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Androscoggin Bank Opens Business Office in Piscataquis County

Androscoggin Bank Opens Business Office in Piscataquis County

Lewiston-based Androscoggin Bank has opened a business development office in Guilford, Maine. The office, located in the former Guilford Medical Building, will be open by appointment at least one day a week beginning January 22, 2024. The purpose of the business office will be to offer Treasury and Government Deposit, Commercial and Government Financing and wealth management services, among others offered by Androscoggin Bank.

“We are excited to open this business office. Androscoggin Bank has strong Government and Commercial Banking capabilities which we will bring to Piscataquis County. We hope our focus in this area will benefit the Towns, Schools, Small Businesses and Industries of greater Piscataquis County,” said Neil Kiely, President and CEO of Androscoggin Bank, at the ribbon cutting ceremony held January 18, 2024.

The building has been renamed the CH Lightbody Municipal Center, in memory for longtime local physician and community member Dr. CH Lightbody. The Guilford Board of Selectmen offered this new name to reflect the change in use of the facility.

The Town intends to build a business development hub to assist the local business community. In addition to Androscoggin Bank, Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC) of Bangor will send staff once a week to meet with local businesses who are seeking to grow and develop. EMDC provides business planning and small business lending expertise out of their Bangor location but will now bring those services directly to Piscataquis County.

“We are pleased to join Androscoggin Bank in this locally-driven initiative to help small businesses grow. Eastern Maine Development Corporation and its partners, including the Small Business Administration and the USDA Rural Development, will be available by appointment to meet with business owners to plan for future growth on workforce and to access capital”, said Lee Umphrey, President of EMDC. As well, EMDC is partnering with the Town of Guilford to develop a comprehensive plan that will be the underpinnings for an economic strategy for growth.”

In addition to EMDC and Androscoggin Bank, the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council and the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce will continue to support the businesses in this area. “We each expect to play a role and to have a presence at the CH Municipal Center to support community and economic development in this area,” stated Angie Arno, Executive Director of the PCEDC and Denise Buzzelli, Executive Director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce. Margarita Contreni, President of the Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation, stated that her organization would welcome the opportunity to expand its collaboration with these organizations to help the communities and economy of Piscataquis County. “This a great initiative for which we would be glad to be a part”, stated Contreni.

The need for assistance, especially in a coordinated manner, is poignant and chronic in the region. Piscataquis County had in 2022 the lowest median household income of any county in the State of Maine, and the second highest rate of unemployment. But the County has maintained this same or similar position as compared to other Maine counties for each of the past 25 years. Growth in property value in parts of the County, as well as the location of many expensive second homes in scenic locations around Piscataquis County has not translated into a stronger economy. Household income remains low and business growth is often driven by investors from outside of the region. But local leaders believe there is unrealized ability to invest and grow locally.

“I think there are businesses right here in Guilford who want to grow, but need a little help to do so”, stated Town Manager Johanna Turner, who is the architect for this new business development initiative. “I believe working together we can help Guilford and Piscataquis County to grow and become more prosperous”, Turner added.

Androscoggin Bank’s Business Office will be staffed each Monday by John Simko of Greenville and Angie Snow of Dover-Foxcroft. Simko is Androscoggin Bank’s Director of Government Banking and is also a Commercial and Municipal Lender. He has previously served as Town Manager of Greenville and also Sangerville and has twice served as President of the PCEDC. Snow is a Treasury Analyst at Androscoggin Bank who has previously worked as a branch manager and will in the near future be joining the bank’s Government Banking team. Together, they will be available weekly by appointment to meet with public officials or business owners looking for either Treasury or financing services.

Androscoggin Bank President Neil Kiely believes this initiative will succeed. “Our bank’s mission, vision and values are consistent with serving regions such as Piscataquis County. As Maine’s only B-Corporation Bank, we place great emphasis on the needs of the communities we serve. We look forward to working with our partners to help this region,” Kiely concluded.

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