Lee Bank expands access to BerkShares

Media contact: Alice Maggio, BerkShares program coordinator
[email protected]; 413.528.1737
BerkShares, Inc. is happy to announce that residents and visitors can now exchange their dollars for BerkShares at an additional branch of Lee Bank, located at 450 Pittsfield-Lenox Road (Route 7). Lee Bank has been a long-time partner of BerkShares, Inc., and its Great Barrington, Lee, and Stockbridge branches were among the first to offer BerkShares exchange services in September of 2006.
This is the second new bank branch in the span of four months to start offering BerkShares. The Great Barrington branch of Salisbury Bank and Trust Company started BerkShares exchange at the beginning of April.
BerkShares program coordinator Alice Maggio noted that the Lenox branch of Lee Bank is the furthest north of all the participating bank branches so far. She added, “We are excited to expand the geographic availability of BerkShares, as this means that more Berkshire residents will have easy access to our local currency. We aim to make BerkShares as widely available as possible throughout the Berkshires.”
“We’re proud to exchange BerkShares,” said Paula Gangell-Miller, assistant vice president of Community Banking at Lee Bank. “Our team at the Lenox branch looks forward to helping Lenox and Pittsfield residents and business owners who use BerkShares.”
“As an independent bank, we value local decision-making, which gives us the flexibility to meet the specific needs of our community,” said Lee Bank's president, Chuck Leach. “We choose to be a part of BerkShares because this kind of homegrown economic development is perfectly in line with our business philosophy. BerkShares promote the locally owned businesses that help to make the Berkshires such a great place to live.”
“The importance of strong local banks is often undervalued,” said BerkShares, Inc. board president Adrian Alcalá. “Lee Bank's commitment to BerkShares is one more example of how community banks can take action to support our local economy and quality of life. The board of BerkShares is grateful for Lee Bank's partnership.”
BerkShares can be spent at more than 400 participating locally owned businesses in the Berkshire region. The local currency reminds people of the value of locally owned businesses and helps them to retain and recirculate money in the local economy.
BerkShares exchange services are available at participating branches of Lee Bank, Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, and Salisbury Bank and Trust Company.  The eight participating branches of these three banks can be found in Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Sheffield, South Egremont, and Stockbridge.
BerkShares, Inc. is a membership-directed non-profit organization focused on responsible economic development in the Berkshire region. BerkShares, Inc. works in partnership with local businesses and community banks to issue BerkShares, a local currency for the Berkshire Region. BerkShares help to build regional identity, raise awareness about the importance of local ownership, and empower community-based economic decision-making. Learn more at www.berkshares.org