote and organize community service and nonprofit fundraisers, and can proudly say that in 2018 bank employees contributed 14,447 hours of helping hands in local towns.

Watch us in the year to come. You'll find we're always building on our past successes, moving the needle on progress, and growing our contribution to our communities. That's just how we roll.

Liberty Bankers volunteering for Habitat for Humanity

Liberty Bankers in our Central South Market volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

A group of young students

This photo was taken at Hygienic Art in New London, a longtime grantee of our Foundation. Hygienic Art is a youth development organization that engages middle and high school students through writing and photography.  

Connecticut Food Bank truck

RETURN ON
INVESTMENT

Some opportunities we helped make possible through our grant dollars in 2018:

A Group of Liberty Bankers with shirts that say 'I Love Helping' on the back

Continue Scrolling...

1,603

Children and parents received early literacy support

454

Veterans received legal services

4,872

Children attended after-school programs to help them succeed in school, learn life skills and prepare for college and careers.

109

Formerly homeless people were placed in permanent supportive housing

570

People were prevented from becoming homeless

1,591

Adults attended employment, homebuyer, literacy, or leadership training or had their taxes prepared free of charge

23

Affordable housing units were created

For more results and a chart
of grants by region:


www.libertybankfoundation.org/results

2018 FINANCIALS

growing in every direction

We grew assets by leaps and bounds to $5.1 billion with over $300 million in asset growth last year alone... all while attracting 13,565 new households, the most ever in Liberty history!

We're moving upward and getting even stronger.

2018 was a record earning year! Driven by exceptionally strong capital gains, we earned over $71 million in 2018. Our loan portfolio grew by $275 million, which contributed to an increase of over $6 million in net interest income, our core earnings. Additionally, we continue to drive efficiency and reduce operating costs throughout every area of the Bank.

Our success is your success. Liberty Bank put even more dollars to work for our communities and our team, helping to build a brighter future. Last year, we contributed $7.9 million to support grant funding for local nonprofits through our 21-year-old Foundation. We also invested in our employees by adding more professional development and growth opportunities to the mix.

Consolidated Statements of Income

For the years ended December 31, 
(dollars in thousands)
2018 2017
Net interest income $146,257 $139,478
Fee income 36,190 39,945
Operating expense (134,001) (125,702)
Loan loss provision (2,508) (1,733)
Net operating income $45,938 $51,988
Capital gains 41,242 16,602
Provision for income taxes (15,614) (28,398)
Net income $ 71,566 $40,192

Consolidated Balance Sheets

At December 31, 
(dollars in thousands)
2018 2017
Assets
Cash and investments $1,001,265 $984,223
Loans:

Consumer residential 956,298 917,236
Consumer 313,083 339,539
Commercial mortgages 2,042,359 1,858,263
Commercial 583,684 503,492
Gross loans 3,895,424 3,618,530
Loan loss reserves (34,507) (32,975)
Loans, net 3,860,917 3,585,555
Other assets 230,694 198,314
Total assets $5,092,876 $4,768,092
Liabilities and Capital
Deposits 3,663,348 3,514,599
Federal Home Loan Bank borrowings 560,400 427,565
Other liabilities 130,251 119,157
Total liabilities 4,353,999 4,061,321
Capital 738,877 706,771
Total liabilities and capital $5,092,876 $4,768,092

Four-Year Comparisons

For the years ended December 31
(dollars in thousands)
2018 2017 2016 2015
Net operating income $45,938 $51,988 $38,417 $34,928
Net income 71,566 40,192 39,374 27,294
Total assets 5,092,876 4,768,092 4,565,602 3,987,483
Loan loss reserves 34,507 32,975 33,204 32,616
Net loans 3,860,917 3,585,555 3,432,653 2,920,988
Deposits 3,663,348 3,514,599 3,491,729 2,955,409
Capital 738,877 706,771 651,304 614,777
Return on assets 1.48% 0.84% 0.89% 0.71%
Net interest margin 3.03% 2.97% 3.03% 3.01%
Capital to assets 14.5% 14.8% 14.3% 15.4%
Non-performing assets to total assets 0.27% 0.28% 0.43% 0.55%
Loan loss reserves to non-performing loans 262% 259% 168% 152%

Business Spotlight

Pasta Vita and Liberty Bank:
A Budding Partnership and

Recipe
for
Success

The thought of chef-prepared homemade meals makes your stomach rumble just seconds after walking through the door at Pasta Vita - the Perfect Place to Go for Gourmet to Go. Everything from delicious specialty chicken, beef, seafood and pasta dishes to a variety of soups, salads, sides, desserts... and so much more... are an arm's reach away. And whether you're running late at the office or contemplating what to serve at your next dinner party, Pasta Vita makes cooking for family and friends as easy as can be with their chef prepared meals fit for every type of lifestyle.

Twenty-five years ago Pasta Vita's Old Saybrook store, which remains under its original ownership, started creating family memories around the kitchen table with their gourmet meals on the go. In 2015, the beloved Pasta Vita and its reputable brand caught the eye of their, now, partner, Mohegan Holding Company, LLC. Almost immediately they decided to join forces to expand the franchise beyond the shoreline and into Eastern CT. Mohegan Holding Company was interested in diversifying their business. Pasta Vita wanted a partner with the same values they uphold and same dedication to outstanding customer service.

"We share mutual respect and the willingness to seamlessly and meticulously get the job done"

Joe Smith - Member Pasta Vita Board of Managers and Mohegan Tribal Council Member, Kathy Regan-Pyne - Member Pasta Vita Board of Managers and Mohegan Tribal Council Member, Cheryl Todd - Member Past Vita Board of Managers and Mohegan Tribal Council Member, Chip Miller - Pasta Vita Executive Chef, Eugene Shugrue, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer, Janine Epright - CFO Mohegan Holding Company, LLC , John Jepson, Liberty Bank, Commercial Lending Officer, Senior Commercial Loan Officer

Over the next few years, Pasta Vita's goal is to bring its services to other CT towns, finally giving more families the chance to taste what the hype is all about. Liberty Bank is excited to continue to be forward thinking with Pasta Vita and a valuable partner in their expansion.

The perfect mix of sugar & spice

To say the least, the two companies found their ideal match! Building on their successes, together they opened a new facility and commissary in Wethersfield (2018) and, with a well-sought-out team they unveiled their newest store in an old 1730's country building in Avon (March 2019). Pasta Vita and Mohegan Holding Company, LLC are strong, local business partners with hearts of gold and a lot of joy to give. Their cream of the crop: attracting and retaining great employees, providing one-of-a-kind products, and delivering service that keeps customers coming back again, again, and again.

With some of the best chefs in the business by their side, Pasta Vita continues to grow their presence. They are fully committed to strengthening the Connecticut economy by hiring local business partners and providing new jobs, and are repetitively searching for new opportunities. To that end, during 2018, Liberty Bank and Pasta Vita partnered for the first time, meeting eye to eye in their loyalty to CT and to treating customers like family.

Our Liberty Bank Commercial Lending Team was instrumental in providing a loan to Pasta Vita, helping them step foot in Avon. Immediately, Pasta Vita's owners felt as if they had been partnering with Liberty for years. "We share mutual respect and the willingness to seamlessly and meticulously get the job done,"" stated Richard Cersosimo, President of Pasta Vita.

Throughout the loan process, Pasta Vita's owners had peace of mind in knowing their dreams of expanding were about to become reality, thanks to this new partnership. They view Liberty as, not only a funding partner, but also as a partner that cares and takes the time to better understand their immediate and future needs.

"Liberty Bank is a tremendous partner, which is how we like to do business," stated Jeanette Ziegler, Chief Operating Officer, Mohegan Holding Company, LLC. "Our Loan Officer, John Jepson, was very knowledgeable, easy to work with and provided lending expertise we could trust. We worked collaboratively and the Bank offered flexibility that will allow our brand to grow. We are so grateful to Liberty Bank for their support and look forward to seeing what else is in store for our partnership."

The $1.5 million loan will also help open two more locations in the future.

What's cooking next?

Over the next few years, Pasta Vita's goal is to bring its services to other CT towns, finally giving more families the chance to taste what the hype is all about. Liberty Bank is excited to continue to be forward thinking with Pasta Vita and a valuable partner in their expansion.

Small Business Spotlight

Hometown Partners

J & J Acoustics and Liberty Bank

Launching a small business is a dream of many Americans. Yet, actually reaching that dream and being successful at it takes dedication, passion, and lots and lots of hard work. Middletown-residents, Denise and James Vernale and their son Jaiden, knew what it would take to become self-made entrepreneurs, but that didn't stop them. They also knew that every second would be worth it...for their family and their livelihood. With all the drive in the world, in late 2017, their vision came into focus. The three partners opened an acoustic ceiling tile company. This marked the start of a remarkable small business journey - a journey full of many triumphs, overcoming challenges, grabbing onto opportunities, and achieving the impossible.

Denise coined the company J and J Acoustics, LLC, a woman-owned business, in honor of the two most important men in her life. After working for her mother-in-law's company for some time, Denise, along with her husband, brought over 37 years of industry knowledge to the company. Owning a small business was their calling and the timing was perfect. Jaiden recently got accepted into Connecticut's Union Apprentice Program, inspiring his parents to start the business so he could get more experience in the field.

In March 2018, Denise applied for a State of Connecticut minority/small business enterprise certification. A year later, they received a certificate for the City of Hartford and a DAS certificate that allows them to bid on larger state projects. Everything was working in their favor except they needed a very important boost; the funding to kick their company into the next gear and earn enough capital so they could grow.

This is where Liberty Bank stepped in

Denise switched over her personal banking to Liberty a few years ago following the recommendation from several close friends. Now, she was seeking financial support to help her family's business. She was very satisfied with Liberty and when the business financing need arose, Denise inquired about lines of credit, small business loans, and more.

She visited our Cromwell Cobblestone Branch to get the $125,000 loan underway, a process that took over a year. She partnered with Business Banking Officer, Manny Caccomo, to learn about the best options for her business and financial situation.

If a few jobs overlap, the loan from Liberty allows the projects to run smoothly and efficiently with little worry. "It seemed against all odds that I received funding. Manny always checked in to keep me up to date on new programs that I qualified for. His patience and persistence and the dedication of the entire Cobblestone Branch staff is so admirable, stated Denise Vernale."

J & J Acoustics, LLC has received several growth opportunities for all employees who would have been jobless without the startup of the new small business. The funding from Liberty makes it possible for them to bid on state and city projects of various sizes. For Denise and James, the most rewarding part of small business ownership has been teaching their son the trades, seeing him develop as a professional and gain more skills. They are thrilled and grateful to work together, and to build the business to the next level as a family.

"Our Liberty Bank experience has been so memorable right from the start and it's the employees that keep us coming back time and time again. We are grateful for this partnership and what it has allowed us to accomplish so far; we are thankful for Liberty Bank and their outstanding staff for their support. They made a stressful situation more exciting and made our goals obtainable."