Charles Darwin, the English naturalist is best known for his work in evolutionary biology. His book “On the Origin of Species”, published in 1859, essentially held that it is not the strongest or the smartest of the species which survives—but rather that which best adapts to change.
When I think about 2021 in retrospect, successfully adapting to change sums up the incredible year that we had. Some of the changes were short term, dealing with the constantly shifting sands of the COVID pandemic. Others were an acceleration of changes that have been brewing for years, even decades, suddenly becoming more acute as the epidemic forced changes in the behavior and priorities of our customers and communities.
You will see in our video how our ability to embrace change was responsible for our success. Where it was possible and acceptable, we conducted business live and in-person. Where it wasn’t possible to be in-person, our early and deep adoption of various video technologies allowed us to accomplish great things, even when we were physically separated from our customers and our teammates.
We were the top CT based mortgage lender in Eastern Connecticut*, including helping 77 first-time homebuyers achieve their dream. We helped hundreds of businesses get new financing or have their PPP loans forgiven. Our wealth management team helped thousands of customers navigate the tumultuous investment markets and our Chelsea University team provided guidance to thousands of customers and community members on everything from budgeting to cyber-security to cooking on a budget. All of this helped us to be recognized again as a “Top Workplace” and “Best Bank” by the Day Newspaper.
Darwin’s “Origin” was published five years after our Bank was founded in 1854. In 2021, we celebrated our 167th birthday. Those of us who have the honor of working here today, stand on the shoulders of the many men and women that have helped steer the Bank through the changes of their times. Through wars and natural disasters, through economic booms and busts, Chelsea Groton has stood the test of time. In many respects, we are at our best for our customers and communities during the hardest of times.
I am proud of the incredible team that we have here and the tremendous work they do. They have been “economic first-responders”, never missing a beat during this long and challenging pandemic. Our mission is to help those we serve achieve their goals, and to take them on as if they were our own. I have seen that mission at work each day, and in the hearts and minds of my teammates, and I thank them for everything they do. I am also thankful to our Board of Trustees, our Corporators, and importantly our customers, who trust us with their hard-earned savings and allow us to help finance their dreams and aspirations.
It’s an honor to be a part of the history of Chelsea Groton Bank and to help do our part to adapt and thrive.
*The Warren Group, Inc. Mortgage Marketshare Module Report- All Residentials, All Regions in New London and Windham Counties, CT Annual 2021