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Bank offering is a success

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

CHICOPEE Chicopee Savings Bank President William Wagner said he was "very happy" with the stock offering last week.

"I consider it a successful offering. It went as planned," he said.

The sale of the stock has given the bank greater capital which will be used to remain competitive in an ever-changing bank business environment.

Chicopee Bancorp, Inc. had received regulatory approval to complete the conversion of Chicopee Savings Bank from a mutual to a stock form. Chicopee Bankcorp sold nearly seven million shares of common stock to eligible depositors and employees at $10 a share.

The bank will be trading its stock on the Nasdaq Gobal Market under symbol of "CBNK."

Wagner said that since the sale the $10 a share stock has appreciated to $14.50.

Wagner explained that the conversion to the stock form has raised enough capital to "enable us to perform an aggressive plan going forward to expand our branches."

Normally the bank has opened a new branch every three to four years, he said. With additional competition from banks from eastern Massachusetts and Connecticut, he said Chicopee Savings did not have the capital to expand as fast as it should.

"Time is of the essence," he added.

The conversion gives the bank not only the capital it needs, but it will have more money to loan.

"It puts us in a great position [to compete]," he said, " and it returns capital to the community."

Although Wagner declined to say where or how the bank would expand, he did say he anticipates the expansion will create 35 new jobs over the nest four years.

The element of the conversion that excites Wagner the most is the creation of the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, which will make charitable donations in the communities where the bank has its branches.

Chicopee Bancorp contributed over 551,064 shares at $10 each to establish the Foundation.

Wagner said the new Foundation "enables the bank to expand its gift-giving above historic levels."