Tompkins VIST Bank to open a Boyertown branch
CEO sees area as excellent market for community and branch banking
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.