40 Under 40 The Class of 2017

Brittney Kelleher

Assistant Vice President, Commercial Lending, Westfield Bank; Age 31

Brittney Kelleher

Brittney Kelleher

Westfield Bank saw something in Brittney Kelleher when they scoured the region’s business schools looking for a lender in training. Fresh out of Bryant College, she had offers in the Boston area too, but Western Mass. was closer — in both distance and rural spirit — to her hometown in Upstate New York, so she accepted the offer.

That was 10 years ago, and she’s been with Westfield Bank ever since, working her way up from underwriting commercial loans to putting them together for companies ranging in size from small outfits to those posting $20 million in revenues.

“It’s been a fun ride,” she told BusinessWest. “There’s always something new every day. I like numbers, I like the analytical part, and I like the social aspect of it, talking to people. As a commercial lender, I have a portfolio of clients I manage, and I take care of their lending needs here at the bank; anything they need, they call me up.”

Kelleher enjoys the relationships that grow from that process. “I’m out there visiting with them, seeing how they’re doing, giving them loans for equipment or a line of credit to buy a building to expand. That’s the best part of the job — watching companies grow from less than $1 million in sales, moving up to $5 million sales, on track to do $10 million. It’s fun watching that progress.”

She especially enjoys learning about the many businesses and organizations that make up the Valley, an education gleaned from her service on the boards of several entities, from Community Enterprises and the American Red Cross to the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield and the Holyoke Rotary.

Through the Rotary, she helped to create Eat, Drink and Be Holyoke, which drew hundreds of people downtown to experience the city’s cuisine and entertainment. “People got to see more of Holyoke than they might otherwise. I’ve grown fond of Holyoke, so it was great to see.”

Kelleher said she follows the philosophy of “if you’re not going to do it, who will?” in giving back to the community, even though, like other 40 Under Forty honorees who balance career and service, her work keeps her plenty busy. “You have to find time — set aside time, actually — and do it, and it all kind of falls into place. It’s definitely worth it.”

—Joseph Bednar