NEWBURYPORT — When Institution for Savings President and CEO Michael Jones welcomed guests to the bank’s annual meeting last March, he told them 2020 would be a year they would remember forever.
At the time, he was referring to a year honoring the bank’s 200th anniversary with a celebration that would last throughout 2020 – or so he thought.
At the bank’s 201st annual meeting held this week via Zoom and attended virtually by nearly 300 corporators and employees, Jones recapped the events of the year that concluded with the bank reporting record net-operating income of $25.7 million during one of the most challenging times in its 200-year history, according to a press release.
Guests also watched a 12-minute video recapping the bank’s perseverance during this period, followed by Jones’ presentation of the annual President’s Award to three retail employees who went above and beyond to serve customers during the pandemic.
Jones presented awards to three employees who staffed essential and busy drive-up windows when all other offices were closed during the height of the pandemic.
Bonnie Antoniou of the Storey Avenue office in Newburyport, Eileen Burnham of the Gloucester office and Justin Landy of the Depot Square office in Ipswich received the awards, which come with a cash gift and an extra week of vacation.
“These employees processed hundreds of transactions daily and never lost their kindness and compassion, even when the line went out to the street,” Jones said. “They went above and beyond every day to serve our customers in the most challenging of times, and they are the bank’s true front-line heroes.”
During the meeting, Jones reported that assets in 2020 reached $3.964 billion, increasing by $248 million, or 7%, over 2019. Total loans and total deposits ended the year at $2.78 billion, and $3.1 billion respectively, he said.
The bank reported net income of $46.4 million, its second-best year ever, Jones said. Total capital increased $48 million and remains strong at $455 million, providing opportunities for future growth and expansion, he said. Strong earnings resulted in a return on average assets of 1.21 percent, which once again places the Institution for Savings at the top of Massachusetts banks.
Jones noted that this past year, more than ever, the bank felt an obligation to further help its employees, customers and communities in their time of need due to the stress of the pandemic.
“We did our best to help as we offered temporary loan payment relief programs, participated in the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, allowed employees to work from home," Jones said.
In 2020, the bank’s charitable foundation donated $1.8 million, including $300,000 in emergency funds authorized by the bank’s trustees last spring to help non-profits, which were adversely affected by the pandemic, with a concentration on food pantries.
“Throughout the ups and downs of the pandemic, we never lost sight of our commitment to support the non-profits organizations in our communities,” Jones said. “Our Giving for Good program was also critically important: each month our employees went out into our communities to safely ‘pay it forward’ by buying lunch for first responders, giving gift cards to school personnel and local restaurant workers, and helping those in need during this difficult time for so many. The unwavering efforts of our employees continue to solidify the true meaning of the bank’s vision statement. I am truly honored to have led this bank during what was without question my most challenging year as president.”
In addition, Jones cited 2020 milestones, including recognition by The Daily News as Best Bank (11th consecutive year) and Best Customer Service; by The Salem News as Best Bank; by the Boston Business Journal as a Top Charitable Giver and a Best Place to Work; by Banker & Tradesman, which awarded the institution with Banking Choice Awards (northeast Massachusetts): #1 in Community Contributions and #2 Overall Quality; and recognition with several Wicked Local Readers’ Choice Awards.
Jones said the Institution for Savings was recognized as a Boston Globe Top Places to Work choice for the 13th consecutive year, and was named Large Business of the Year by the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce.
The bank's video can be viewed at institutionforsavings.com.