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Berkshire Bank Earns Gold Community Champion Award

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank was recently presented the Gold Community Champion Award from Banking Northeast magazine in the economic-development category. This award recognized the bank’s comprehensive efforts to foster economic resilience in its communities.

Banking Northeast established the Community Champion Awards to honor the banks and credit unions who went beyond the call to aid their community in a special time of need or whose cumulative effort has made a substantial, positive impact. Winners were presented at the magazine’s Gala Awards last month at Mohegan Sun.

Berkshire Bank’s Gold Community Champion Award recognized its efforts to harness its core business activities, pandemic response, community involvement, philanthropic programs, and innovative financial solutions such as MyFreedom Checking and the Futures Fund to strengthen its neighborhoods. Berkshire helped deploy nearly $1 billion in PPP funding to assist small businesses during the pandemic and helped more than 180,000 individuals with financial-wellness programming. According to an independent third party, Berkshire reinvests at a rate nearly 70% higher than the industry average.

“Berkshire has been an engine for positive change in our communities for more than 175 years, and this honor is a reflection of the collective efforts of our employees and community partners,” said Gary Levante, senior vice president of Corporate Responsibility. “We always have our customers’ and communities’ backs on their worst days and help make the best ones possible. Stronger, more economically resilient communities require a better approach to banking, and we’ve accelerated that work with the launch of our BEST Community Comeback this past September.”

Through its BEST Community Comeback, the company expects to lend and invest $5 billion over the next three years to lift up its communities across four key areas: fueling small businesses, community financing and philanthropy, financial access and empowerment, and funding environmental sustainability. The plan is expected to result in more businesses and jobs being created, more families achieving the dream of owning a home, more quality housing in neighborhoods, and investments in activities that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

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