It has been just a year since it was announced that the century-old Mt. Washington Bank would be merged with the East Boston Savings Bank. At the time, Mt. Washington had established itself as a significant community-based financial institution, one that had grown in leaps and bounds in customer satisfaction while it reached out to support a wide variety of community-based organizations. Some observers even feared the consolidation might diminish the bank’s role as a leading “corporate citizen” in the neighborhoods.
One evening last week, bank president Ed Merritt sat in an office off the lobby of the bank’s Gallivan Blvd branch and reflected on the changes.
“Fabulous!” he says without hesitation. “It’s kind of interesting if you think about. (Last year) I stand up in front of my employees and say we have made a strategic decision to merge with East Boston Savings Bank. The first thing that happens is that people think about job loss – they think about all those negative aspects that happen in a business combination.
“I told them this is going to be very different. We are going to operate as a separate autonomous division, The goal was that this merger would be very transparent to our customers. And the feeling is that there would be no job loss at Mt. Washington Bank.”
Merritt said he is proud that all that he predicted has come true, With the strength of the two banks, he says, Mt. Washington customers have been well-served.
“You roll the clock forward, last year we had deposits of $316 million; today it’s $408 million. What typically happens in a merger, you have deposit outflow. We have had none. In the past year we have opened more checking accounts, we have closed more loans, we have been extremely busy.”
The bank, with local branches in Adams Corner and Codman Square, also continues to expand, with the news last week that a new 2,400 square foot branch will open at 1981 Centre Street in West Roxbury.
“We are looking forward to becoming part of the vibrant West Roxbury neighborhood and believe the residents and businesses in the area will be the beneficiaries of our financial products and services,” Merritt said. “We are excited to continue to expand our community banking presence within the neighborhoods of Boston and to be bringing our unique brand of community banking and corporate citizenship to the West Roxbury neighborhood.” In a statement announcing the new branch, Richard J. Gavegnano, chairman and chief executive Officer of East Boston Savings Bank, said, “I am thrilled to be announcing the opening of a new branch through the Mt. Washington Bank Division less than one year after our merger with Mt Washington Bank was finalized. This branch expansion reinforces our commitment to Mt. Washington Bank and we expect to see their continued growth and success as a result of this very successful merger.”