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Peter Rice of Berkshire Bank Wins Financial Services Champion of the Year

Release Date: 
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Release Number: 
Norman Eng 617-565-8510

BOSTON – The Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Peter Rice of Berkshire Bank the 2016 Financial Services Champion of the Year for Massachusetts.

“Berkshire Bank consistently ranks top 5 in the state for productivity,” said Robert Nelson, SBA Massachusetts District Director.  “Peter’s commitment in developing strong partnerships with SBA and its partners while supporting under-resourced communities - serves as a prime formula for success in community lending.”

Berkshire Bank is headquartered in Western Massachusetts and works closely with the SBA and the Small Business Development Center to help small businesses grow.  As a result of their financing programs, they have saved or created jobs for 113 individual employees in the past year alone. 

“Peter exemplifies the best of Massachusetts partners that help small businesses succeed.  It’s an honor to highlight his hard work and dedication. We look forward to  continuing to leverage his experience and resources to provide an exceptional SBA lending platform that supports the SBA’s mission on a larger scale,”, stated Sean A. Gray, Chief Operating Officer of Berkshire Bank.   “As a preferred SBA lender, Peter and his teams work with the SBA to fill credit gaps for the network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and SCORE chapters that counsel and mentor our small businesses.”

Over the past three years, Berkshire Bank has been able to provide over 150 million dollars in financing to local businesses – with 183 individual SBA loans approved.   Success stories include:

  • Soules Sports & Fitness, Inc. – The bank first met the owner at a local SBA capital matchmaker event held December 2014.  In September of 2015, Berkshire Bank provided an SBA loan to finance the gym’s renovations and equipment purchases. The gym anticipates adding at least 10 employees to the local economy, from entry-level to personal trainers.
  • Sharaswati, Inc. – After working with the MSBDC in Pittsfield to strengthen their business plan and financials, the bank clients received an SBA 504 loan to the purchase off a Howard Johnson Inn Motel in Williamstown, MA in September of 2015.
  • Shamrock Professional Dog Grooming & Serrvices – A local dog grooming business needed to grow due to a small space and limited service line.  After working with MSBDC in Pittsfield, the bank provided an SBA express line of credit and SBA term loan to assist with the renovation and equipment furnishings for a larger space to better serve the community in Pittsfield, MA.  The company has grown from 2 to 5 employees.


The Financial Services Champion of the Year award is presented annually to an economic development practitioner who exceeds expectations and requirements for advocating for changes to assist small businesses.

Peter Rice, will be honored at an SBA awards lunch along with the other Massachusetts Small Business Week 2016 award winners at a luncheon event at the Westborough Doubletree on May 6, 2016.  


About SBA National Small Business Week:

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.  As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.  Every day, they’re working to grow small business, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.


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 $7.8 billion in assets and 93 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and Vermont providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. .   Berkshire Bank is the home financing and retail banking provider for the Massachusetts Teachers Association Benefits, MTA.  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