Daily News

Florence Bank Celebrates 150 Years of Doing Business with Giveaway

FLORENCE — To commemorate 150 years in business, Florence Bank is drawing on its partnership with the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield to offer a chance for 12 community members to win complimentary use of the popular venue’s birthday room.

In addition to the use of the room, one winner from each of the bank’s 12 branches will receive 10 general-admission tickets to the Hall of Fame and a goody bag for each party guest.

“It’s our birthday, but we’d like to celebrate it by making the birthdays of others a little more special,” Florence Bank President and CEO Matt Garrity said.

Those entering the giveaway can complete a ballot at any of the bank’s branches or visit florencebank.com/bday. The contest ends June 2. Winners will be chosen on Monday, June 5.

May 6, 1873, marks the date of the first 25 deposits at Florence Savings Bank, totaling $825.75. Henry Bond was the bank’s first treasurer, and its founding president was Alfred Lilly. The first trustees and corporators were business owners, shopkeepers, farmers, and community leaders, and the mission of the community bank was to help citizens safely save their money and make a significant contribution in the lives of the people of Hampshire County.

“We’ve grown a lot in the past century and a half, but we have remained true to our core values,” Garrity said. “We still have business owners, shopkeepers, and community leaders on our board, and our mission remains the same as it was 150 years ago. We remain a mutual bank, unbeholden to stockholders. We provide the best possible service to customers, and we are proud community partners, giving back in many areas to help our neighbors thrive.”

Florence Bank’s original home was the second floor of the Davis Building on Main Street in Florence. It has outgrown its space twice, moving into a two-story brick building next door in 1891 and again in 1978 to its present main office.

The first branch outside Florence was opened at the corner of King and Finn streets in Northampton in 1986, and the most recent branch in Chicopee cut the ribbon on May 5, 2021.

In 1880, Florence Bank made history when Mary Bond, the sister of Henry Bond, became the bank’s second treasurer and the first woman to hold the office of treasurer of a savings bank in the state. She served as principal of the Northampton public schools and later as the first woman elected to the Northampton School Committee.

Bond was followed in 1891 by Mary Gould, who was succeeded in 1911 by another woman, Emilie Plimpton.

Growth came steadily for the bank, most notably during World War II, when it received a record number of deposits. These came mainly from government allotments to area residents serving in the military. In the 1950s, a time of rapid growth in the local housing market, the bank was a principal source of home mortgages for Florence residents. Today, Florence Bank’s assets total $1.8 billion.