Florence Bank Cuts Ribbon on Second Hampden County Branch
President and CEO John Heaps Jr. announced community projects, illustrating the bank’s commitment to the city of Springfield and Hampden County
SPRINGFIELD—Moments before he cut the celebratory ribbon, making the opening of Florence Bank’s second Hampden County branch official, President and CEO John Heaps Jr. announced the bank’s support for several community projects.
This spring, in collaboration with the city of Springfield and the Basketball Hall of Fame, the bank will provide $15,000 to refurbish a basketball court at Greenleaf Community Center, and it is also contributing $25,000 to a $2 million campaign to build a Library and Community Learning Center in East Forest Park.
“We’re here,” Heaps said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 16 at the newest branch at 1444 Allen St. “We’re going to be a major player in the community. We love being here in Springfield.”
About 50 people attended the event at the branch, which was closed for the celebration for an hour. Those gathered included bank employees, board members and corporators as well as community leaders such as Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; Kevin Kennedy, Springfield chief development officer; state Rep. Angelo Puppulo; and city councilors Kateri Walsh and Jesse Lederman.
Also in attendance were businesspeople with a role in the opening—from the former land owners to the architects, engineers, site planners and the furniture supplier.
Branch manager Nikki Gleason, a Springfield native and active volunteer, said she is excited to have the branch up and running. She introduced her staff team: Candice Somar, assistant branch manager; Bianca Hyde, customer service representative (CSR) / teller operations manager; Mario Nascimento, CSR / senior teller; Magdalis (Maggie) Sierra, CSR / senior teller; and Carolyn Ware, community relations director.
“The staff we have here is incredible,” Heaps said. “They all came from other banks, so they know the value of working for a local bank.”
The Allen Street branch has a contemporary and welcoming open floor plan with two teller pods and innovative technology for quick cash handling. The location also features a drive-up ATM with SMART technology for easy depositing and a comfortable waiting area inside with a coffee bar and free Wi-Fi.
“It’s a real strategic maneuver for us to be here in Hampden County and in Springfield. This is where it all happens,” Heaps said, giving a nod to Sarno for leading the city with fairness and grace. “He does what makes sense for this community.”
Sarno thanked Florence Bank and its staff for its commitment to Springfield and for the philanthropic measures—with the basketball court and library—that it is already putting in place.
“Your heart has always been in the city of Springfield,” Sarno told Heaps, who lives in Longmeadow and grew up in the Allen Street neighborhood of Springfield. “Your board, your whole staff team—I thank you all for your continued belief in the city of Springfield. You give back to customers and to the community.”
Sarno added, “Your expansion here sends a resounding message that it’s good to do business in the city of Springfield.”
In August 2017, Florence Bank opened its first branch in Hampden County at 1010 Union St. in West Springfield. “We will be opening several other branches in this area in the coming years,” Heaps said. “We’re excited to be expanding here.”
Florence Bank has nearly 3,900 customers living in Hampden County, including 762 business customers, 373 of whom are located in Springfield.
“We’re off to a great start,” Heaps said.
Florence Bank, chartered in 1873, is unique in that it’s a mutually-owned savings bank, meaning it does not need to pay dividends to stockholders. That mutuality, Heaps said, allows us to make decisions about what’s best for customers and the community.
Florence Bank is a mutually-owned savings bank chartered in 1873. Currently, the bank serves the Pioneer Valley through 11 full-service branch locations in Florence, Northampton, Easthampton, Williamsburg, Amherst, Hadley, Belchertown, Granby, West Springfield and a new branch located on Allen Street in Springfield. Additionally, they offer 28 ATMs and a wide range of financial services including investment management through FSB Financial Group (FSBFG) to consumers and businesses. Florence Bank is consistently voted best local bank by the readers of the Valley Advocate and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.