Berkshire Hills Bancorp in Pittsfield, Mass., has plucked a team of bankers from rival Sovereign Bank to lead its expansion in commercial lending.

The $4 billion-asset company said Tuesday that it has named James Curran as commercial regional manager and John Faber and Karen Dumas as commercial relationship managers. David Sabourin, vice president and commercial relationship manager, Suzana Trebicka, assistant vice president and senior commercial credit underwriter, and Timothy Hussey, assistant vice president and portfolio manager, also will join Berkshire from Sovereign.

Beginning Thursday, the group will work out of Berkshire's commercial banking office in Westborough, Mass. Berkshire said that the team has worked together for more than two decades at Sovereign and has more than 85 years of combined experience in commercial lending to businesses in central Massachusetts and northern Connecticut.

Patrick J. Sullivan, executive vice president of commercial banking, said the commercial banking expansion will help Berkshire to "diversify from commercial real estate toward business banking targeted specifically for small- and middle-market businesses."

Berkshire has been aggressively expanding in the Northeast. The company has acquired banks in New York and Massachusetts this year and in October it announced it was buying Connecticut Bank and Trust Co. in a deal that would extend Berkshire's reach into the Hartford, Conn., market.

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