Castle Bank turns 3 with a grand celebration.
By Hannah C. Glover, Record-Journal staff

The first raffle prize at the Castle Bank & Trust anniversary celebration on Wednesday night went to the brother of the bank president and chief executive officer, Lawrence McGoldrick.  Hecklers from the crowd at the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce sponsored event shouted �Fix!� as City Councilor George McGoldrick stepped forward to claim his gift basket, but there was not a peep of �Bush!�

After all, McGoldrick is a Democrat, and there were plenty of prizes to go around.  The next name drawn from the fishbowl full of business cards was Joe Oddie, of the Village at Kensington Place retirement village, but he forfeited by leaving early.

So Deb Roman of Roman Oil walked away with the second basket from Valencia Liquor Shop, and Chris Ulbrich of Ulbrich Steel and Judith Slisz of Teikyo Post University each won gift certificates to the Sans Souci Restaurant.

But community business leaders were not gathered just to win prizes.  The event marked the third anniversary of Meriden�s only independent bank.

�To get a bank going these days takes tremendous community support�� Lawrence McGoldrick said, thanking the crowd of about 70.

When McGoldrick was a child, he said, there were nine banks, each with their headquarters in Meriden.  �Now we�re the only one,� McGoldrick said, �which we�re proud of.�

Today, the walls of Castle Bank are decorated with images from the Silver City�s past, including several prints of other independent banks that have long since left or been gobbled up by larger corporations.  At one end of the lobby is a portrait of Home Bank, complete with a bustling street scene with horses and carriages, circa 1863.

McGoldrick opened Castle in 1999 after several years of commercial banking with giants Bank of Boston and Merrill Lynch.  Named for the ridgeline landmark Castle Craig, the bank opened late that April with a dozen employees, no deposits and no loans.

Today, Castle Bank employs 20 people and has started a second branch on East Main Street.  There are also 450 shareholders and a 17-member board of directors.  In January, Castle Bank had recuperated its start-up costs and showed its first profit.

�Larry has worked very hard for everything he�s done,� George McGoldrick said.  �He always has.�

Also at the gathering, McGoldrick toasted another hard worker, Joyce Ragozzino, senior vice president of new business development.  One of the founding members of the bank�s team, Ragozzino�s retirement begins Thursday.

�Put this in your office so you don�t forget me,� Ragozzino joked, handing McGoldrick the plaque awarded to her by the Chamber.

McGoldrick swept Ragozzino away from Hudson United, which she had worked for since it was called Lafayette-American.  �It was a lot of work, but we work well together.  Now, I�m ready to retire,� Ragozzino said.  �It�s been a good ride.�

Thursday, May 02, 2002

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