Cutting The People Out Of People’s United Bank–City Institution Stunted By Merger, Blumenthal Ponders Regulatory Action In Major Job Losses

People’s Downtown headquarters.

People’s United Bank is now a shell of its former self. The acorn that surged into a mighty oak sits on the chopping block poised for a corporate cleaver. United no more.

Bridgeport’s preeminent banking institution announced early this year a phaseout of Stop & Shop branches, followed the next month of its purchase by rival M&T Bank Corporation for $7.6 billion.

Now comes word in notification from M&T to state labor officials it will start laying off 747 workers in Connecticut once the deal is complete in October; 661 of the cuts in Bridgeport.

According to several sources in the business community, People’s marketing department has been wiped out, functions absorbed by M&T staff.

The merger will make Buffalo, New York headquartered M&T a national monster, expected to transform into the 11th largest bank in the country, more than 1,000 branches, 2,000 ATMs, roughly $200 billion in assets, covering 12 states from Maine to Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Under the agreement announcement “People’s United’s current headquarters in Bridgeport, Connecticut will become the New England regional headquarters for M&T.”

Irrespective of the announcement, considering all the cuts, you have to wonder how long People’s gleaming Downtown headquarters, built during David Carson’s leadership years, is going to last, and in what form.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, for one, says he’s unnerved by the news, telling the CT Post:

“These reported massive layoffs dramatically threaten the livelihoods of thousands of Connecticut families and directly contradict statements made by the banks when announcing the merge. I am deeply alarmed. I am demanding additional information from the banks and considering seeking federal and state regulatory action. Bank mergers already have taken a toll on jobs and competition in Connecticut and nationwide.”

The job cuts will commence October 1, with the final regulatory approval, and finalized by next May, according to the required filing with state labor department.

René Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of M&T

René Jones, chairman and chief executive officer of M&T, who will lead the combined company in the same capacity, issued this statement for the February announcement.

“In People’s United, we have found a partner with an equally long history of serving and supporting customers, businesses and communities. Combining our common legacies and our complementary footprints will strengthen our ability to serve our communities and customers, and provide solutions that make a difference in people’s lives. I am incredibly excited about this opportunity and look forward to welcoming new customers and team members to our M&T family.”

How many People’s current customers will bail with the massive layoffs and loss of personal touch?

Goodspeed, Klein, Carson, Hawley
From left, in a 1999 photo, executives who built the bank, Norwick R.G. Goodspeed, John A. Klein, David E.A. Carson and Samuel Waller Hawley all served as chief executive officers for People’s Bank, now People’s United Bank.

People’s history birthed in 1842 as Bridgeport Savings Bank in the Downtown store of iron merchants George and Sherwood Sterling on Water Street. On Christmas Eve of that year the first account was opened by Fayerweather lighthouse keeper for his daughter Helen Moore. Four months passed before a single depositor withdrew any money, one dollar.

In 1843, for an annual rent of $12, the tiny savings bank moved to a second-floor room near Water and Wall Streets. In 1845, two weeks before Christmas, a fire spread from an oyster saloon and burned half of Downtown to the ground. Overnight the business center moved from Water Street to Main Street.

The emergence of People’s as a banking beacon for the city and state of Connecticut didn’t happen overnight. It took decades of jaw-boning organizational fortitude by its leaders including Sam Hawley, Nick Goodspeed, Jim Biggs and David Carson navigating thorny state banking regulations.

Difficult to put things together, easy to blow things up.

Are these M&T job cuts just the start? What will emerge from the wreckage?



  1. A massive blow to Bridgeport, just devastating.Can’t help but think the People’s bank headquarters downtown won’t be far behind, M&T simply won’t need such a massive building to house whatever remaining staff stays.And Blumenthal can be “unnerved” all he wants.He can’t sit there and say this comes as a shock to him, when the merger was announced a few months ago the writing was on the wall. He is business savvy enough to know what happens with mergers on this level.
    Also,when a city on the brink, such as Bpt is(contrary to what this administration says), it would it not be reasonable to hear from the leader of the city??, instead, Joe is holed up in Easton,without a word.Does it take a few days to come up with a statement for god’s sake? C’mon Joe,even if you feign outrage, it would at least be something.661 jobs are being eliminated in YOUR city, and you have no comment??. I guess none of us should be surprised..

      1. Mayor Ganim had no involvement with M&T’s decision.
        Harvey Weintraub and Jon A. Pulverenti are trying to steer/force the mayor and make him seem responsible..
        If they’re on your lifeboat, throw ’em overboard!

        1. Hay Local Yokel, if I knew what the hell you were talking about, I’d be glad to comment on it but since I don’t, I’ll just say this. I don’t know Harvey and I don’t know you; my comment was strictly about what I read in Harvey’s comment. Don’t make this into something it’s not. There will be plenty of time and occasion to disagree with me in the days to come. Till then, have a great day, whoever you are and whoever you’re trying to be.

  2. It’s all about “consolidating operations and reducing costs”, which results in job losses. Peoples has been doing that for thirty years. Now that they’ve been bought, things have changed. It’s disheartening to hear Peoples is cutting jobs when in actuality it’s M&T Bank. Until the deal closes, those are the terms Peoples agreed to.
    Some people think Darwin is M&T’s highest-paid employee.
    They got that idea from me.

    1. Why don’t you tell the 661 people who lost their jobs that it’s M&T not People’s that technically cut the job. I’m sure that will make them feel better.

      1. People just sold the company and made a ton of money M&T cut the jobs. Oh, wait. It’s still Peoples until the merger goes thru so it is People that cut the jobs!
        I hope their severance is paid out in cryptocurrency. Local Eyes would enjoy the irony in that.

  3. Although I am sure in the long run Blumenthal bitchin’ won’t accomplish much (maybe save 50 jobs) it’s a hell of a lot more than Mayor Joe still waiting to hear from David Carson has done.
    Paging Steve Stafstrom. Can a Bridgeport politician at least say this sucks.

    1. I’ve made bigger mistakes but my expertise in Bridgeport affairs tells me Rep. Stafstrom has a special interest in People’s Bank — his wife works there in wealth management, a topic relevant to today’s circumstances.

  4. Paging Stevie A! Paging Stevie A!
    It’s time for you to chirp in and tell us how great this is for Bridgeport!
    Thank Mayor Joe for his leadership and guidance in this matter.

    1. Bob, little Stevie A will say what a great Joe Mayor Joe Ganim did with the lost of those jobs and seeing that it’s Sunday he’s allowed to speak not to tomorrow during work hours.

  5. At least the old Mayor Joe would have been in the loop from before it was publicly announced. He would have come up with at least a make believe plan on what to do with the building. Have the city buy it and consolidate all of the city business there. Though that would suck being with the commoners once again.
    Turn it into a multiplex of business, residential, restaurants and retail. Swap the Margaret Morton Center in the deal to have People offices there. In a year or two People’s will fit in there with room to spare.
    Start looking for a preferred developer to handle this. This farce could go on for 10 years.

  6. I was just reading the CT Post on line and did not realize all of Mayor Joe’s time is being spent on resolving the Colarblends Crisis.
    Please forgive me Mayor Joe.
    Once you get this straightened out maybe you could look into the People’s Bank situation.

  7. Kudos to the City of Bridgeport Mayor’s Office, the Bridgeport DECD, the Bridgeport City Council, the Downtown Special Services District (leadership), the BRBC, the BCFC (too bad that we don’t have Chris Bruhl to kick around anymore…), the State of Connecticut DECD, and, of course, Governor Lamont, for keeping their eyes so keenly focused on the Bridgeport economic horizon and taking such extraordinary measures to safeguard our last remaining, major commercial employer/taxpayer and perhaps most venerable remaining vestige of Bridgeport prosperity, People’s Bank…

    Great job! Lets keep you all in your positions/offices so that we can finally just bulldoze Bridgeport and create that major, regional airport — with plenty of runway space — that has been in the dreams of the local business world for so many decades… (Don’t worry about what to do with the residents; there should be enough room left around the airport for a Connecticut “Soweto” to preserve a servants enclave for down-county; the rest can be relocated to Waterbury, New London, Willimantic…)

    Let’s go, Connecticut! Keep those jobs fleeing the state!

    Happy Bicentennial, Bridgeport!


  8. Oh; sorry! I forgot the Bridgeport GA Delegation — all of the future Bridgeport mayors and governors — who also have their gazes fixed so keenly on Bridgeport’s economic future…

  9. Karma’s a Bitch…………………………..
    Almost 50 years ago People’s Savings Bank bought my hometown(New Haven)’s National Savings Bank. They quickly fired all the headquarters staff, loan and mortgage officers and branch management. No advance state notice was required back then.

    So, to all the soon to be unemployed People’s United employees, sorry, you are getting what your employer has done repeatedly as it swallowed up smaller banks over the past 50 years. You should have been expecting it. Small cities such as Bridgeport don’t have any hometown banks of significance anymore. Back-offices have moved offshore, loan decisions are made hundreds or thousands of miles away. That branch you were used to is now often referred to as a store. You are nop longer a valued client, but a customer of a mass merchant.

  10. No worries,Joe is in negotiations with Exact Capital to develop the People’s tower into a Performing Arts center. There will a Theater,along with retail stores&a hotel.Exact Capital just has to secure funding. Couple this with the new Ice Skating Ring, and the downtown district should be just fine!

  11. Oh,and I almost forgot,once the new Movie Theater, Luxury Hotel, Supermarket,& Dave & Buster’s opens up at Steel Point,things will really start going in Bpt.!!

  12. “Blumenthal ponders regulatory action”. Sure, no matter what, a business will do what it needs to do to be profitable so ultimately the government will do what it does and in the end it won’t really matter. Of course the country is now in the “government knows best” mode and if successful we can all be told to do what it thinks best….‘for the people!’ For now there won’t be a luxury hotel, casino, steel point b.s., etc etc only because in Bridgeport, the powers to be work extra hard and take many years to figure out how to get more liquor stores approved! That’s the kind of thing that’s important. How’s that going for you Mike? Parking and traffic situations doing ok? Are you “killing it” yet?!!!! Lol!

  13. So Rich, what are you suggesting? The People’s Bank building downtown should be the largest liquor store in the world? Separate tasting rooms? Turn Steel Point into the largest Brewpub in the US? One massive beer garden?
    Our OPED has an expert in the field. I think you maybe on to something there. There’s a future in liquor. With the outlook so depressing for Bridgeport people need to drink. Tie this in with the pot industry and Bridgeport can reach new highs!!!

    1. Lol! Of course that’s not what I’m suggesting! You know exactly what I mean and the rest of your comments show that (facetiously as I would do it!). They work so hard to get things done for their chosen few like Mike et al, but when it really matters for the good of all they could give a shit! As you know, The only thing that’s going to help Bridgeport is a good handle on the lever to flush everything else down the toilet and start over fresh- without most of the people “in charge“ now.

  14. This just in. M&T says they will make hiring People’s laid off employees a priority IF they meet all the requirements and training for other jobs in their company. NOT ENOUGH.
    No mention of severance. No mention of training for other jobs. No mention of relocation to other jobs. But if we have an opening already for a job you already know how to do we will hire you rather than paying your unemployment …. maybe.
    Thank you Mr Jones. Thank you.

  15. By the way, does anyone know how many Regional HQ’s M&T has? How many employees they have in these Regional HQ’s?
    Just wondering if this is a well played ploy that will close in two years.

  16. Over 48 hours since the layoff announcement,and STILL not a peep out of Joe or anyone else in this administration.,there has to be a reason Joe hasn’t said anything and obviously gave the order to everyone else to not say a word.

    1. Bob,he along with the rest of the administration were at Testo’s all night. They had more important things to do than worry about Bpt, they were concentrating on make sure the right individuals get endorsed for re-election.Mario and Joe making sure no one gets endorsed that may ask questions or cause trouble.Last thing they need is anyone upsetting the “operation”.


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