Alice Kalas has earned a little recognition after fifty years as a customer, her bank decided.
Kalas, of Ellington, Conn., has been a retail customer for more than 50 years of Rockville Bank, which recently merged with United Financial in Glastonbury, Conn. On top of that, she celebrates her 95th birthday next week.
So United Chief Executive Bill Crawford thought the company should do something to show its appreciation. At its annual meeting on Tuesday, Crawford presented Kalas a with bouquet of flowers and wished her a happy birthday on behalf of the bank.
"It got a big cheer from the crowd," Crawford said. "She's a lovely lady and a great promoter of our bank. We just thought it would be a cool thing to recognize her 50 years with the bank, and recognize her for her 95th birthday."
Kalas has had close ties with the bank for many years. Kalas had known former Rockville CEO Bill McGurk well, but had never met Crawford, who succeeded McGurk in 2011 and then became United's chief after the merger. Rockville branch manager Thora Cowperthwaite told Crawford that Kalas wanted to meet him.
Crawford was game, of course. The bank arranged for a car service to pick her up and bring her to the annual meeting.
"I figured anybody who's been a customer with us for 50 years, I should know," he said.
United and Rockville completed their merger of equals on April 30. It was one of the largest deals announced last year and a significant shift in New England community banking's landscape. The combined company has fifty branches in Massachusetts and Connecticut.