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Real Community Banking Lives Here

Dime Bank Has Opened New Branches Here and in Manchester

In an age of big bank mergers and acquisitions, Dime Bank has staked out a unique position. 

“We are what we call a real community bank,” says Nick Caplanson, President and CEO of Dime Bank. “We were created as a mutual bank and the driving force behind a mutual bank like ours is to do what’s best for our customers, our employees and our community.” 

Created in 1869, Dime Savings Bank of Norwich was chartered to serve the working class “small savers” who were typically shunned by larger commercial banks. 

Dime has 13 branches throughout Connecticut and Westerly, Rhode Island, including its first two branches in the Greater Hartford market, one at 1009 Hebron Ave. in Glastonbury and the other at 299 West Middle Turnpike in Manchester. 

Dime took over the location where a United Bank used to be in Glastonbury after United was bought out by People’s, a larger state-wide financial institution. That kind of merger, Nick says, is exactly why Dime decided to test the waters of the Hartford market. 

“The whole trend of banking mergers and acquisitions has been going on for some time and there are fewer real community banks left. We’ve never issued publicly traded stock so we don’t have shareholders we have to answer to. You don’t grow as fast, but if you’re in this for the long term, profitability is not your only motive.

“Our employees are all local people, it’s not as if we hire someone and then transfer them to a location they’re not familiar with. And, our employees are encouraged to volunteer in their community. So we’re making investments, in many ways, in the community.” 

That focus on depositors and the community is evident in how Dime and its employees interact with its local customers, says Michelle Sawyer, Dime’s area manager in Glastonbury and Manchester. 

For instance, Michelle says, when you call Dime Bank in Glastonbury or any local branch, you’re not calling an 800 number based elsewhere in another part of the country. You actually will get a person located locally at Dime. 

There’s also continuity in Dime’s relationships with their customers, she says. She and other employees of the local branches get to know their customers directly and understand their unique needs. 

“We’re one of the only community banks left in the greater Hartford area. We bring personalized service. People know who we are and our customers don’t get lost in the shuffle. We will come to the customers if that’s necessary. I’ve done that before.”  

A community bank like Dime, Nick says, also puts a priority on the needs of small local businesses. 

“If you’re a small landscaping business, say with 5 or 6 employees, a big bank isn’t going to care about you, you’re not the customer they want. But that’s the kind of customer we love to do business with and a lot of small businesses really appreciate community banks.” 

While Dime can offer the same services, products, and technology, often for less, than large commercial banks, it keeps its focus on the personal needs of its customers, Nick adds. And decision are made locally, not miles away in some impersonal bank headquarters. 

“It’s all personal and it’s all individualized, that's really how we differentiate ourselves from bigger banks.” 


 

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