New Haven Biz-Janaury 4, 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 31

n e w h a v e n b i z . c o m | J a n u a r y 2 0 2 1 | n e w h a v e n B I Z 7 CORNER OFFICE By Melissa Nicefaro A r o u n d t h e R e g i o n A er 40 years of practicing law and a couple of retirements under his belt, Dan Matos is primed for an execu- tive adventure as the new senior vice president and in-house legal counsel for Liberty Bank, which at 195 years old, is one of the largest community banks in America with 60 locations and about $6.5 billion in assets. Matos, of West Hartford, joined the bank in October, charged with growing Liberty into the future. He says that as a big mutual savings bank with many employees and lots of businesses, there is a lot of legal work to do every day and that the diversity of work at the bank is quite extraordinary — and interesting. On any given day, Matos could be addressing an employment issue, or a real estate issue that relates to opening or closing a branch. With a background as a real estate, finance, corporate law and real estate development lawyer, he is well-equipped to handle a diverse array of issues. Aer work- ing for 20 years at a Hartford law firm, he started his own real estate and community development group, which he recently le. e Matos Group was started in the 1980s by a team of lawyers who wanted to dabble in real estate and community development. Matos describes it as an or- ganism of Day Berry & Howard, not of the firm itself, but a few partners who shared a common vision for community investment and development. Eventually a group of Day Berry & How- ard lawyers, including Matos, le the firm to form Matos Group and work on several major projects. For example, the firm helped develop Rentschler Field in East Hartford and near- by outdoor retail store Cabela's, and co-de- veloped the Delamar West Hartford hotel. One of the group's boldest visions was to turn the area around Rentschler Field — home to UConn football and in the shadow of jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney's corporate headquarters — into a mixed-use technology community of the future, where technologists, machinists, and engineers would live, work, and play. e effort, which aimed to attract young people and new busi- nesses, included years of work and planning but never came to fruition. "It was a pretty big vision — and it was from the start a vision that was chal- lenged," Matos explains. "In 2018, the parties said, let's put it aside for now and we'll wait to see what the future brings. I think the parties are distracted, but ... I would love to see that project dusted off and pushed forward again." Hanging up his spurs Aer a lot of community work with gov- ernments and municipalities, which Matos enjoyed for many years, he decided it was time to retire from the Matos Group. "It was time to hang up my spurs and let the younger folks take over," he says. So Matos liquidated his capital account and sold out. His "retirement" led him to his current role at Liberty Bank. "Here at Liberty Bank I'm getting ex- posed to all of those things that I was in the legal and business world. Also a wide va- riety of other matters. It's quite interesting and it gets me up every morning. I come in with an agenda of things to do and then I get peppered with eight or 10 immediate emergencies. It's fun," he says. "You think of Liberty perhaps as being a staid or stodgy old bank. But our offices are modern, they're frankly cutting edge. And many of the things that we're doing as a bank are right on the cutting edge of banking. So it's a lot of fun and I'm really pleased to be part of it," he says. With a relatively new CEO and CFO, Liberty Bank has a lot of new, exciting talent with broad ranges of experience, Matos said. "e CEO, Dave Glidden, was a big-time banker at TD Bank. He has the experience of running a big, big bank, and now he's running this bank. And, he has bold visions for the future," Matos says. "At every level, this bank is really positioning to become one of the major community builders in Connecticut. And, I think that's going to be a great story." n Rentschler Field developer Matos finds new role as Liberty Bank attorney Dan Matos Senior Vice President & In-house Legal Counsel Liberty Bank

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of NewHavenBIZ - New Haven Biz-Janaury 4, 2021