Northeast Community Bancorp (NECB) in White Plains, N.Y., is opening a fourth branch in Massachusetts as part of its continued expansion in the suburbs surrounding Boston.
In a news release Tuesday, the $506 million-asset parent of Northeast Community Bank said it is also in the process of establishing an insurance agency that would operate as a subsidiary of the bank and offer a range of insurance products to retail and corporate customers.
Northeast has opened three branches and a loan production office in Massachusetts in the last three years and last summer it hired a team of loan officers from Danversbank after the bank was acquired by People’s United Financial (PBCT) of Bridgeport, Conn. Kenneth A. Martinek, the company’s chairman, president and chief executive, said in an interview that the Boston area is an attractive market for a community bank because the region is dominated by larger banks that generally look to make larger loans.
He added that Northeast – which continues to scout for other potential branch locations in Massachusetts – is using its upstart Boston franchise as a testing ground for new lending opportunities.
Northeast is primarily a commercial real estate and multi-family lender, but Martinek said that the Boston team’s mandate is to expand the bank’s reach in commercial-and-industrial, single-family and other loan categories. Ultimately, the plan is to take the model it is rolling out in Massachusetts with its new hires to its New York branches, where bankers “have never been asked to go out and sell,” Martinek said.
Martinek did not disclose the location of the new branch, saying only that it is southeastern Massachusetts. Its other Boston-area branches are in Danvers, Framingham and Plymouth.
Martinek said that Northeast is launching an insurance agency to complement services offered by its wealth management subsidiary. Northeast is starting the firm from scratch but Martinek said that he is also eyeing acquisitions of insurance agencies in New York and Massachusetts.