First Connecticut Bancorp in Farmington has committed to making $5 million in small-business loans over the next year.
The $2.7 billion-asset company said in a press release that it will target new and existing customers in western Massachusetts markets such as Springfield, West Springfield and East Longmeadow. First Connecticut said it will also waive loan application fees for customers who open a new business checking account.
This pledge follows the company's decision last year to open two branches around Springfield.
"For us, it's really about being committed to and reinvesting in the communities," Andreas Kapetanopoulos, the company's senior vice president of small business and government, said in an interview.
First Connecticut's loan portfolio includes nearly 2,000 loans with face values of less than $1 million. Last year, the company made 177 loans, totaling $83 million, to companies with less than $1 million in annual revenue.
Ken Burns, First Connecticut's executive vice president of retail banking, said the company had its economist develop a Springfield economic scorecard, based on talks with eight different industries in the area. "That's a reflection of how we've actually taken the bank and become part of the economic driver of the area and not just making loans," he said.
First Connecticut, meanwhile, plans to open two more branches — in the Connecticut communities of Vernon and Manchester — later this year.