Two New England thrifts have beefed up their commercial-lending operations by hiring teams of bankers from recently acquired banks.

In Connecticut, the $1.9 billion-asset Rockville Financial Inc. announced Thursday that it has won approval from state regulators to open a commercial lending office in New Haven and that it has hired Stephen Villeco, the the former head of commercial banking at NewAlliance Bank to run it. Joining Villeco as a vice president of commercial lending will be Raymond Kostka, his former colleague at New Haven-based NewAlliance, and Matt Proto, who was most recently was a top commercial lender at Bank of Southern Connecticut in New Haven and before that worked with Villeco at NewAlliance.

In Massachusetts, the $1.9 billion-asset East Boston Savings Bank has established a commercial and industrial lending division after hiring six veteran bankers from Danversbank in Danvers, Mass. According to a report in the Boston Business Journal Wednesday, the new division will be headed by Frank Romano, a former executive vice president at Danversbank and will target primarily manufacturing firms and nonprofit organizations.

Both Rockville and East Boston are aiming to take advantage of opportunities created by consolidation. 

NewAlliance, which had been the third-largest banking company in Connecticut, was acquired in April by First Niagara Financial Group Inc. of Buffalo, while Danversbank was bought out earlier this month by the $28 billion-asset People's United Financial Inc. of Bridgeport, Conn.

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