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Greenfield Savings Bank to open two new branches in Amherst, Northampton

  • Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greenfield Savings Bank, left, and John Howland, president, CEO and chief executive officer, are shown March 2, 2017 at 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, where they will be opening a new branch of the bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Paul Benjamin of The Benjamin Company, left, Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greenfield Savings Bank and John Howland, president and CEO of the bank, talk Thursday at 108 North Pleasant St. in Amherst, where Greenfield Savings Bank plans to open a new branch in June, along with another in Northampton. The Benjamin Company is an advertising and public relations firm with offices in Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The interior of 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, shown March 2, 2017, will be a new branch location for Greenfield Savings Bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greenfield Savings Bank, left, and John Howland, president, CEO and chief executive officer, are shown March 2, 2017 at 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, where they will be opening a new branch of the bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greenfield Savings Bank, left, and John Howland, president, CEO and chief executive officer, are shown March 2, 2017 at 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, where they will be opening a new branch of the bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • John Howland, president, CEO and chief executive officer of Greenfield Savings Bank, are shown March 2, 2017 at 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, where they will be opening a new branch of the bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Greenfield Savings Bank, left, and John Howland, president, CEO and chief executive officer, are shown March 2, 2017 at 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, where they will be opening a new branch of the bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The exterior of 108 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, shown March 2, 2017, will be a new branch location for Greenfield Savings Bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • The exterior of 207 Main Street in Northampton, shown March 2, 2017, will be a new branch location for Greenfield Savings Bank. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



Staff Writer
Thursday, March 09, 2017

More than 15 years after opening its first permanent Hampshire County location, Greenfield Savings Bank will double the number of branches countywide and bring its services closer to people who live and work in downtown Northampton and Amherst center.

On Thursday, John Howland, president and chief executive officer, and Denise Coyne, executive vice president and chief operations officer, announced that Greenfield Savings will open a 1,575-square-foot branch at 108 North Pleasant St., Amherst, and a 658-square-foot site at 207 Main St., Northampton. Current plans are for both branches to open by mid-June, Coyne said.

The expansion is driven by demand from those who already bank at either the 325 King St., Northampton, or 6 University Drive, Amherst, locations, both of which have free parking, but aren’t within walking distance of the downtown cores.

“We realized having a downtown location is a convenience for our customers,” Howland said.

“We talked to customers and asked what else can we do to make banking better for you,” Coyne said. “We listened to them and are expanding our footprint.”

Both locations, which are being leased by the bank, will be renovated over the next several weeks, though there are not yet cost estimates for this. Kuhn Riddle Architects of Amherst is handling the design, while Renaissance Builders of Northampton is the general contractor for the city location that most recently housed Casa del Sol, a clothing and crafts store. A contractor will be provided in Amherst by Barry Roberts, who owns the site that has recently been Food for Thought Bookstore, and gift shops The Mercantile and Amber Forest.

When complete, customers will enter a vestibule where an ATM and night deposit box will be available around the clock. They will then move on to the main section, where tellers will greet them. Amherst will also have three offices and a conference room, while the Northampton branch will have one office.

Existing staff will be moving to the branches, many of whom already familiar to customers. More than a third of the bank’s employees, Howland said, have been with the bank for more than a decade. Between the two new branches, four to six new employees will be hired.

Even with full online and mobile banking and ATMs, customers still like the experience of interacting with employees, Howland said. “It’s still an event for people to go into the branches,” Howland said.

The bank also schedules evening events, such as sessions in which first-time homebuyers can work with lenders to prequalify for loans.

That both branches will open around June comes as a coincidence. Howland said the bank has been looking for the right kind of properties.

The growth comes at a time when banks are doing well. “The banking industry overall is strong right now,” Howland said.

While low interest rates have posed some challenges, it has made it easier for customers to pay loans, meaning lower delinquency rates.

“Last year, our commercial loan originations increased more than 20 percent and the additional locations will help service the rising demand,” Howland said.

Howland said many people become customers because they are making decisions to support enterprises in the region.

“Particularly in the Pioneer Valley, we care for our own and want to do business locally,” Howland said.

“I think that shop local and bank local is huge,” Coyne said. The bank’s involvement with the community includes a mandate that officers be involved in at least one charitable endeavor. The Benjamin Company, a Hadley advertising and public relations company owned by Paul Benjamin, is also handling an advertising campaign to let people know about the new sites.

“If the Pioneer Valley can provide the level of service we need, we’ll go with the Pioneer Valley company every time,” Howland said.

Signs promoting the new Amherst branch feature an employee who works at the Greenfield branch.

The bank has assets of $775 million and manages $225 million in assets related to trust and estate planning through the GSB Wealth Management and Trust Services.

Greenfield Savings’ first permanent branch in Hampshire County opened in Amherst at the Newmarket Center in 2001, following the relocation of the UMass-Five College Credit Union to Hadley. The Northampton site on King Street opened in 2012. In both cases, bank officials were motivated by the many Franklin County customers who commute to jobs in Hampshire County.

The new locations mean there will be nine full-service branches. The remaining five branches are in Franklin County, with one each in Greenfield, Turners Falls, Shelburne Falls, South Deerfield and Conway.

As part of the bank’s promotion to provide a free gift with the free checking program, the seven current branches will all have local fire departments displaying a fire engine and firefighters talking about safety until noon Saturday. Local fire departments will be at the Northampton and Amherst sites starting at 10 a.m., and those who open accounts can choose between a smoke alarm or kitchen fire extinguisher.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.