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Financial institutions offer steps to support businesses, customers to alleviate hardships

Berkshire County.

Like many businesses throughout the commonwealth, community banks in Southern Berkshire County have taken proactive steps to slow the spread of the COVID-19.
Though financial institutions fall under essential services, the state Division of Banks recognized the potential for coronavirus disease to have an adverse effect on operations for financial institutions as well as their customers. In a statement issued by the division, Deputy Commissioner James Barrett encouraged financial institutions to work with affected customers and communities, and suggested taking efforts like waiving ATM and overdraft fees.
While branch lobbies are closed for south county financial branch locations for NBT Bank, Salisbury Bank, Lee Bank, Berkshire Bank and Greylock Federal Credit Union, ATMs and drive-up facilities have been made available. Some are even scheduling appointments for account holders for commercial loans or access to safe deposit boxes, for example, on a case-by-case basis.
Lee Bank’s Lee, Lenox and Stockbridge locations remain staffed, but lobby access will be available by appointment only, said President and CEO Chuck Leach in a statement via the bank’s website. Until further notice, all branches and drive-ups will be staffed Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Drive-ups in Stockbridge and Lenox will also be available on Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Leach also noted in a statement that borrowers that are experiencing financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic are advised to reach out to bank branch representatives by phone or email to your branch contact or to a member of the commercial team for review of every customer’s situation on a case-by-case basis.
Although Boston-based Berkshire Bank’s 30 East Otis Road in Otis branch is temporarily closed, all other bank locations in south county will maintain hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Norwich, New York-based NBT Bank’s drive-up location in Lee is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. The Great Barrington drive-up location is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Access to the lobbies at both locations are available via appointment only.
NBT Bank also has established a dedicated COVID-19 Customer Relief Line at 1-888-235-2881.
Salisbury Bank, which is headquartered in Lakeville, Connecticut, has three south county locations in Great Barrington, Sheffield and South Egremont, that are maintaining drive-up services. Their website features hardship application forms for consumer loan customers as well as a form for the Paycheck Protection Program for business owners.
In south county, Greylock Federal Credit Union’s Great Barrington branch has drive-up services available, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 to 12:30 p.m.
Both Berkshire Bank and NBT Bank have temporarily increased daily limits for ATM withdrawals and waived penalties for early CD withdrawals up to $20,000 for small businesses as well as retail banking, personal loans and mortgages. Both banks are offering certain payment deferrals on consumer loans.
NBT Bank has also developed programs to provide relief through working capital lines of credit and payment deferrals, said Dan Kinney, business banking regional manager for NBT.

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