Berkshire Bank buys Eastern Mass. mortgage corporation

Thursday May 3, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Bank has made another foray into Eastern Massachusetts, acquiring a Boston-area mortgage corporation with close ties to the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Based in Needham, Green park Mortgage Corp. also operates offices in Quincy, Cambridge, Methuen, Tewks bury, Andover and Westbor ough, and has licensed professionals operating in all six New England states plus Florida and Mississippi. Berkshire declined to release the purchase price.

This is the bank's first purchase of a mortgage corporation, said Sean Gray, vice president of retail banking. Under the terms of the transaction, Berkshire purchased Green park's assets, but not the company's liabilities.

Berkshire Bancorp, the bank's holding company, has purchased three regional banking companies in the last 13 months. But this transaction was made solely by the bank, Gray said.

"We were interested because we think that they're the best at what they do," Gray said of Greenpark.

Greenpark's entire mortgage lending team will be added to Berkshire along with the corporation's two founders, Paul Gershkowitz and Patty O'Meara, who will become first vice presidents of Berk shire Bank. Gersh kowitz and O'Meara founded Green park in 2001.

The firm will continue to operate as Greenpark Mort gage Division of Berkshire Bank, and will maintain its status as the exclusively endorsed home mortgage company of the MTA. The state teachers union represents 107,000 professionals in 400 local state teachers associations -- including the United Edu cators of Pittsfield, the city's largest collective bargaining organization.

Berkshire's first expansion into the eastern part of the state occurred two years ago when the bank recruited an asset lending team from TD Bank that is based in Woburn, Gray said. Berkshire has also recently opened a commercial loan office in Worcester.

"This is a complement to the expansion we've already made into Eastern Massachusetts," Gray said.

Berkshire and Greenpark signed an asset purchase agreement on March 19 under which the bank would acquire the business model, expertise and certain other assets of the mortgage corporation. The transaction was completed on Tuesday.

That agreement was finalized a month before Berk shire's Bancorp's $30 million purchase of the Hartford-based Connec ticut Bank and Trust Co., which received final regulatory ap proval on April 20.

Berkshire currently has $4.3 million in assets, and operates 68 branches in four states.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
(413) 496-6224
On Twitter: @tonydobrow


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