Back in 1867, we made a long-term investment in Vermont
Our roots here are deep. Northfield Savings Bank was founded because of the work of a schoolmaster and a haberdasher.
Reverend Edward Bourns was the head of a military college, which had just moved to Northfield. His student body of 14 cadets was destined to become the internationally famous Norwich University. As he looked around Northfield, he regretted the absence of a bank that would serve the needs of the common people. He felt that ordinary working people should have a way to save money and a way to get financing when they had saved enough to buy a home. So Reverend Bourns threw his energy into starting a bank in Northfield, and soon he had talked a core of community leaders into the idea of a mutual savings bank.
Our first home was among the gentlemen's gloves, hats and suits in J.C.B. Thayer's Tailoring and Clothing store. "Carey" Thayer managed the Bank from his store, using just an ordinary safe. One night, a couple of burglars attempted to crack the safe, but failed. They were caught after a lively chase down Main Street, but evaded trial by tunneling their way through the brick wall of the Montpelier jail. This thrilling episode convinced the bankers of the fledgling Northfield Savings Bank to build a real bank with a real vault and Carey Thayer gave up the haberdashery to become a full-time banker.
A bank with a mind of its own
The character of the Bank has not changed much since it was established by Reverend Bourns and the leaders of Northfield in 1867. The form of ownership put in place by our founders has kept the bank on its single-minded, conservative and fiercely-independent course.
You own the bank
Consistent with our tradition of mutuality, and with an eye toward offering a wider range of consumer and commercial financial services, Northfield Savings Bank's Trustees and Corporators established the Northfield Mutual Holding Company in 2001. The Mutual Holding Company form of organization ensures our mutuality and our ability to retain local control. Though technically the Bank has become a stock institution, its parent company is 100% owned by a Mutual Holding Company, which has no stockholders. Instead, we are owned by our customers, who receive their "dividends" through competitive deposit and loan rates, reinvestment in our local communities, personal service and local decision-making. Another bank or institution cannot absorb Northfield Savings Bank because we are 100% owned by a Mutual Holding Company. Our mutual structure fully supports our corporate mission to help the people and businesses of Vermont prosper.
Branching out Vermont-style
Everywhere we went, people found us willing to go the extra mile to help them buy homes and build their businesses -- local bankers making local decisions.
In the early 1970s, the Trustees at Northfield Savings Bank realized that many customers in neighboring towns were in need of more convenient access to the bank. The first branch office of Northfield Savings Bank was opened in 1972 in Barre. Because this office has been so successful, in 2000 it was completely renovated, making it more open, customer friendly and efficient. Next came our offices in Waterbury (1974), Randolph (1978), Montpelier (1980), South Barre (1986), Bethel/South Royalton (1995), Waitsfield (1998), Essex (2003), South Burlington (2004), Williston (2004), Downtown Burlington (2005) and Williston Road, South Burlington (2006).
As we branched out, we looked no further afield than the State of Vermont, finding plenty to keep us busy right here. We did not want to become too far-flung or impersonal.
Today, the branches of Northfield Savings Bank are concentrated in Washington, Orange, Windsor and Chittenden Counties.
An eye toward the future, a knack for innovation
Conservative as we have been in managing our depositors' money, operationally, Northfield Savings Bank has always been an innovator, ready to try something new.
Here are some of our firsts:
We became the first Vermont bank to go online with real-time, computerized data processing (1967). Now, we have Online Banking so customers can use their computers to access accounts.
We were Vermont's first savings bank to offer checking services (1975). Today we offer a variety of Personal Checking Accounts designed to suit your financial needs.
In 1978, we were the first bank in central Vermont to install automated teller machines. We now have 13 ATMs serving our customers, and we participate in the state-wide Falcon network.
As part of our continuing commitment to deliver contemporary financial products to our customers, in 2001 we introduced Investment Services, launched an enhanced website, expanded e-banking options, and completed a conversion to all new computer software.
Commitment to the community
As in 1867, our focus remains distinctly local. Our assets are invested in Vermont property, people and businesses. We are committed to helping our neighbors prosper right here in the state of Vermont. In 2002, our Trustees formalized the Bank's policy of donating 10% of profits to Vermont community organizations.
With 13 offices serving 69 communities, Northfield Savings Bank has grown from a box safe tucked away in a haberdashery to the largest mutual bank headquartered in Vermont. Northfield Savings Bank has grown, not by being ambitious, but by being financially prudent and technologically innovative, and by providing high-quality, personal service to our customers.