Connecticut’s gaming industry remained in the doldrums in January, as both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun reported declines in their slot revenues of 8.3 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively, for the month.

Foxwoods reported $37.1 million in slots revenues, down from $40.7 million in January 2013. The amount of money bettors pushed through its machines— a/k/a the handle — declined 14 percent to $433.3 million.

Mohegan Sun's slots revenue for the month was $43.3 million, down from $47.1 million a year ago. Its handle fell more than five percent, to $542.6 million.

As a result of the revenue declines, the state will receive $1.9 million less in January slots revenue compared to January 2013. The two casinos pay 25 percent of slots revenue each month to the Connecticut Special Revenue Fund.

Officials at both casinos attributed the decline both to increasing competition from other gaming venues throughout the Northeast as well as to inhospitable January weather.

 NEW HAVEN — First Niagara Bank has been recognized by personal finance website NerdWallet for its consumer-friendly products and services. First Niagara was named a “best bank” for online/mobile banking and branch/ATM access. NerdWallet’s Consumer Banking Index evaluates banks and credit unions based on five criteria: free checking, high-yield savings, branch/ATM access, online/mobile access, and security.  These criteria were selected by a survey of consumers as the top considerations when choosing a financial institution. Autumn 2013 marks the inaugural release of this index and includes 50 of the nation’s largest banks.

 “We are thrilled to be recognized by NerdWallet for our commitment to our customers,” said First Niagara Retail Planning Director Jay Clark. “Customers want to be mobile — and we continue to make it easier to bank where and when our customers choose.”

 ESSEX — Essex Savings Bank has once again earned the highest five-Star rating for strength and stability from BauerFinancial Inc. of Coral Gables, Fla., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm, which has been reporting on and analyzing the performance of U.S. banks since 1983. No institution can pay BauerFinancial to rate it, nor can an institution choose to be excluded. Essex Savings Bank has earned this top rating for 71 consecutive quarters. Fewer than ten percent of the nation’s banks can claim this distinction. In particular ESB has excelled in areas of capital adequacy, delinquent loan levels and profitability.

 NEW HAVEN — Liberty Bank has completed its acquisition  of Southern Connecticut Bancorp and its subsidiary, the Bank of Southern Connecticut, headquartered in New Haven.
Shareholders of Southern Connecticut Bancorp approved the merger earlier this year and were to receive $3.76 in cash for each share of Southern Connecticut Bancorp common stock that they owned.

“We are very pleased to welcome the Bank of Southern Connecticut’s customers and employees to Liberty Bank,” said Chandler J. Howard, president and CEO of Liberty Bank.
“This merger will offer an expanded line of products and services to Bank of Southern Connecticut customers, including debit cards, a customer service center, electronic conveniences like mobile banking, and 44 additional banking locations.” Howard added.

 GLASTONBURY — Rockville Bank is invading New Haven  County.  And, according to bank officials, that’s a good thing.

In July, the 22-branch community bank announced plans to open a 2,000-square-foot,  full service retail banking branch at 2290 Whitney Avenue in Hamden by the end of 2013.  Last month, Rockville also announced that its application to open  a North Haven branch at 117 Washington Avenue had been green-lighted by the FDIC. That location — a two-story, 5,000-square-foot space, is expected to open  during the third quarter of 2013.

“New Haven County is a unique opportunity that fits very well with our community bank strategy and our goal to become the best option to serve the area’s community banking needs,” said Rockville Bank President William H.W. Crawford IV. “Both our North Haven and Hamden offices will have familiar faces working there who have close personal and professional ties to the area and have built a strong banking reputation among their customers and the community. That’s genuine community banking and that’s what Rockville Bank is bringing to Hamden and now North Haven.”