Berkshire Bank Acquiring 20 Bank of America Branches
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's largest bank is getting bigger with the addition of 20 retail bank branches in New York.
Berkshire Bank, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp. Inc., has entered into a purchase-and-assumption agreement for bank branches from Bank of America. The branches are located in New York markets within or contiguous to markets currently served by Berkshire.
The acquired branches have approximately $640 million in total deposits and $5 million in loans. Both banks will be working to ensure a seamless transition for customer accounts; employees will transfer over to Berkshire Bank.
This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
According to Berkshire, the acquisition will increase its total branch count to 94, and its New York branches to 37. Berkshire has $5.2 billion in assets.
Berkshire CEO Michael Daly said in a statement that the "transaction meets our financial criteria and is expected to contribute to our long-term strategic and financial goals."
Jefferies LLC was financial adviser to Berkshire and Luse Gorman Pomerenk & Schick P.C. was outside legal counsel. A presentation with additional information about the deposit acquisition will be posted on Berkshire's Investor Relations website.
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Common Good Finance Gets Google Grant
The organization is set to launch its R Credit initiative next year in Greenfield. The "R" in R Credits stands for "Regenerative, Revolutionary, and taking Responsibility" for the local economy.
"It combines features from successful alternative credit systems, adding technology innovations and procedures to ensure a secure, profitable experience for everyone," said William Spademan, president of Common Good Finance, in a statement.
The system is somewhat similar to Berkshares in that it promotes the use of local currency but is designed to be far more reaching in terms of democratic participation in its uses and equal exchange with dollars.
More information: www.commongoodfinance.com or call 413-628-3336.
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Financial Writer Weiner Speaking at AIER
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Bookloft and the American Institute for Economic Research are sponsoring an event with financial journalist and local author Eric J. Weiner. Weiner will be at AIER's headquarters Friday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. to speak and to sign copies of his new book "The Shadow Market," published by Scribner.
America's economic confidence has been deeply shaken by the Great Recession. But while the media has focused on such factors as consumer-debt levels, unemployment, and the government bailout of banks, an entirely different phenomenon has arisen — the arrival of the "Shadow Market," a multitrillion-dollar network of super-rich, secretive, and largely unregulated financial vehicles that are quietly buying up the world, piece by valuable piece.
Weiner reveals in his new book how these investors, many of them foreign countries, are increasingly controlling the global economy and seizing power from the United States in ways that our government cannot stop and about which the average American knows nothing.
Weiner has covered business and economic issues for 15 years as a writer and editor. A former columnist and reporter for Dow Jones Newswires, he has written for The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Village Voice, and countless other major publications. He is the author of the critically acclaimed "What Goes Up: The Uncensored History of Modern Wall Street as Told by Bankers, Brokers, CEOs, and Scoundrels Who Made It Happen." He is also a contributor to the news and opinion website The Huffington Post. He and his family live in Great Barrington.
The talk is open to the public. AIER is located at 250 Division St. Call The Bookloft at 413-528-1521 or AIER at 413-528-1216 for more information.
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Crane Gives $100 Bill High-Tech Touch
DALTON, Mass. — Crane & Co. officials were on hand this morning as the new $100 bill was unveiled in the U.S. Treasury Department's Cash Room in Washington. The Dalton printer has been making the specialized paper for the nation's folding currency for more than 100 years.
The bill includes a variety of high-tech additions to help defeat counterfeiting; the U.S. $100 bill is the most widely counterfeited note.
"As the supplier of the paper used to produce the redesigned $100 bill, Crane & Co. worked diligently to provide the Bureau of Engraving & Printing with paper that contains an updated suite of security elements," said Douglas Crane, vice president, in a statement. "These features were designed to address the government's twin objectives of elevating the security of the world's most recognized banknote, while at the same time enhancing its ease of use — both of which serve to support and extend the public’s confidence in the banknote."
The security includes a micro-optic "Motion" feature that creates simulated images on the security thread that appear to move as the bill is tilted and also switches from one image to another — from $100 to the Liberty Bell — in an stylized inkwell. That should create a major challenge to potential counterfeiters, said Crane.
The bill also has the traditional anti-counterfeit devices like scattered blue and red fibers, a facial watermark of Ben Franklin, embedded security thread that glows under ultraviolet and darker number watermarks.
Crane officials will be demonstrating the bill's new attributes at the Dalton mill on Friday to a select group of officials and press that includes iBerkshires.
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Legacy Acquiring Renaissance Investment
Legacy Banks is entering into a "strategic affiliation" with Renaissance Investment Group LLC of Pittsfield.
The bank, one of the largest in the county, said it plans to purchase 10-year-old Renaissance, making it a wholly-owned subsidiary. According to a statement, Renaissance will continue as an independent investment adviser and will operate separately and distinctly from Legacy Portfolio Management.
Legacy Chairman J. Williar Dunleavy said the investment is a win-win, since both companies will be able offer clients alternatives in financial counseling and investment management.
Renaissance President and Managing Director H. Ashley Smith Jr. said the company's investment philosophy won't change and that clients will continue to see their same investment managers. "We will maintain our name as well as our South Street offices."
Renaissance's track record and financial strength attracted Legacy, said Smith.
Both men said a "seamless transition" is expected and that clients should notice no change. The transaction is expected to be completed by April 30.
Legacy Banks is headquartered in Pittsfield and employs 186 people in 19 offices throughout Western Massachusetts and eastern New York. Renaissance lists seven officers and counselors and manages a $95 million portfolio.
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