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Farmington Bank Plans Massachusetts Expansion
The parent of Farmington Bank, which recently completed a branch expansion in the Hartford area, is setting its sights on new territory: Massachusetts.
First Connecticut Bancorp Inc. announced Wednesday that it plans to open a commercial lending office, staffed by a team of bankers with experience lending in western Massachusetts, most recently for United Bank. Rockville Bank merged with United earlier this year and took the United name.
John J. Patrick Jr. First Connecticut’s chairman, president and chief executive, said the opportunity to hire the team fueled the decision to expand across the border.
The decision to open retail branches in West Springfield and East Longmeadow reflects the bank’s desire to offer branch banking as well as commercial lending.
While it is out of state, we see it as a contiguous market, Patrick said.
It also makes sense because of heavy commuting across the border from both Connecticut and Massachusetts, Patrick said.
The branches could be open within six months, pending approval from regulators in Massachusetts, Patrick said. The expansion represents about a $1.5 million investment, he said.
With the expansion, Farmington Bank’s market will extend from Hampden County, Mass. south to New Haven, spanning the Springfield-Hartford knowledge corridor, Patrick noted. The corridor is a partnership of regional economic development, planning, business, tourism and educational institutions that work together.
An array of Farmington Bank’s competitors — both regional and community banks — have a lending presence in western Massachusetts, although Patrick said that wasn’t behind the decision to expand there.
Since going public in 2011, Farmington Bank has added 10 branches in the Hartford area, most recently adding its 22nd branch, in Rocky Hill. In the past six years, assets have increased from $900 million to $2.4 billion.