Webster was founded in 1935 by Harold Webster Smith in an effort to help his neighbors achieve the dream of home ownership. Only 24 years old, Smith borrowed from family and friends to found First Federal Savings of Waterbury, a lending institution providing home loans at reasonable rates to Connecticut citizens. He served as CEO until 1987 and as chairman of the board until 1995 when First Federal was renamed Webster Bank in his honor.

Among milestones in Webster’s history:

1935 - Harold Webster Smith founds a savings and loan, First Federal Savings of Waterbury.

1938 - First Federal’s assets grow to more than $1 million.

1986 - First Federal converts to stock ownership and forms a holding company.

1987 - James C. Smith becomes the company’s second chief executive officer, succeeding his father, Harold Webster Smith, who continues as chairman.

1995 - Harold Webster Smith retires as chairman and is succeeded by James C. Smith.

1997 - Webster Trust Company, N.A. and Investment Services are added to the bank’s offerings.

1998 - Webster acquires Eagle Bank of Bristol, CT, pushing its statewide branch total over 100.

2002 - Webster becomes a member of the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol, “WBS”.

2003 - Webster announces definitive agreement to acquire FIRSTFED AMERICA BANCORP, INC., the holding company for First Federal Savings Bank of America; the deal, which closed in May 2004, marks Webster’s first retail expansion beyond Connecticut’s borders and into the southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island markets.

2004 - Webster announces that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has accepted the company’s application to be a chartered commercial bank.

2005 - Webster acquires HSA Bank and becomes the leading bank administrator and trustee of health savings accounts in the nation.

2005 - Webster launches new logo and corporate identity featuring the letter "W" inside a circle with a diamond shaped serif pointing toward the northeast, like a compass, to Webster's New England home. The new logo signals Webster's new status as a regional, commercial bank.

2006 - Webster Acquires NewMil Bancorp., Inc. of New Milford, Conn, a state-chartered savings bank with $873 million in assets and 20 branches in Connecticut.

2006 - For the fourth consecutive year, Webster is named the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) most active lender for the SBA's 504 loan program in Connecticut. The program is intended for borrowers who want to acquire commercial real estate and major fixed assets, with as little as a 10 percent investment into the transaction.

2007 - Webster Bank, is selected for the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) 2007 Excellence in Lending Award for its outstanding overall record with SBA's 7(a) and 504 lending programs.

2007 - Webster enters into an agreement to place its brand on 158 ATMs in select Walgreens' pharmacy stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Approximately 150 of the new ATMs are slated for Webster's Massachusetts and Rhode Island market regions.

2007 - Webster Bank is the first bank in Connecticut and the second nationally to offer the Patriot Express Loan that provides to eligible military veterans preferential pricing terms on loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

2009 - Consistent with its vision to be New England’s bank, Webster opens a flagship office in downtown Boston on 100 Franklin Street in the building that once housed the Boston Stock Exchange.

For a timeline of Webster's acquisitions, please look under "Press Kit" in the "News and Events" section of this site.

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