NVSL becoming Liberty Bank

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck has ended an era when it comes to banking.

The borough no longer has a bank in its name as Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan will officially become part of Liberty Bank on Tuesday, two years after Naugatuck Savings Bank changed its name to Ion Bank.

Despite the loss of the Naugatuck name, Liberty Bank and Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan will be “a great fit” for each other and the borough, said William Calderara, former president and chief executive officer of Naugatuck Valley Financial Corp., the bank’s parent.

“The cultures of the bank and their shared values will make it an easy transition,” he said. “All we lost was the name.”

Calderara’s role with the bank, which has about 120 employees, ended Friday as his position was eliminated because Liberty Bank “has its own executive team,” he said.

“I’m going to seek out other positions, most likely in banking,” he said, adding a “handful” of other executive posts at the bank will be eliminated. “All of the branch employees will stay.”

Other than perhaps stirring some nostalgia, the disappearance of banks with the borough’s name does not mean much, said Ronald Pugliese, chief executive officer of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation.

“I think Liberty Bank is going to fit beautifully into Naugatuck, and Ion Bank is going strong,” he said. “Both banks are going to be fine.”

The transition has not come without problems, however, as the use of Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan debit cards ceased to work last week due to an issue with a merchant service provider, causing difficulties for customers. New Liberty Bank replacement cards are expected to work on Tuesday.

“Overall, it was not a major issue because it happened only in the last couple of days,” Calderara said. “It’s hard to control outside vendors.”

Liberty Bank permanently closed Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan’s Cheshire branch at 1699 Highland Ave. on Friday. Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan’s remaining eight outlets in Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Derby, Seymour, Shelton, Southbury and Waterbury were closed Saturday, rebranded as Liberty Bank branches over the weekend and will to re-open Tuesday.

Liberty Bank’s bill pay service was suspended Friday and its online and telephone banking services will cease temporarily at 1 p.m. Saturday with the expectation that all three services will resume “sometime Monday,” according to a recording reached at the bank’s main number.

Naugatuck Valley Financial and Middletown-based Liberty Bank announced in early June that they had reached an agreement to merge in a $78 million deal. The transaction has been approved by both banks’ boards, Naugatuck Valley Financial shareholders, the state Department of Banking and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, founded in 1922, was a federal stock savings bank with assets of about $500 million.

Liberty Bank, founded in 1825 as the state’s oldest chartered bank, is a mutual bank with $4 billion in assets and $500 million in capital. The bank has 50 branches in Connecticut, including in Bristol, Cheshire and Southington.

The decision to merge with Liberty Bank came after Calderara, of Newtown, spent three years turning around the struggling bank after being hired in September 2012.

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