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Mascoma Savings Building New  Hartland Branch

Hartland — A project that Mascoma Savings Bank has been thinking about for six years finally is under construction.

The old bank at the intersection of routes 5 and 12 is gone, and a new building that will provide better access for customers and a better work environment staff members is scheduled to be completed in November, Mascoma President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen F. Christy said last week.

The old branch was built by the First National Bank of White River Junction and operated as the Green Mountain Bank before being acquired by Mascoma.

“It had just been added on to over the years in the old Yankee tradition, and we were worried about the snow load and its safety. It was just worn out and needed to be replaced,” Christy said.

While the building is under construction, the branch will operate out of a nearby trailer and ATM service will be provided.

Of all Mascoma’s 18 branches, the Hartland branch was not performing up to expectations, Christy said, adding that consultants had advised the bank to consider closing the branch.

However, after Mascoma rebuilt its branch in nearby Windsor, deposits jumped at the Hartland branch.

“It was very strange. We went from doing about $7 million to $20 million as soon as the new branch opened in Windsor. It’s hard to explain. We may have picked up some business from people who were concerned about doing business with the large banks, but the timing was remarkable.”

The new branch will feature a brick facade and better access to the ATM machine and drive-up tellers, he said.

There are no new positions planned for the Hartland branch, he said.

Mascoma, which did not take government bailout funds, has steadily grown in the last few years, even experiencing a 10 percent growth spurt during the height of the recession in 2009 and 2010, Christy said.

At the end of May, the bank reported total assets of just over $1 billion with net income for 2013 of about $1.7 million. The bank had net income last year of $6.8 million.

Mascoma is a mutual savings bank and does not have stockholders.

Warren Johnston can be reached at wjohnston@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.