Daily News

Florence Bank Breaks Ground on New Springfield Branch

SPRINGFIELD — Florence Bank broke ground last week on its second Hampden County branch, at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield, and leaders said the full-service location will open later this year.

“We’re coming to Springfield,” John Heaps Jr., Florence Bank’s president and CEO, told a crowd of roughly 50 people who gathered for the celebratory event. “Our focus is on our customers and on helping to reinvigorate the community.”

Heaps grew up in the Springfield area, and he said the expansion into Springfield “is like coming back home. I used to hang around here. This feels great.”

Likewise, Nikki Gleason, branch manager for the Allen Street location, noted that “Springfield is my home, where I work, volunteer, and spend much of my time. I am thrilled to be serving as the branch manager and happy to be working for Florence Bank. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces and meeting new customers and friends.”

Last September, Florence Bank opened its first branch in Hampden County at 1010 Union St. in West Springfield. The Springfield branch marks the second of an anticipated four branches in the region.

“We’re looking at opening two more,” Heaps said. “This is not just dipping our toe in the water. We’re here, and we’re going to be part of this community for a long time.”

Heaps said the time was right for expansion into the Springfield area because bank mergers and acquisitions in past years have left Springfield without a local bank headquartered there.

As he spoke to the crowd at the groundbreaking, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno picked up on this point. “Sometimes, the community touch is lost,” he said. “Florence Bank is accessible. A person will answer the telephone. The city of Springfield is growing, and Florence Bank will continue to move it forward.”

Also in attendance at the event were Joe and Wendy Bonavita, the site’s former landowners; Kevin Kennedy, chief Development officer for the city of Springfield; Mary Dionne, vice president of the Outer Belt Civic Assoc.; Myles Callender of Revitalize Springfield; and representatives for the developers, Marois Construction of South Hadley, HAI Architecture, and for Bohler Engineering. Florence Bank employees, board members, and corporators were present as well, along with State Rep. Angelo Puppolo and Springfield City Councilors Tim Allen and Mike Fenton.

Like the West Springfield banking center, Heaps said, the Allen Street branch will have an open floor plan with a full-service teller pod and innovative technology for quick cash handling. The location will also feature a drive-up ATM with SMART technology for easy depositing and a comfortable waiting area inside with a coffee bar and free internet.

Florence Bank has nearly 3,800 customers living in Hampden County, including 700 business customers.

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