City Limits Show – Bank of Utica History
So my name is Barry Sinnott, I am the fourth generation here at the Bank of Utica and it was started by my great grandfather John J. Sinnott back in 1927. Uh, it’s been here, headquartered in downtown Utica ever since. We started off actually on Blandina Street and then we moved to this building pretty early on, it was during the war, I think it was 1944, that’s when we moved to this building. It used to be the Utica Gas and Electric building. My grandfather, Roger Sinnott, was the second generation; he actually served in World War II. He was the youngest bank president in America when he became bank president that would have been in 1950 and he would have been 36 years old. Uh, my great grandfather was president at the bank here for fifty years, from 1950 until 2000. My dad would be the third generation, Tom Sinnott, and uh, Tom’s been president here since 2000. And, I’ve started my career here after college I came here and I did an internship where I was working up in the Bookkeeping Department, the Computer Department, uh General Ledger and also here on the teller line. I came back to the Bank here in 2010 and I worked in Personal Banking and uh, in Operations. We’ve been locally owned and operated here in Downtown Utica since 1927 and uh, we only have one branch but, although we only have one branch, we’re still the largest bank in terms of deposits here in Oneida County. And a few years ago we were actually the largest full service community bank in the whole nation, at around a billion dollars. We’re very happy to work with any organizations that are dealing with small business, whether it’s the City of Utica, Mohawk Valley EDGE, SUNY IT, or the Small Business Development Center. In fact, we have nearly fifty million in loans for small business and I think that makes us the second or third largest in the County here for small business loans. With some of these development agencies, you know we’ve had a modicum of different loans; uh a few examples would be, we’ve had a microbrewery that’s come to us, a meat packing operation and also a spray foam product. We don’t really do too much outside of the area because we are very devoted to Utica and we have one branch located here in Utica so, we’re really dedicated to our area which includes basically Oneida County and Herkimer County.
As we talk about the Bank of Utica, I think we talk about really what the roots are of Utica, New York. Uh, they’ve been here for decades, uh, they’re always reaching out, they’re always helping. They are what I would represent as what Utica is all about. Um, they are outstanding people. They’re always willing to engage over and above just the banking. They’re involved in the community and I think if you look at their commercials, I think that tells you exactly what Utica is all about and I would say at this point, I would like to thank personally, on the show, Mr. Sinnott and the Bank of Utica for coming forward in a time that ah, the city really needed some assistance and he came as he always has in the past and hopefully in the future, so I thank him very much and the Bank of Utica for being there for the City of Utica, New York.
In my generation, we’ve kind of seen Utica when we’ve hit a certain level and when I was in high school, I went to Proctor High School, my friends and I were always pretty positive on the area, and we always wanted to find things we could do here. Downtown Utica was less populated than it is right now. When I was, maybe in the eighties and the nineties, I don’t remember too many restaurants being here. And now there is a whole bunch of restaurants that have opened up here, so I’ve seen some positive changes here in downtown Utica, with restaurants and with bars, with kind of people being here, and I hope the trend continues. There’s a new kind of movement for people in the last twenty years to move back into city and you know, the top tier cities maybe experienced that in the nineties, the second tier cities, the cities that are a little bit larger than Utica, maybe you know Syracuse or Albany, they’ve had their downtown revitalizations that have been happening and I think Utica is on the cusp of that because now we have some loft apartments going up and more people wanting to be downtown, more restaurants opening up, more people want to be here. The way cities were structured was around a downtown. If you don’t have a strong downtown, this urban sprawl just keeps growing and growing and growing, and I feel like we lose our identity. We become a place that’s just more big box stores, where it doesn’t matter if you’re in Iowa or Massachusetts or Texas or New York. It all becomes homogeneous, and one of the same things but, you know by having these downtown Utica restaurants, and people living here we start to reform our identity.
Well there’s some new things that we’re trying to introduce here at the Bank of Utica, uh one thing that everyone is using is mobile phones, everyone’s got a mobile phone now, that was different even ten years ago. I got my first mobile phone less than ten years ago and we’re actually introducing a new product, called Mobile Banking which a lot of banks our size or even bigger than us don’t have and it’s a product where you can actually bank on your cell phone and that’s something I think is going to appeal to my generation and even the generation younger than me, teenagers and uh, people in their twenties because people just want everything at their phone, at their fingertips here and then so that’s actually something we’re introducing this month.
After I graduated from college, and came back to Utica and worked here at the bank for about half a year, then I moved overseas and I actually had been located in Taiwan and China for most of the last ten or twelve years. I’m actually happier here in Utica than I would be in those places and I’m really looking forward to coming back here and raising a family and the quality of life issues are excellent in Utica. We’re a city and we have a lot of people but it’s not so overbearing and so crowded that uh, you feel claustrophobic and closed in like a big city might make you feel sometimes. We are the Bank of Utica, Utica is in our name and uh, we’re here to help in any way we possibly can and we’re gonna be here for a long, long time. We’ve been here for four generations, and uh, you know Utica is our home. Our employees are from here – they work here, they live here, and uh you know any way we can help the city out, we’re gonna try our best. Utica – we’re gonna help it grow and watch it grow.