HARTFORD — The cost of delivering state and local public services in Connecticut has grown at a pace 405 percent faster than median personal income in Connecticut over the past 12 years. State and local expenditures have grown 59 percent faster than gross state product. This trajectory has made Connecticut the eighth highest spending state in the country on a per capita basis.


Those numbers come from the Connecticut Institute for the 21st Century, which on March 6 is scheduled to brief state lawmakers on the need to control the skyrocketing costs of delivering state and local public services. The event is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. in the Old Judiciary Room at the State Capitol.

The Institute is chaired by James Torgerson, better known in these parts as chairman and president of UIL Holdings, parent company of United Illuminating. Torgerson is scheduled to speak at the event.

Survey charts uptick in business optimism


HARTFORD — Connecticut's economy is showing some signs of improvement, but issues at the international and national levels remain concerns, according to a new statewide survey of companies.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association's fourth quarter 2011 economic survey found that businesses were more optimistic in the fourth quarter than they were in the previous three-month period.

Among CBIA’s key performance indicators:

• 47 percent of respondents expected increased production and sales for the next quarter, up from 35 percent in the third quarter;

• 46 percent of respondents said they anticipated future gains in productivity and wages;

• 23 percent expected to add workers compared to the 13 percent who said they expected to pare their workforce over the next quarter. That compares favorable to Q3, when only 16 percent said they expected to add positions and 22 percent expected to cut jobs.

"The fourth quarter survey was a welcome change to the results of our third quarter report," says CBIA economist Peter Gioia. "While too early to determine a trend, the survey shows optimism for growth on par with a steady economic recovery."

The survey also saw executives expecting more growth nationally first, then locally. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they expected the U.S. economy to improve, while 19 percent expected further worsening. Although still better than last quarter, expectations at the state level are weaker. Twenty-three percent of respondents see the state economy improving while 34 percent expect continued deterioration.

"While this survey shows business leaders are beginning to gain confidence, there are challenges to be met going forward,” Gioia says. “That's why it's important for our policymakers to continue to lean the cost of state government, reform public education, reduce and address barriers to economic growth, and modernize state infrastructure.”


Conducted by the state’s largest business organization, CBIA's fourth quarter 2011 economic survey was emailed to 1,950 Connecticut businesses in early January. A total of 216 executives responded, an 11-percent response rate that yielded a margin of error of plus or minus 6.8 percent.


Bridgeport bank to acquire 56 Citizens branches in metro area


BRIDGEPORT — People’s United Bank will expand its footprint in metropolitan New York following completion of its all-cash, $3.25 million acquisition of 56 Citizens Financial Group branches in and around New York City.


Fifty-two of those branches are in Stop & Shop supermarkets, while four are “traditional” bank branches.


The agreement with Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial also calls for People’s United to assume $325 million in deposits associated with the branches in the deal.


All of the branches are located in New York, including 29 on Long Island, eight in Westchester County and six in New York City proper.


The deal will more than double the number of People’s United branches in the Empire State. The Bridgeport-based bank currently has 37 branches in New York, the majority of which were acquired when People’s United acquitted the Long Island-based Bank of Smithtown in 2010.


“We see a clear and immediate opportunity to increase the deposits in the acquired branches, providing additional funding for our strong franchise-wide loan growth,” said People’s United Chief Executive Officer John P. Barnes in a statement.


People’s United was among the first banks nationwide to develop branch networks in supermarkets, opening its first Stop & Shop branches nearly two decades ago. Today the bank operates 87 Stop & Shop branch locations in Connecticut, and their in-store average deposit range of $30 million to $35 million far outpaces the industry average.


"This acquisition leverages the excellent in-store banking track record of People's United to deepen our presence and introduce the convenience of our in-store banking to customers on Long Island and in Westchester County," Barnes said. "It is a unique opportunity to be the exclusive provider of banking services at 139 Stop & Shop stores across Long Island, southern New York state and Connecticut."


Citizens Financial is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, which was bailed out by the British government in 2008.

HAMDEN — One of the area’s newest community banks, Hamden’s Quinnipiac Bank & Trust, is celebrating its fourth year in business on March 6. The bank also recently marked its third straight profitable quarter, ended December 31.


“It’s been a marvelous run,” said the bank’s president, Mark Candido. “Opening our bank in a year threatened by a recession, and being able to carry our success into 2012 is a credit to both the community, our great staff and our board of directors.


”We haven’t missed a beat during these difficult financial years,” Candido added. “Our total assets have increased dramatically quarter by quarter to its current $76 million. Our non-performing loan figure is virtually nil.”


Said Candido: “We’re proud of our designation as a ‘community’ bank. We’ve lived up to our community obligations with food and clothing drives, free shredding events for the public, along with monetary donations to various charities and causes.”


Quinnipiac Bank & Trust is located at 2600 Dixwell Avenue. It can be reached by phoning 203-407-0756 or visiting quinnipiacbank.com.

WATERBURY — Naugatuck Savings Bank has announced plans to open a branch office at 3580 East Main Street in Waterbury this spring — the bank’s 18th branch office. “We continue to grow our branch network as we strive to better serve our customers” said Mark Yanarella, Naugatuck Savings’ chairman and CEO. “The east end of Waterbury seemed to be a natural location for us to expand our footprint. Our new office will feature our customer-oriented design including a computer café and investment center, created to enhance our customer’s banking experience.

“We provide the products and services to help our customers achieve their financial goals and provide a secure financial future for their families,” added Yanarella. “We also offer a full line of business products from business loans, deposit solutions and wealth management to merchant and payroll services.”

A wholly owned subsidiary of Nutmeg Financial, MHC, Naugatuck Savings has been in business since 1870. Locally owned, the bank is committed to helping individual customers as well as the community at large. Naugatuck Savings Bank offers personal banking, business banking and financial services at its 17 branch locations.