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PITTSFIELD – Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the holding company of Berkshire Bank, will buy Commerce Bancshares Corp., the parent company of Commerce Bank and Trust Company in Worcester, for $ 209 million and move the combined bank’s headquarters to the financial district from Boston as part of a major push east into the Boston metro market.
Berkshire Bank was founded in Pittsfield in 1846 as Berkshire County Savings Bank. It changed its name to Berkshire Bank in May 1997.
The move will bring Berkshire Bank to more than $ 11.5 billion in total assets and make it the largest regional bank headquartered in Massachusetts.
Berkshire Bank, headquartered at 24 North St. in Pittsfield, has 332 employees in its facilities. No jobs will be moved or lost, spokeswoman Rachel Mabee said on Monday. She said senior executives will have offices in Boston and Pittsfield, and that Pittsfield remains its regional headquarters and operational center.
Berkshire Bank has a total of 438 employees across Berkshire County and 1,330 company-wide.
Berkshire Bank said it will continue to be active in the Pittsfield business community and its operations center will remain in Pittsfield. The relocation will have no impact on the employees of the operational center.
“Relocating our headquarters to Boston will not take us away from our roots in Berkshire County; we remain committed to all of our employees, customers and communities,” said Michael P. Daly, CEO of Berkshire Bank, in a statement. Press release. “Boston will provide our senior executives with connectivity with government leaders, regulators and policymakers, and provide the opportunity to attract more talent as the bank continues to grow. With the addition of the Commerce team, we will be able to leverage the strengths of both banks and capitalize on growth opportunities in the attractive and high growth markets of Eastern Massachusetts. It’s not just important to Boston, but to all of our local markets, to be the first regional bank with a head office in Boston in decades. “
In a presentation to investors, Berkshire Bank said its move to Boston was driven by its desire to tap into a growing economy. Boston accounts for 45% of New England’s GDP.
Commerce has $ 2.2 billion in assets and 16 branches. Of these, 13 are in the Worcester Market and three in or around Boston.
With the acquisition, Berkshire Bank will have its head office, six branches and three loan offices in Greater Boston.
The regional headquarters, including one in Springfield, will remain. Springfield’s headquarters are located at 1259 East Columbus Ave.
Berkshire Bank is on the path to expansion, having last purchased Springfield’s Hampden Bank in 2015 for $ 109 million. It also bought Woronoco Savings Bank of Westfield in 2005, Legacy Banks of Pittsfield in 2011 and Connecticut Bank & Trust of Hartford in 2012.
Berkshire Bank said it has developed strong ties with Boston as:
- a Boston Seasons presenting sponsor at City Hall Plaza
- the official Boston Bruins cover from the official NESN Bank
- the official partner for loan and deposit products of the Massachusetts Teachers Association
- and portraying Boston Bruins hockey legend Ray Bourque as spokesperson.
Prior to the Commerce acquisition, Berkshire Bank had 97 full-service branches in Massachusetts, New York State, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.