PITTSFIELD — Greylock Federal Credit Union has 14 branches, but none have grown as fast as the one in Lee.
Membership has doubled in Lee during the past decade, and because of that Greylock has outgrown its branch at 47 Main St.
So Greylock is moving a short distance to a roomier building at 43 Park St.
The county’s largest credit union is spending $2.2 million to purchase and renovate its new address, which most recently was a branch office for New York state-based Trustco Bank. Greylock paid $950,000 to purchase the building from its previous owner, a limited liability company from West Springfield that had owned the property since 2004 and began leasing it to Trustco in 2007. Before it was a bank, it was a doughnut shop.
The sale closed Jan. 30, according to documents filed at the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds. The building is scheduled to reopen as a full-service branch in late 2023. The current branch will stay open until then.
“It’s much more accessible,” Greylock’s President and CEO John Bissell said. “It’s still in the center of Lee. We wanted a drive-in window, and it already had one in it. We also wanted a branch that could be accessible by foot and by car and that allows for community meeting space.”
Greylock’s branch on Main Street has no drive-in window and only 900 square feet. The new branch is more 2,465-square feet.
“In our old space we could only fit about five employees,” Bissell said. “The new one can have eight to 10 employees as well as a meeting room that can accommodate up to 12 people.”
Greylock has had a branch in Lee since 1998.
“It was an historic branch that was relatively useful for transactions,” Bissell said, “but for building relationships, we need more space.”
The community room will be used partly for Greylock’s financial-literacy programs, which the credit union started several years ago to provide services to members who live in low-income areas that have traditionally been underserved by financial institutions.
Greylock’s $4.5 million renovation of its branch on Kellogg Street in Pittsfield’s Morningside neighborhood in 2019 included the establishment of a community-empowerment center.
Bissell said the community space in the new Lee branch is being created “in the same spirit” as the one on Kellogg Street but “it won’t be as large.” It will be more similar to the space that Greylock provides for those services at its branch in Hudson, N.Y.
“We’ve seen how successful those locations are as a hub for financial education and community engagement,” he said.
Deposits in Lee have also grown faster for Greylock than at any other branch, Bissell said, having increased by $16 million between June 2020 and June 2022, according to figures supplied by the credit union.
“Our model is really based around financial inclusion,” Bissell said. “Around the county, especially in Lee, we’ve worked to be engaging to the immigrant community. That’s a big part of our growth in many locations, especially in Lee.”