Henry M. Thomas III, President and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield Inc., acknowledges PeoplesBank's contribution of $113,200 to the Urban League and six other Springfield organizations at the bank's ribbon cutting for their new 1240 Sumner Ave. branch. At left is Douglas A. Bowen, President and CEO of PeoplesBank.
By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD For the president of PeoplesBank, the opening of another branch in Springfield and the donation of tens of thousands of dollars to Springfield-based groups is part of the mission of a locally owned community bank.
"As a community bank, we are focused on the needs of our customers and the cities and towns we serve," PeoplesBank President Douglas Bowen stated. "To that end, PeoplesBank is committed to supporting the area's charitable and civic organizations. Organizations like these we are highlighting today enrich our lives and support the most vulnerable in our community. Along with our financial commitment, we encourage our employees to volunteer their time and leadership skills to some of these same organizations to ensure that their important work will continue."
To celebrate the recent opening of the bank's newest branch office at 1240 Sumner Ave., PeoplesBank made the following contributions: American International College, $50,000; Rachel's Table, $15,000; ReStore Home Improvement Center, $10,000; Springfield Falcons, $11,200; Springfield Public Forum, $4,000 Springfield Symphony, $8,000; and Urban League of Springfield, $15,000.
Bowen told Reminder Publications when the PeoplesBank branch opened in Sixteen Acres two years ago, the bank made a $75,000 contribution toward the Greenleaf Community Center.
Currently the Holyoke-based mutual bank has 15 offices in Hampden and Hampshire counties and Bowen said the bank has identified three locations on which new branches would be built over the next three years in Northampton, East Springfield and West Springfield.
At a time when larger national banks are buying out locally owned and regional banks, PeoplesBank retains its independence and its local roots by remaining a mutual bank, Bowen said. With no stocks and shareholders, the bank can "focus squarely on the needs of the customers," he added.
The continued success of the bank in competing against larger institutions is based on two factors, he said.
"Convenience is a key issue," he explained. "A lot of the [bank's] success is that people value a community bank relationship."
He said the bank places its branches in heavily populated areas to reach the greatest number of customers.
Underscoring the relationships built between the bank's employees and their customers, Bowen said his staff performs thousands of hours of volunteer work in the communities they serve.
"We are very happy to expand our presence in Springfield," Bowen said. "PeoplesBank already has a sizeable customer base in this neighborhood and they will be better served by this new office. Along with our Sixteen Acres and East Longmeadow locations, we are now able to offer a higher level of convenience to those who value a community bank relationship."
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