Mount Holyoke College and South Hadley Electric Light Department to cut ribbon on major solar power project

South Hadley, MA —Representatives from the South Hadley Electric Light Department (SHELD) and Mount Holyoke College will join with members of the South Hadley and Mount Holyoke communities to cut the ribbon on a just-completed solar panel project representing 1,472 panels mounted to the roof of the College's Kendall Sports and Dance Complex. The system will generate 541,600 kilowatt hours of electricity each year, roughly equivalent to the power demands of 66 households.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 2 pm on Monday, November 19 outside the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex on Dunlap Place on the north side of the MHC campus. Tours of the rooftop solar array will follow the ribbon cutting for members of the media.

The solar array will provide clean, renewable electric power to the athletic center and adjacent campus facilities, helping both the College and the utility advance their renewable energy goals.

Among participants will be Mount Holyoke President Sonya Stephens; SHELD General Manager Sean Fitzgerald; Shannon Gurek, MHC’s VP for Finance and Administration; Tito Sharma, President and CEO, Nextgen Renewable Solutions; Todd Bard, President and CEO of Lee Energy Group, and a number of local officials.

Installation of the array began in July. Lee Energy Group LLC, of Feeding Hills, and NextGen Renewable Solutions, a leading provider of commercial solar installations, developed the system for SHELD and the College.

The photovoltaic installation is the first large-scale commercial rooftop solar project in South Hadley 

Westfield Bank Announces Plans to Open Liberty Street Office in Springfield

Full-service office scheduled to open in July 2018

Westfield, MA—Westfield Bank is pleased to announce that it will open a full-service branch office at 1342 Liberty Street in Springfield, Massachusetts in July 2018. When it opens, the Liberty Street office, which currently has a 24-hour ATM, will be operated as a full-service branch featuring lobby and drive-up banking, a drive-up ATM, and banking specialists trained to assist customers with business banking, residential mortgages, and investment and insurance services (via Westfield Financial Management Services). Construction is already underway, with renovations expected to be completed in late June or early July.

“Opening our Liberty Street office reaffirms our longstanding commitment to the City of Springfield,” said Westfield Bank President and CEO James C. Hagan. “Coupled with our branch office and commercial banking center at Tower Square in downtown Springfield and our East Street office just over the Springfield line in Chicopee, we are better positioned to deliver our products and services and provide added convenience for customers who live or work in the City of Homes. We’re confident that our community bank values, customer-first approach, and convenience-based products and services will continue to be a great fit for Springfield.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno expressed his support for the opening of Westfield Bank’s newest office and the Bank’s commitment to Springfield.

“I appreciate not only Westfield Bank’s belief and investment in Springfield,” said Mayor Sarno, “but just as importantly, their continued philanthropic efforts towards our community, too.”

According to Mr. Hagan, Roberta Lussier, who currently oversees the Bank’s Tower Square office in downtown Springfield, will also manage the Liberty Street office. “Roberta has over 35 years of banking experience and is in touch with the unique needs of retail and business customers in Springfield. She knows this city extremely well and will be supported by a highly experienced team of retail and commercial bankers whose number one priority is to help our customers succeed. To us, that’s ‘what better banking’s all about.’” 

Westfield Bank plans to celebrate the opening of the Liberty Street office with special events and promotions, which will be announced at a later date. 

“Opening at this location means a great deal to us and we’re proud to do our part to help support Springfield’s economic renaissance,” said Mr. Hagan. “We look forward to opening this office and getting to meet our future customers.”

 

About Westfield Bank

Westfield Bank is a federally chartered stock savings bank that is insured by the Federal Deposit  Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Founded in 1853, the Bank has twenty-one full-service offices in Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Feeding Hills, Holyoke, Ludlow, South Hadley, Southwick, Springfield, Ware, Westfield, and West Springfield, Massachusetts; and Enfield and Granby, Connecticut.

Franklin Hampshire Career Center Consolidates Offices

On August 25 the Franklin Hampshire Northampton Career Center at 178 Industrial Drive will consolidate into the Franklin Hampshire Greenfield Career Center located at One Arch Place (6 Arch St.) in Greenfield.  The Franklin Hampshire Career Center has experienced significant federal funding reductions over the last two years requiring the Career Center to merge its two career centers into one full service center. 

The Franklin Hampshire Employment and Training Consortium, which operates the Career Center, and the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, which sets workforce policy for the region, recently undertook a facility planning process to determine how best to serve customers with reduced resources exploring a variety of restructuring and relocation options.  A single full-service Career Center with satellite services in high demand areas was identified as the optimal solution.  This will allow the Career Center to retain sufficient staff to provide a full range of services throughout the two county region while reducing operating costs. 

FHETC is currently working with partner agencies to identify a location in Northampton where Career Center staff can be stationed several days a week to provide Employment and Career services on a part-time basis.  Services will include: Career Center membership applications, needs assessment and referral to Career Center programs or partner agency programs, Career Center information seminars to introduce the public to Career Center services, assistance with Unemployment Insurance claims, job search and re-employment assistance, and rotating workshops on a variety of employment topics including resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, and applying for jobs online.   

Business services will now operate out of the Greenfield office although job fairs and employer recruitments will continue to take place in Hampshire County.  Individualized job training and job search assistance will now take place in the Greenfield office, but limited one-on-one appointments will be made available for people unable to get to the Greenfield office.  The Career Center also will expand its use of online and electronic services.  Some follow up services will be done over the phone or online via Skype or other teleconferenced services for those with internet and computer access. 

Career Center Executive Director, Teri Anderson, stated “The Career Center is committed to serving Hampshire County.  We are making every effort to modernize and think creatively about our service delivery options to address funding shortfalls that limit our brick and mortar locations.  Our goal is to reach remote and high demand areas of our service area, and the Career Center is exploring other possible satellite service locations within the limits of our funding and staffing.”  For instance, the Career Center currently stations a staff person one day a week at The Literacy Project office in Orange.  We hope to be able to do this in Northampton and other locations in Hampshire County particularly east of the Connecticut River, she said.  

Regional Employment Board Chair William Sharp notes that “while the consolidation of the Franklin Hampshire Career Centers is regrettable, the process that was implemented to evaluate our options was diligent and thorough.  As we move forward we will look for new opportunities to provide greater access to our services for our customers in both the Hampshire and Franklin County regions.”

For Hampshire County residents that don’t have access to a car, the Franklin Regional Transit Authority operates round trip bus service between downtown Northampton and downtown Greenfield 4 times per day during Career Center business hours including 2 express bus runs.   Also, the Franklin Regional Transit Authority and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority have bus connections in Sunderland that provide bus service between Amherst and Greenfield. 

Information about how to take advantage of Career Center services after August 24th can be found on the Franklin Hampshire Career Center website at:  http://www.fhcc-onestop.com/ or by calling the Career Center at 413-774-4361.  Inquiries to the Northampton Career Center can be made until August 24th by calling 413-586-6506. 

WESTERN NEW ENGLAND BANCORP, INC. REPORTS RESULTS FOR THREE AND SIX MONTHS ENDED JUNE 30, 2017 AND DECLARES QUARTERLY CASH DIVIDEND

Westfield, Massachusetts, July 26, 2017: Western New England Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company” or “WNEB”) (NasdaqGS:WNEB), the holding company for Westfield Bank (the “Bank”), today announced unaudited results of operations for the three and six months ended June 30, 2017. The Company also announced that the Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.03 per share, payable on or about August 23, 2017 to shareholders of record on August 9, 2017. The first and second quarter financial results for 2017 reflect full quarters of combined operations following the completion of the merger of Chicopee Bancorp, Inc. (“Chicopee”) into WNEB on October 21, 2016. The second quarter financial results for 2016 reflect the pre-merger operations of the Company. As a result, the Company’s 2017 second quarter may not be comparable to financial results for the second quarter of 2016.

James C. Hagan, President and CEO stated, “We are pleased with the progress we are making with the continued merger integration, and we had a small amount of merger-related charges this quarter in that regard. On a core basis, our second quarter financial performance was similar to the first quarter, even while incurring a number of expenses in the second quarter that we do not anticipate to be recurring. Our focus continues to be on leveraging the merger to make a meaningful impact in our expanded market area, growing our balance sheet, continuing to improve our financial performance and increasing our tangible book value. We have made meaningful improvement in our performance and returns as a result of the merger and look to continue our momentum.”

 

Financial Highlights Highlights for the quarter include the following:

  • Net income of $3.8 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, for the three months ended June 30, 2017, as compared to $5.1 million, or $0.17 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2017. On a core basis (as described below), net income for the three months ended June 30, 2017 was $3.7 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, as compared to $3.8 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2017.
  • On a core basis, which the Company defines as exclusive of merger related expenses and tax benefits, return on average assets and return on average equity were 0.72% and 5.99%, respectively, for the three months ended June 30, 2017, as compared to 0.74% and 6.28%, respectively, for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 0.38% and 3.64%, respectively, for the three months ended June 30, 2016.
  • Loan growth continued favorably with commercial and industrial loans increasing $11.5 million, or 4.9%, during the three months ended June 30, 2017, and $21.7 million, or 9.8%, during the six months ended June 30, 2017. Total loans increased $42.2 million, or 2.7%, during the six months ended June 30, 2017, net of an expected $7.5 million payoff related to a completed commercial real estate construction project during the first quarter of 2017.
  • Total deposits decreased $22.7 million, or 1.5%, for the first six months of 2017, which reflects both the cyclical nature of our municipal deposit balances, and our desire to reduce higher cost non-core deposits and focus on increasing lower cost, core customer deposit relationships. 
  • Tangible book value per share was $7.55 at June 30, 2017, an increase of $0.11 per share from the first quarter of 2017 and $0.30 per share, or 4.1%, from year-end 2016.

 

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