Tomp­kins VIST Bank to open a Boy­er­town branch

CEO sees area as ex­cel­lent mar­ket for com­mu­nity and branch bank­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­cBiz on Twit­ter

WY­OMISS­ING >> Tomp­kins VIST Bank has an­nounced plans to open a bank­ing branch in down­town Boy­er­town.

The lo­ca­tion at 101 E. Philadel­phia Ave. will be the com­pany’s 20th branch and is sched­uled to open in early De­cem­ber.

The Boy­er­town branch fol­lows the open­ing in late June of a Tomp­kins VIST Bank branch in Pottstown at 258 E. High St. — and rep­re­sents an ex­pan­sion of the com­pany’s com­mu­nity bank­ing model.

“We’re in the fi­nal plan­ning stages, and we’re ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to bring our strength and our style of com­mu­nity bank­ing to a mar­ket that has al­ways re­sponded well to com­mu­nity banks,” Tomp­kins VIST Bank Pres­i­dent/CEO Scott Gru­ber said in a press re­lease. “Like our re­cently opened branch in Pottstown, the new Boy­er­town lo­ca­tion will help us bet­ter serve the needs of the Tri-County area.”

The new branch will of­fer fullser­vice bank­ing, ac­cord­ing to Gru­ber, in­clud­ing con­sumer de­posit ac­counts and per­sonal loans as well as com­mer­cial loans, cash man­age­ment and other ser­vices for busi­nesses. The branch ameni­ties will in­clude a drive-up, night-drop and drive-up ATM ser­vices. Gru­ber added that the lo­ca­tion will also of­fer in­surance and wealth man­age­ment.

In Pottstown, the bank­ing branch opened in­side a lo­ca­tion that al­ready housed a Tomp­kins In­surance of­fice. In Boy­er­town, Gru­ber said the com­pany is start­ing fresh in a stand-alone branch.

“It’s one as­pect that ex­cited me,” Gru­ber said. “For a num­ber of peo­ple branches are im­por­tant, but for some peo­ple they aren’t. This is an ex­cel­lent mar­ket for com­mu­nity bank­ing and branch bank­ing. We know the mar­ket well and are in­ter­ested in serv­ing the mar­ket well. We’re go­ing in with good knowl­edge and we hope they will re­ceive us well.”

Both Boy­er­town and Pottstown — and other com­mu­ni­ties — have re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced a loss in com­mu­nity banks through merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions, in­clud­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of Na­tional Penn Bank and Susque­hanna Bank by BB&T.

Gru­ber said Tomp­kins VIST Bank’s de­ci­sion to en­ter those

com­mu­ni­ties is a de­lib­er­ate effort to bring com­mu­nity bank­ing back to those com­mu­ni­ties.

“It is ex­actly our strat­egy. We are lo­cally head­quar­tered, have a lo­cal board and lo­cal de­ci­sion mak­ing — which is im­por­tant,” he said. “We are big in sup­port­ing the com­mu­ni­ties we serve — that’s part of com­mu­nity bank­ing. This is hap­pen­ing at a time when a lot of oth­ers are clos­ing branches.”

He said that one of the down­sides of merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions is that “great peo­ple lose their jobs and com­mu­ni­ties are im­pacted.”

Gru­ber added that while things may have slowed a bit, there is still a very ac­tive mar­ket in merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions across the U.S.

“In June, for ex­am­ple, the num­ber of an­nounced ac­qui­si­tions was 25 per­cent higher than it was in Jan­uary,” he said. “As we look to 2017 and 2018 there may be oth­ers — there will be con­tin­ued pres­sure to merge with oth­ers.”

It is a pres­sure that Tomp­kins VIST Bank will con­tinue to re­sist, Gru­ber added.

“Our board is very fo­cused on re­main­ing in­de­pen­dent, and our per­for­mance presents the best op­por­tu­nity to stay in­de­pen­dent,” Gru­ber said, adding the com­pany con­tin­ues to grow.

“We are fo­cused on mak­ing sure our cus­tomers are taken care of and we don’t let them down. We will grow in a mea­sured way and a suc­cess­ful way — and that suc­cess will be mea­sured by our cus­tomer and share­holder view. As we look be­yond — we want to make sure we are de­liv­er­ing ex­cel­lent ser­vice wher­ever we go.”

Gru­ber added that there are no plans ap­proved yet for ad­di­tional branches for next year.

“We want to do these two and do them well,” he said.

Ap­provals for the Boy­er­town branch have al­ready been given by the com­pany’s board, the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Bank­ing and Se­cu­rity and the FDIC. Cos­metic work will be done on the build­ing and Gru­ber said the com­pany is look­ing to a Dec. 5 open­ing.

The branch will ini­tially be staffed with four em­ploy­ees.

Gru­ber ex­pects most of the em­ploy­ees will be new hires.

Tomp­kins VIST Bank, a sub­sidiary of Tomp­kins Fi­nan­cial Cor­po­ra­tion, serves Berks, Mont­gomery, Philadel­phia and Schuylkill coun­ties. The bank is rated 5 stars for strength and sta­bil­ity by Bauer.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.vist­bank.com.

Scott Gru­ber

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