GARDINER — Savings Bank of Maine today announced it will change its name to The Bank of Maine.

The name change comes after a yearlong transformation of the bank that brought with it “an experienced new management team, the addition of more than 60 positions statewide and a renewed commitment to providing the citizens of Maine with superior banking products and services,” according to a release from the bank.

“This year, the bank celebrates its 177th year, and while we continue to focus on providing our customers with the high level of service they have come to expect from this institution, we realize customer needs are changing,” said Savings Bank of Maine Chief Executive Officer and Chairman John Everets. “Our new name reflects our commitment to meeting those changing needs and making the bank a leading institution in Maine and elsewhere.”

The bank began the year free from the regulatory scrutiny that governed much of its business and threatened its survival last year.

In January, the federal Office of Thrift Supervision released the bank from two regulatory orders that since August 2009 had imposed tighter lending restrictions, mandated internal restructuring and required the bank to raise cash to cover losses.

One of those orders — a “prompt corrective action” directive issued in March 2010 — set a Sept. 30, 2010, deadline for boosting cash. Otherwise, the bank would have had to liquidate assets or arrange to be acquired.

Everets and Willard Soper, the bank’s president and chief operating officer, led an investor group that took over the bank in May 2010 and injected $60 million into the institution.

The rescinded federal orders mean Savings Bank of Maine will be charged a lower insurance premium by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It also reduces the accounting and legal costs the bank has incurred to comply with the orders, Everets said.

Meanwhile, Savings Bank of Maine plans to use its strengthened position to open a 33rd branch, at 2 Canal Plaza in Portland’s Old Port. Everets said the bank has already started leasing space and expects to open the branch soon.

Savings Bank of Maine grew to 32 branches over the past decade through a series of acquisitions that introduced the bank to the Aroostook, Washington and York counties.

The bank will staff the Portland branch by hiring new employees and transferring current staffers from other locations, according to Everets.

With 32 branches from York to Fort Kent and more than $830 million in assets, Savings Bank of Maine is one of the state’s largest independent banks. The Bank was founded in 1834.

“Two-thousand eleven will be an exciting year, marked with branch and staff growth, a new array of banking products and service improvements and further upgrades to the bank’s technology infrastructure,” said Everets. “We are dedicated to helping our customers reach their financial goals by providing innovative financial solutions that rival those of the country’s largest institutions, all with the quality and care of your neighborhood bank, with a 177 year history.”

The name change will go into effect May 16. Existing customers will begin to see communications about the new name this month.


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