Belmont Savings Streaks To 16th Consecutive Quarter of Growth

Photo: Bob Mahoney, president and CEO of BSB Bancorp, Inc.

Everyone can appreciate a good “streak.” The Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio is still remembered for hitting in 56 straight games while the Boston Celtics won eight consecutive world championships in the 1950s and 60s, a record unlikely to be broken.

And you can add another familiar name to those holding impressive streaks as the parent company of Belmont Savings Bank, BSB Bancorp, Inc., announced recently it had achieved 16 straight quarters of increased earnings.

At the end of the second quarter on June 30, the bank’s net income reached $4 million, a 36 percent increase over the same quarter last year as strong loan creation and deposits drove the results. Since the beginning of the year, the bank reported net income of $7.7 million as compared to $5.5 million for the six months, a 40 percent jump.

“The bank’s success is due to our focus,” said Robert Mahoney, BSB’s CEO and president who since he was hired in 2010 has led the 132-year-old bank from a sleepy $400 million mutual savings bank into a stock-ownership holding company with $2.37 billion in assets, placing it in the top 400 banks – 376th to be exact – in the US.

“We created a road map seven years ago that has worked successfully in a terrific community with dedicated customers,” said the Wellesley resident who helped build Citizens Bank into a regional powerhouse in the early 2000s.

Unlike the recent trend of building through rival acquisitions or relying heavily on technology, Belmont Saving’s formula powering its growth is, well, boring; over the past seven years it has concentrated on writing mortgages on lots of residential homes and lend to commercial real estate ventures that fall in the bank’s Goldilocks range – not too big and not too small.

“We’re not into selling wealth management services or insurance or other financial products,” he said. ‘We decided back in 2011 to have a narrow view of where our growth would come from. I like the notion of controlling our own destiny,” said Mahoney.

And the numbers show it. Total loans – 1 to 4 family homes and commercial properties – grew by 11 percent comparing the first half of this year with last year to $201.6 million while deposits increased in the first six months to $1.61 billion from $1.47 billion.

What that vanilla portfolio produces besides earnings is safety: The bank’s total nonperforming assets have dropped to $1.7 million, or about three-quarters of one percent of total assets while outright net charge offs was $32,000 in the first half of the year. 

The four years of steady growth has rewarded bank shareholders with its stock price breaking the $30 barrier recently as total stockholders’ equity increased by $8.9 million to $169.8 million as of June 30.

Mahoney said matching the recent record of double digit growth will be harder to achieve as the bank continues to grow ever bigger – there are only so many home mortgages a bank can write in the competitive Metrowest market  – “so all I can do is focus on earnings since can’t control the other parts of the economy.”

But streaks, whether on the playing field or in business, can end suddenly if the person or organization doesn’t recognize potential roadblocks before them. The big one is a change in the national economy. Mahoney said he sees headwinds on the horizon, noting that the current economic recovery is entering its seventh year which is the usual length of financial rallies while other signs such as rental rates, occupancy and equity values that are “overheated.”

“It looks a lot like 1999, 2003 and 2007,” said Mahoney, reeling off the years the most recent of the downturns began.

Yet Mahoney doesn’t believe a decline, when it does come, will be severe, especially in New England with the economy driven by strong sectors such as biotech, medicine, universities and specialized manufacturing, saying “we are on a better ship to weather the coming storm.”

While bankers have well-honed strategies to ride out a downturn, there is a new and potentially greater threat to Belmont Savings and the entire banking structure: technologic disruption.

Like many industries, the banking sector is seen as a prime target for new tech-based firms that are looking to nimbly take advantage of an industry that they see as underserving their customers. An article in Inc. magazine points to startups that are “debanking” customers with mobile financial services. 

While recognizing the push towards technology creating fundamental changes to the industry, Mahoney contends banks such as Belmont Savings are meeting that challenge with apps and online services that are making a trip to a branch or the main office unnecessary and putting its customers in control.

“Amazon can’t transfer funds any faster than we can. And we have free ATM transactions around the world,” said Mahoney. Nor does he think that large firms such as Apple or Google will want to venture into the banking due to the burden of regulatory demands.

“If [the tech companies] think that dealing with the [Securities and Exchange Commission] is rough, they will not want to see the federal and state regulations we have to meet. That’s why, I think, they haven’t entered the business,” said Mahoney.

After engineering the bank’s multi-year streak, Mahoney said he isn’t ready to take the accolades and retire, who, at 69, is the same age as Aerosmith’s frontman Steven Tyler who is about to go on tour.

“I failed at retirement twice before so why try it a third time?” Mahoney said.

After Five Years, Mahoney’s Goal for Belmont Savings to be State’s Most Admired Bank

Photo: Robert Mahoney with Anne Paulsen at the opening of the Underwood Pool in August.

When asked what Belmont residents should know about Robert Mahoney, the CEO and president of Belmont Savings Bank said that “I’m 67 years old, and I don’t do anything I don’t like any more.” 

If there is one thing the Wellesley resident who has spent his entire career in banking wants to do is continue to run one of the best managed community banks in Massachusetts, 

“I got the chance to do a job and get paid for something I love to do. How cool is that? I’m the luckiest guy around,” said Mahoney who recently celebrated his fifth year at the helm of BSB Bancorp, Inc. the bank holding company whose subsidiary, Belmont Savings Bank, provides banking products and services.

So far, the former CEO and president of Citizens Bank has used his vast expertise to good results in Belmont. Taking charge in 2010, Mahoney has turned the once sleepy community bank into a well respected regional competitor, tripling the total assets from $400 million to $1.55 billion (as of June), increasing revenues to $10 million in the past quarter with net earnings reaching $1.6 million in the quarter ending in June. 

According to analyst web site, Belmont Savings is out performing peers institutions such as Wellesley Bancorp, Hingham Institution for Savings, People’s United Financial, and United Financial Bancorp Inc. in areas such as revenue, operating cash flow, and lending in the most recent quarter.

Mahoney also helped convert the 130-year-old institution from a mutual bank to a stock-ownership holding company in 2011. As of Tuesday, Sept. 22, the stock price was at $21.51, about 25 percent high than a year earlier. 

In addition to lead the bank to a solid financial footing for future growth, Mahoney has positioned the bank to be the center of philanthropic giving in Belmont. Establishing the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation in 2011 with proceeds from the bank’s conversion in 2011, grants from the $4 million endowment has been used to help build the town’s new pool and varsity court at the Belmont High and sponsor events throughout the year.

The bank has also worked with the Foundation for Belmont Education in the creation of the Belmont Education Rewards account which benefits the FBE and the customer. In total the bank and the Foundation have provided the FBE more than $45,000.

The Belmontonian and Belmont Media Center sat down with Mahoney to discuss his five years at the bank.

Q. In the five years since you were named President and CEO of Belmont Savings Bank, the bank’s total assets have tripled and have made what was once a small community bank into something of a financial powerhouse in MetroWest. Knowing you have a BA in Chemistry from UMass Amherst, what sort of alchemy are you doing to achieve this?

Mahoney: I’ve been very lucky to have been able to go to UMass and learned to do ‘hard’ stuff. Banking is very easy compared to organic chemistry.

Q. You had a long banking career starting at the Bank of Boston than as CEO of Citizens Bank which was a smaller regional bank when you took over which ended up with assets of $11 billion when it was sold. 

Mahoney: Citizens in 1993 had four branches in Massachusetts and $400 million in assets, coincidently the exact same size as Belmont Savings Bank in 2010. It was the eighth largest bank in Rhode Island and over the course of 15 years, it became the eighth largest bank in America. It was a lot of fun for the people who worked there because they got to be in a place where their job got bigger just by being there. Banking isn’t always fun, but banking at Belmont Savings is fun.

Q: What in your past experience did you bring to Belmont Savings Bank that has spurred its growth?

Mahoney: I’m a lender. I trained in lending at First National Bank of Boston for 23 years and did all kinds of lending. But more importantly, I know how to get it back. From a technical standpoint, that’s my primary skill. I’m also a pretty decent marketer, I know how to sell stuff and talk to people.

I’ve been doing this for 45 years, so I’d like to think I’ve learned how to get people excited about working at a place, that I can draw a picture what the world could look like if we achieve certain things and how much more fun it would be, and that’s what leaders do. Leaders draw a vision or a picture of a future state that’s better than the current state and get people to run through walls to get there.

Q: So what picture did you give your employees when you came here?

Mahoney: I wanted us to all work at the most admired bank in Massachusetts. I wanted people to go home at the holidays and meet old friends and tell them ‘I work at Belmont Savings Bank’ and their friends say, “Wow, that’s a great bank.” I think it’s great fun to work at an admired corporation. There aren’t many out there. Working for a great company, really admired company is a huge source of physic income. 

Q: What areas of banking are you targeting?

Mahoney: So what does most admired mean? First of all, you have to be growing. It’s hard to conceive of a really admired company being static.

When we first got here in 2010, we wanted to get to a billion dollars in assets. A billion dollars is a kind of a rite of passage, an entry point for a good sized admired bank. We wanted to be profitable because anyone can grow a business and not make any money. We wanted to have the services of the big banks but the touch of the community banks; the on-line services, the mobile banking services.

It shouldn’t be a compromise to be a customer of the Belmont Savings Bank; it should be equal or better and deliver the personal touch. Have people answer the phone, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ we have a human being answer the phone, every day every hour. 

Q: Belmont Savings is known as a lending bank with an emphasis on residential and increasingly commercial real estate lending. What is your approach towards lending?

Mahoney: Residential home mortgage lending is the fundamental base of any community bank, it’s what really links you to your community. There’s nothing like helping someone buy their first home or refinance it for a better rate. 

We wanted to grow faster and we saw an opportunity in the commercial side which we thought there was a void. The big banks were becoming a little less personal and engaging. We had a lot of friends from our prior years in banking who were customers of big banks who came to us to do business with us. Why? Because we do answer the phone and they can talk to the president whenever they want. We treat them like humans. They are our friends. We know how to do this. We’re predictable; when we tell someone we’re going to get a deal done, it gets done the way we said it was going to get done. We’ve put on $500 million in the past five years. This isn’t $50 million condo projects in downtown Boston. These are $2, to $5 million projects so that’s  a lot of projects over the course of five years. We do two to three deals of significance a week.

We also do a lot of home equity lending which is terrific for the consumer, it’s a very flexible, tax advantage product where they can pay for a college education or an addition to their house or some other major capital purchase just using their home as equity. We’ve done $150 million of that product.

Q: Belmont Savings is also known for its consumer banking, placing branches in supermarkets and offering competitive rates on products. What’s that segment’s future?

Mahoney: That’s the fuel we use to lend. So if we didn’t have deposits coming in every week, we wouldn’t have the money to lend to our business and real estate customers.

We are very fortunate to have between 50 and 70 families a week switch to us. They come to us from the big banks because they’ve had that final straw that broke the camel’s bank: the ATM card that got eaten up or that surly teller or the 800 number that just wouldn’t talk back.  

The supermarkets are a natural place to attract customers because you’re surrounded by strangers all week long. The average bank branch only has customers in it. People don’t go to the bank to go shopping. But they do go to the supermarket and we see them on Wednesday in the meat aisle, Friday in the vegetable counter and we get to know them. We have promotions like spin the “wheel of fortune” to get to win their groceries for free. I had the great pleasure of one of our customers in Cambridge won what we call the ‘whole shebang’ where she got five minutes of free shopping in the Star Market. It was so much fun to watch her rack up six hundred bucks of groceries. What can’t be any better than that?

Everybody wants to have that personal touch. We all have to work for a living but you might as well make something less than miserable and treat people the way you would like to be treated.

You want to create an experience. You want someone to go home to their spouse or their best friend and say, ‘You are not going to believe what happened at the bank today.’ I want that to happen to our colleagues and I want that to happen to our customers.

Q: You’ve had a great five-year run in an industry (community banking) that has been hit hard with narrow margins and competition. What are your plans for the next five years? 

Mahoney: I think we can continue to be a better bank in Belmont. We only have 40 percent market share which means there’s 60 percent left to go. We have Newton, Waltham and Watertown and other markets that we’d like to expand. We like the MetroWest area, it’s a terrific place to do business, but an important part of our strategy is to be a community bank which isn’t just making loans and not just taking deposits but giving back to the community.

Q: On that subject, Belmont Savings Bank has been quite generous through its foundation – which has $4 million in its endownment – in supporting or sponsoring a wide range of community projects, from the new Underwood Pool (a gift of $200,000) the Foundation for Belmont Education and Joey’s Park and the new varsity court at Belmont High School. Speak about the bank’s philanthropic direction. 

Mahoney: I think giving back to the community is an obligation. It’s not a choice. It’s a reasonable thing to expect from the largest private organization in Belmont, one of the few that has the Belmont name on the door to give back.

I was at the Underwood Pool grand opening and no less than seven or eight different people came up to me and said, ‘I switched banks because of what you did for our town with this pool.’ You get to see people in an environment that wouldn’t have seen them otherwise, whether it’s the holiday party, the Turn on the Town, Town Day with our wonderful car show, the Spelling Bee or the plays. These are opportunities to meet people in a different way, to meet them as a human as oppose to a teller or a banker. We have on average over 4,000 to 5,000 hours of volunteer time in 60 event a year in this town from our 125 employees. But it’s good marketing.

Q: But the foundation’s approach is very hands on, taking the time to meet with recipients, going over plans, learning about the events. Wouldn’t it be more cost effective for the foundation to simply write a check to a few organizations each year?

Mahoney: I think [our current approach] a fantastic use of our time. But we don’t give away money, we invest. We invest in organizations where there is a payback; where we think it’s best for our families in our neighborhoods, it’s best for our students, for getting our visibility out there. I don’t think just sliding checks under the door at midnight is a sustainable model for philantropy. I think there has to be some sort of return; a reputational return, a good will return, a fund for colleagues as part of being the most admired bank. That’s a return for the bank. 

Belmont Savings’ Mahoney Leading Boston Catholics to See Pope in Cuba


When Pope Francis visits Cuba in mid-September, there to greet him will be Belmont Savings Bank CEO Bob Mahoney with a group of approximately 135 Catholics from the Archdiocese of Boston.

“It should be just an amazing experience,” said Mahoney, Belmont Savings’ president and chief executive officer in an interview with the Boston Pilot. 

Mahoney, a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council who is helping to organize the trip,, said the group will attend the Mass Francis will celebrate Sept. 20 in Havana’s Revolution Square. The group will also sightsee Old Havana, attend local musical performances and visit the Caritas Cubana mission at Iglesia San Agustin, where a previous Boston delegation donated a new kitchen.

It will also be opportunity for the Boston delegation to visit and travel to the island nation during a time of monumental change as the United States and Cuba normalize relations after more that a half century of isolation. 

“It’s just an amazing experience, getting to go to Cuba while Cuba is still Cuba,” Mahoney said as the communist country begins to welcome American investment and tourism.

Mahoney told the Pilot there is a possibility the delegation could be on the first direct flight from Boston to Havana when they depart on Sept. 18.

“That would be pretty cool,” said Mahoney, who has visited Cuba twice, once when Pope St. John Paul II traveled there in 1998, and when Pope Benedict XVI visited the island in 2012.

Pope Francis will visit Cuba Sept. 19-22 for his tenth trip abroad since becoming pope in 2013. He will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, local religious groups and families, and will celebrate Mass in Revolution Square that Mahoney compared to “four Boston City Hall Plazas.”

“There will be well over a million people,” Mahoney told the Pilot. 

The pope will then visit the United States for a five-day visit, Sept. 22-27, which includes attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, meeting with President Obama and giving the first papal address to a joint session of Congress.

Pope Francis and the Vatican played a key role in engineering talks between Cuba and the United States. The pope wrote letters to the presidents of both countries and tasked the archbishop of Havana to act as an intermediary.

Mahoney said there are still about three-dozen available slots for the trip, which costs $4,500 per person, or $8,000 per couple. That includes airfare, rooms, tourist activities and meals. There are  special group discounts, inquire for details.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Mahoney said.

For more information, contact Donis Tracy, Educational Travel Alliance, Inc. (, at 617-610-3776 or

Belmont Business Leader Backs School District as Selectmen Discuss Override Tonight

Photo: Robert Mahoney (right) of Belmont Savings Bank with Ellen Schreiber. 

As the Belmont Board of Selectmen prepare to discuss tonight, Tuesday, Feb. 17, a recommendation from the Financial Task Force for a possible property tax increase to fund the town’s structural budget deficit, one of Belmont’s leading business leaders has threw his support behind the town’s school district as it faces substantial cuts in staff and programs under current budget assumptions for next year.

Belmont Savings Bank’s President and CEO Robert Mahoney wrote a comment to an article in the Belmontonian (Belmont Schools Face ‘Significant, Negative Impact’ in Fiscal ’16 Budget; Loss of 22 Positions, Larger Class Sizes, Feb. 12) that highlighted a pending $1.7 million gap in the district’s fiscal 2016 budget if the schools are required to work within the available revenue that the town has calculated for next year.

Mahoney is the first prominent individual outside of the district to speak out concerning the negative impact on Belmont from possible inaction in securing the necessary funding to keep town schools high ranked.

“[Belmont Superintendent] John Phelan is so right. It took decades for Belmont’s schools to become top tier. At the rate we are going we will be third tier soon,” Mahoney bluntly wrote in a comment posted Feb. 14.

“Once the parents of high potential students move out, and they will, the biggest economic engine in Belmont will sputter to mediocrity and property values will quickly follow the schools down. This is not theory. This pattern has happened over and over in short-sighted communities that have not invested in their future,” Mahoney wrote.

In the past few years, Belmont Savings has become more involved in Belmont, starting a foundation to assist organizations and individuals funding community activities. The most prominent of those was the foundation’s donation of $200,000 this fall that jump started a community drive to raise $400,000 to start construction of a new Underwood Pool adjacent to Concord Avenue.

At Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting – at 6 p.m. in the Selectmen’s room at Town Hall – the board will join up with the Belmont School Committee for a presentation from the district concerning the pending $1.7 million deficit in the pending fiscal ’16 available revenue budget totaling $47.5 million. In two previous public meetings to discuss the budget, Phelan has said the rapid increase in enrollment over the past five years and for years to come has sent expenses skyrocketing as the district. Phelan has advocated the selectmen call for, and voters pass a three-year, $4.5 million Proposition 2 1/2 override to fund the gap.

After the budget meeting, the Selectmen will reconvene to discuss placing an override before voters. If it decides to move in that direction, the board will also have to set a date for the override vote.



Saving Underwood: How a Big Push and Small Donations Preserved a Belmont Amenity

On a sunny autumn afternoon this week, a mom and a banker proudly stood before a fundraising message on a sandwich board to complete a small community miracle.

Sandrick Road’s Ellen Schreiber (the mom) and Robert “Bob” Mahoney (the banker) met in front of the Belmont Savings Bank in Belmont Center on Wednesday, Oct. 8, to place a final sticker to the chart showing the level of support for a fundraising appeal to build the new Underwood Pool.

“We Did It!” read the sticker.

In less than four weeks, the persistence of a master fundraiser and the welcomed kick-off contribution from the home-town bank resulted in $400,000 being raised from residents and businesses to allow a well-loved town amenity to continue at the corner of Concord Avenue and Cottage Street.

It wasn’t all that long ago when, for a few days in late August, it appeared the future of Belmont’s new Underwood Pool was far from certain.

After Woburn-based Seaver Construction withdrew its $3.8 million offer on Aug. 28 to construct the $4.16 million new two pool complex on the site of the historic 102-year-old “swimming pond,” the Underwood Pool Building Committee – the public group that coordinated the new facility’s final design and its detailed budget – was faced with one of two prospects to save the project.

One was to find an extra $400,000 in less than a month (the town was required to select a winning bid on Sept. 26) to match the $4.55 million offer from new low bidder, New England Builders and Contractors, Inc.,

The other, take its chances and resubmit the design to bid with the outside chance a contractor would take on the job at or below budget.

If a solution could not be found, it was likely the pool’s design would need to be greatly altered, or the entire process scrapped, a situation Committee President Anne Paulsen described as “grim news.”

The only certainty was that there wouldn’t be a summer swimming season at the Underwood for the first time since 1912. By the first week of September, the new Underwood Pool – which Town Meeting members and residents voted to support with $5.2 million in public funds – appeared to be hanging on a thread.

In the end, the committee decided to toss the dice and see if it could raise the nearly $400,000 in just under four weeks.

A pair of fortunate choices

As the project’s fate appeared sketchy, two fortunate decisions were made that would change the pool’s destiny. The first was selecting Schreiber to lead the fundraising task.

After a career as a software engineer, Schreiber was co-founder of the Boston Children’s Chorus, campaign manager for State Senator Will Brownsberger, and is now the finance director for a non-profit organization. Schreiber is best known around these parts as being the driving force with Diane Miller in rebuilding Joey’s Park adjacent to the Winn Brook School, raising more than $450,000 and recruiting more than 2,000 volunteers for a nine-day community build.

If you’re looking to get something done, Schreiber will be a good person to head it.

“Ellen is the perfect person for the job,” said Paulsen.

But even for someone who is accustomed to cultivating funds, the initial time limit and amount required was a challenge, said Schreiber.

“It was a lot of money to raise and we had a very short deadline. It was very intimidating, at first,” she said.

Schreiber and the committee caught a break early on when New England Builders agreed to keep its $4.55 million bid open for an additional month, until Oct. 30, providing some breathing room needed to raise the money.

The next fortunate decision was who Schreiber decided to visit first. Following the advice of Willie Sutton, Schreiber headed to where they keep the money. In Belmont, that’s 2 Leonard St., to talk to the man in charge of Belmont’s oldest and one of its largest institutions.

Since becoming President and CEO in June 2010, Bob Mahoney has transformed Belmont Savings Bank from a sleepy depositors-owned institution to a growing stock-issuing regional institution, doubling its asset size to $1.2 billion while expanding its retail operations into three nearby communities through its Star/Shaw’s supermarket branches.

Mahoney had read news reports about the pool committee losing its low bidder and the predicament it and the town found itself.

“I started thinking about it and even sent a note to the town’s Treasurer [Floyd Carman] with some ideas to bridge the gap,” said Mahoney.

Then in a moment of Kismet, Schreiber called Mahoney the next day.

“She said they were trying to pass the hat to raise $400,000, and she wanted to come over and talk to me,” Mahoney recalled.

In another coincidence, the board of the bank’s community and charitable entity, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, was meeting the next morning. When he brought up his conversation with Schreiber and the position the town was facing, many on the board began recalling their memories of visiting the pool. A senior member told how his father, who was a lifeguard, and mother, a swim team member met at the Underwood.

“That’s where I said, ‘I think we need to take a leadership role because [the pool] effects so many people.’ Then we started talking numbers,” said Mahoney.

How about $25,000? Somebody raised the figure to $100,000.

Going all in

As a poker player sitting on a good hand, Mahoney decided to go “all in” by upping the ante to $200,000.

“I said if we want to be serious about getting this done, we needed that amount because there was not enough time to raise $300,000,” said Mahoney.

But $200,000 is something that can be done,” said Mahoney, noting the foundation – which receives its funding from stock shares it holds bought at bank’s initial public offering in 2011 – could contribute the amount since the bank stock has risen significantly.

“It’s a way of sharing the bank’s success with the town,” he said.

In one fell swoop, the fundraiser goal facing Schreiber was cut in half.

“The bank came through for us,” said Schreiber. “From my experience, this amount was unprecedented, unheard of.”

Just as important, the bank’s contribution was seen by many donors as a vote of confidence in the Underwood project and the fundraising campaign.

“It got us half way there and so people immediately became excited. It was a powerful statement because [reaching the $400,000 goal] was now a possibility,” said Schreiber.

With Belmont Savings’ financial and business backing, Schreiber did what she does best; convincing people to join “something special.”

The money started rolling in from all directions, more than 400 donations ranging from $10 to $25,000.

“No one gives money to something they don’t care about and clearly they cared about the Underwood pool. People sent notes with their checks and told about their memories, how their children learned to swim there, how they love the fact that the town has a facility anyone can come to,” said Schreiber.

Within three weeks after the bank’s contribution, Schreiber and Mahoney were able to come together to put their stamp (or sticker) on the success of their collaboration.

“It turned out to be a perfect fit for the bank,” said Mahoney. “The donation is what we are about and what the town needed, all coming at right time and the right amount.”

Schreiber looked back at the effort preserving outdoor summer swimming in Belmont more succinctly.

“People just gave from their hearts.”

Belmont Savings Reports Strong Quarter

Despite a winter that didn’t appear ever wanting to end and continued sluggishness in the general economy, Belmont’s only bank headquartered in the “Town of Homes” had a spring in its step over the first three months of the year.

BSB Bancorp, the holding company for Belmont Savings Bank located in Belmont Center, reported a strong first quarter of 2014, according the bank’s CEO.

“The quarter was marked by significant loan and deposit growth which fueled the bottom line improvement.  Core expense growth has slowed and credit quality remains good,” said Robert Mahoney, BSB Bancorp’s president and CEO, who in February was selected the “most admired CEO of a small or mid-sized company” in the state by the Boston Business Journal.

As a result, net income came in at $680,000, or 8 cents per basic and diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared to net income of $416,000, or 5 cents per basic and diluted share, in the first quarter of 2013.

The bank’s stock, under the symbol BLMT and sold on the NASDAQ, is off its 52-week high of $18.65 and closed yesterday, April 23, at $17.07.

Net loan growth increased by slightly more than 10 percent over the final three months of 2013 or about $88.6 million in new loans with more than half commercial loans.

Deposits at the bank’s six full-service branches in Belmont, Newton, Waltham, Watertown and Cambridge totaled $827.7 million, an increase of $63.0 million or 8.2 percent from the $764.8 million the bank had on Dec. 31.

As of March 31, total assets for the business were $1.2 billion, an increase of $114.4 million or 10.8 percent from the $1.1 billion at the end of last year.