CHICOPEE—Florence Bank broke ground Thursday on its third Hampden County branch at 705 Memorial Drive in Chicopee. Bank leaders said the full-service location will open later this year.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had identified and procured the former Hu Ke Lau restaurant site as our third location in Hampden County,” said Kevin R. Day, Florence Bank’s president. “While it feels strange to be moving forward during this economic standstill, we are excited that our customers in Chicopee will soon have new and more convenient options for banking with us.”
Day added, “Chicopee is an industrious city and was the clear choice for our next branch location. We’re thrilled to be able to serve the people there. We’re going to be part of the community for a long time.”
Florence Bank has hundreds of customers living in Chicopee and nearly 5,000 customers living in Hampden County. Day said the bank looks forward to deepening its impact in the region and working with neighboring businesses.
Chicopee Mayor John L. Vieau welcomed Florence Bank and said, “It’s exciting to have some new development here on the former Hu Ke Lau site and we’re thankful to have Florence Bank who is going to be a great partner for the city. We’re looking forward to working with them and in this time of uncertainty, it’s nice to see that there’s progress and things are still moving forward.”
The bank has been working closely with the following local vendors to bring the Chicopee branch to life: Marois Construction Company of South Hadley, HAI Architecture of Northampton, and R. Levesque Associates, an engineering firm in Westfield.
Florence Bank began expanding into Hampden County in 2017, opening its first branch at 1010 Union St. in West Springfield that August. In December 2018, the bank opened a second Hampden County location on Allen Street in Springfield.
Similar in style to the West Springfield Banking Center and the Allen Street branch, the Chicopee location will have an open floor plan with a full-service teller pod and innovative technology for quick cash handling. The location will also feature a drive-up ATM with SMART technology for easy depositing.
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, Day said, allows it to make decisions about what’s best for customers and the community.
“Our mutual model is what allows us to be local and stay local,” Day said. “When you’re owned by shareholders, those shareholders are from who knows where, and their goals and objectives can be vastly different from what ours are. Branching is changing. Customers can do so much more away from the branch. But they still need to know who they’re banking with, and people want to be able to see us and know they can reach us when they have questions.”
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 Springfield. Additionally, they offer 24 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.