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Marlborough Savings Readies For New HQ

By Eileen Kennedy
MetroWest495 Biz Writer

Marlborough Savings Bank expects to break ground this September on a new $3.5 million main office at 81 Granger Blvd. in Marlborough so it has more office space and customers have more room to park.

Its current headquarters is at 166 Main St. has become too cramped for the bank and only offers four parking spaces for the bank's customers, said Rick Bennett, the bank's president and CEO. "We were originally looking just for operations center space, but the more we thought about it, the management team and board of directors wanted to find a site downtown for everything if at all possible," Bennett said. And with a limited amount of large, downtown properties, there weren't a lot of choices, he said.

The new headquarters will be a three-story, 16,500-square-foot building with 25 dedicated parking spaces. Once its headquarters are located in the new building next year, it will move its loan center into the 166 Main St. offices. It will then close its current loan center at 178 Main St.

High Profile

The new location also provides more visibility and makes more people aware of the bank, Bennett said.

It would seem many customers are already aware of the bank since its growth has driven its expansion needs.

"Organic growth has really helped the bank grow and prosper," Bennett said. Its assets have grown to $372 million as of this June from $348 million in June 2008, he said. Bennett credits the bank's success in part to a recession.

"We stayed away from subprime lending and we stuck to the basics, the blocking and tackling of banking," he said, referring to conservative lending practices. "The stock market hasn't done well, real estate hasn't done well, and people are parking their money for a time in community banks until such time as things improve."

The bank's longevity has played a part as well.

"We've been around a long time. We do a lot to build relationships with our customers and we see a lot of repeat business and referrals from existing customers."

When the new office opens next year in early summer, it will help kick off the bank's 150th anniversary, Bennett said.

The city views the bank as an important downtown economic development key because it has agreed to a 13-year, $360,000 tax increment financing (TIF) agreement. It is based on the $3.5 million to build the new offices, $500,000 to furnish it and $2.6 million in future capital investments the bank hopes to make, Bennett said.

As part of that agreement, the bank expects to hire 13 full-time employees over that time, Bennett said. TIFs are based in part on job creation.

The TIF includes a 5 percent investment tax credit from the state on bank assets that qualify, said Lynn Tokarczyk, owner of Business Development Strategies Inc. of Medway, the consulting company that helped the bank with its TIF application and negotiations.

"These economic tools allow companies to expand in Massachusetts and keep the state more competitive," Tokarczyk said. "Without these tools, companies might not make investments in the commonwealth."

The Marlborough bank joins a number of financial institutions that have built new corporate offices or operations centers lately.

Leominster Credit Union is building a 31,000-square-foot headquarters next to its existing offices on Adams Street, where it has been for 50 years. Webster First Federal Credit Union has opened a new 85,000-square-foot operations center on Greenwood Street in Worcester.

And in 2007, Fidelity Bank built a new, 47,000-square-foot corporate headquarters across from the Mall at Whitney Field in Leominster.