SBA Recognizes Berkshire Bank as #1 Small Business Lender in Connecticut

Pittsfield, MA – The United States Small Business Administration recognized Berkshire Bank, America's Most Exciting Bank®, as the "Top SBA Lender" for fiscal year 2016 in Connecticut. Berkshire Bank totaled 98 loans for small businesses in the Connecticut region for $7.170 million.

The U.S. Small Business Administration reported that Connecticut's small business owners received 689 loans supporting over $201 million in fiscal year 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016) through its business loan programs.

Berkshire Bank's 98 loans is a significant increase from the 2015 fiscal year in Connecticut, which ended with 43 loans. Within one year, the Bank was able to show a lending growth of 55 loans, more than doubling last year's funding.

"We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the SBA," stated Peter Rice, SVP, Business Banking. "Our team is truly passionate about creating a relationship with small business owners and this award exemplifies their hard work and dedication."

For the SBA to recognize Berkshire Bank within the Connecticut region reinforces the dedication of Berkshire Bank to fueling small businesses within the communities they serve.

Berkshire Bank is a preferred Small Business Administration (SBA) lender, works closely with the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC), is a participant in the Massachusetts Treasurer's Office Small Business Partnership Program and offers a full suite of financial services for small businesses. Berkshire's Small Business division is dedicated to helping business customers grow their companies and invests in the surrounding communities to help strive for success.

Berkshire has a team of dedicated small business banking professionals located in every region throughout its footprint trained to help customers find the best combination of services to make their businesses prosper—today and in the future. For more information regarding Berkshire Bank's Small Business Lending programs, contact the Commercial Lending group at (315)-433-0111.

About Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America's Most Exciting Bank®. The Company, recognized for its entrepreneurial approach and distinctive culture, has $7.9 billion in assets and 91 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. The company has a pending agreement to acquire First Choice Bank, a $1.1 billion bank with eight branches in Princeton, New Jersey area and a national mortgage originations subsidiary. Berkshire Bank was named one of Massachusetts Most Charitable Companies in 2016 by the Boston Business Journal. To learn more, visit
, call 800-773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Berkshire Bank is the official bank of NESN's Boston Bruins coverage and the community partner of 'Boston Seasons at City Hall Plaza'.

Contact: Heidi Higgins
             Berkshire Bank
             Phone: (413) 236-3756

             Vanessa Pesa
             Berkshire Bank
             Phone: 413-447-1851