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December 3, 2020

Berkshire Bank to shed 24 branches 

berkshire bank si financial boston banking PHOTO | Contributed Berkshire Bank, 16 Albany Turnpike, Simsbury.

Western Massachusetts lender Berkshire Bank says it will trim its brick-and-mortar branch network by about 18% in the first half of 2021, as its customers increasingly adopt digital banking habits.

The $12.61 billion bank’s Pittsfield-based parent, Berkshire Hills Bancorp., announced Wednesday that it would sell eight of its Mid-Atlantic branches to New Jersey-based Investors Bank and consolidate another 16 across its New England and New York footprint.

Berkshire, which has 24 full-service branches in Connecticut and 130 overall in the Northeast, said the 16 to be consolidated contain a combined $568 million in customer deposits.

A spokesperson for the bank told HBJ Thursday that six of the 16 branches to be consolidated have been decided already, with the rest still to be announced. The six include several in Connecticut, include Berkshire’s previously announced pending closure of its Newington branch, as well as Walmart branches in Lisbon and North Windham. 

The closures are expected to begin in January. 

"Extensive review has shown increasing digital channel usage by our customers,” Acting Berkshire CEO Sean Gray said in a statement. 

Gray said the bank is communicating to branch customers who could be impacted and is helping employees of the branches review other job opportunities within the bank.

“We have a strong track record of retaining customers and team members who have previously been impacted by a consolidation," he said.

The Berkshire branches to be sold to Investors Bank, pending regulatory approval expected to come by June 2021 or sooner, contain approximately $639 million in customer deposits, for which Investors Bank has agreed to pay a 3% premium, Berkshire said.

The bank will also pay Berkshire the aggregate net book value of the branches’ loans (which currently total $308 million) as well as of the branches’ personal property, according to a purchase agreement disclosed in a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday.

This story has been updated to include additional information from Berkshire Bank.

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