Berkshire Hills Bancorp in Pittsfield, Mass., plans to accelerate its growth in upstate New York by opening regional headquarters in Albany.

The $8 billion-asset holding company for Berkshire Bank said Friday that it expects to open the office in New York's capital by the middle of December.

Berkshire Bank has 29 branches in the state's Capital District that includes Albany County and 10 other counties. The bank opened its two branches in the capital in 2005 and 2010.

"We've been in the Capital District of New York State for about 15 years, and we have been growing since we first entered this market," Scott Houghtaling, Berkshire's executive vice president of commercial banking, said in an interview on Friday. "Specifically over the past two years, we've grown tremendously."

Houghtaling said the new headquarters will support growth in commercial banking, small-business lending, private banking and wealth management. The bank has also added employees for strategic support services for its teams in the region.

"So that has driven us to look for more space, but also we're looking to make a statement about our commitment to downtown Albany and the region," Houghtaling said.

Berkshire Bancorp has 43 offices and branches in New York, compared with 39 in its home state. It also has eight locations in Connecticut and six in Vermont.

The company on Thursday announced that it agreed to pay $10.2 million for the assets and certain liabilities of Ronald N. Lazzaro PC, a Vermont-based wealth management firm.

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