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June 10, 2022

UniBank gears up for its 150 plus two celebration

Photo by Alexander MacDougall Michael Welch, CEO of UniBank

In 1870, Uxbridge Savings Bank was founded to provide financial support to immigrant workers who came to the Blackstone Valley during the Industrial Revolution. Two years later, Whitinsville Savings Bank was formed for the same purpose. 

More than a century later, many of the manufacturing industries have left the region, but the two banks remained, merging in 1988 to form UniBank, one of the Blackstone Valley’s largest employers, with 246 employees and over $2 billion in local deposits, according to the 2021 Worcester Business Journal Book of Lists. The bank officially turned 150 in 2020, but postponed any planned celebration until this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Michael Welch, the CEO of UniBank, said the celebration was important to commemorate the bank as a cornerstone of local industry within the community. During the pandemic, UniBank provided many of the Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses across Central Massachusetts, and has a charitable fund that supports soup kitchens, shelters and schools within the Blackstone Valley. 

“We’ve reflected back on our role in history,” Welch said. “As a mutual bank, a non-stock bank, we chose not to sell out and move our headquarters. So this is a meaningful message in supporting our local companies and institutions.”

The celebration is to take place this Saturday in the center of Whitinsville, a Census-designated place within the town of Northbridge. 

Though the old industrial economy of Worcester has largely dissipated, the city is currently undergoing something of an economic renaissance, symbolized by the construction of Polar Park and the Worcester Red Sox, as well as the introduction of several life sciences companies to the area. Welch said UniBank has continued to play a role in supporting the area’s new economy, such as being one of the founding partners of the WooSox. 

“We’ve positioned ourselves right in the middle of the renaissance of our region,” he said. “Local does matter. I think during the pandemic a lot of businesses learned that you don’t call Manhattan for help. You call Mike Welch in Whitinsville.”

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