Machias Savings Bank breaks ground on new building in P.I.

9 years ago

Machias Savings Bank breaks ground
on new building in P.I.

By Anthony Brino
Staff Writer

    PRESQUE ISLE — Machias Savings Bank is investing in a new branch building to compete in Aroostook County’s lending and savings business.

Contributed photos

    Machias Savings Bank President Larry Barker, second from left, discusses his company’s plan to build a new facility to replace the current branch in Presque Isle with, from left, Machias Savings Bank Facilities Manager John Hayward, Presque Isle City Manager Martin Puckett, and Presque Isle City Councilor Leigh Smith.


    NEW BANK BRANCH — An architect’s rendering shows what the new Machias Savings Bank branch building in Presque Isle will look like when completed.

PIMACHIAS090215 15817179    “We are here to stay,” Machias Savings Bank President Larry Barker said Wednesday morning during a ground-breaking ceremony at the site of construction for a new 4,700-square-foot building to replace a branch in Presque Isle.
    Machias Savings Bank first opened a branch in Houlton in 1992, and in the summer of 2013 entered into an agreement to purchase six northern Maine branches from the Bank of Maine, assuming $75 million in customer deposits and certain loans. The Bank of Maine’s Fort Kent, Mars Hill and Houlton branches were later closed.
    Now, Machias Savings is looking to grow especially in Presque Isle, the business hub of Aroostook County. Slated to open in the spring of 2016, the new facility will be at the same property at 9 Dyer St. and replace an older building that among other things is very expensive to heat, Barker said.
    The new building, relying on a number of local contractors, will be energy-efficient and have “state-of-the-art technology” for employees and customers, Barker said.
    The investment in the new building, whose total costs were not disclosed, is an indication that “Machias Savings Bank likes doing business with the people of Presque Isle,” the company said in a media release.
    “I’m a blueberry farmer myself, so the smell of diesel smoke coming from a tractor is greatly appreciated,” Barker said.
    Under manager Michael Kelley Jr., the Presque Isle branch “has been really successful,” Barker said. Loan balances have increased 160 percent, and deposit balances are up 38 percent.
    Greater Presque Isle’s business community is happy to have another option for lenders, said Theresa Fowler, executive director of the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce.
    “The business community in central Aroostook is like family,” she said during the ceremony.
    After the old building is torn down, there will be a fair amount of open space at the location, just off the intersection of Routes 163 and 227. Barker said Machias Savings is going to work with the city of Presque Isle to consider options for opening the space to the public in some way, such as for a roadside Christmas tree market.
    There are other organizations at the current Dyer St. building, including the United Way of Aroostook. “Machias Savings Bank officials are working hard to ensure a seamless transition to new space for them,” the company said, noting that the United Way has been offered space rent free until the building is removed and furniture that can be taken to a new location.