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Berkshire Bank COVID-19 Response


Faced with the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berkshire is harnessing its assets and Be FIRST culture to navigate and ensure the health, safety and economic resiliency of its employees, customers and communities. Berkshire’s response focuses on both the short-term and long-term impacts.


  • Support for its People: Protecting the health and safety of Berkshire's frontline workers, and supporting their ability to serve customers, is a top priority. As a result, the bank:
    • Suspended non-essential business travel
    • 86% of non-branch staff WFH
    • Temporarily limiting branch hours
    • Increased cleaning and protective precautions
    • Providing protective masks to front line staff
    • Providing additional paid sick time
    • Protecting pay for those employees who can’t work their normal scheduled hours
    • Launched employee assistance fund to help with hardships
    • Leveraging employee networks including Employee Resource Groups and Regional Cultural Councils to collect feedback, maintain culture, morale and productivity


  • Helping its Customers: Berkshire knows this pandemic has had a serious economic impact on most individuals and businesses. The bank took swift steps including:
    • Providing financial flexibility to customers facing financial hardships by launching customer assistance programs:
    • Increased debit card limits, waived penalties for early CD withdrawals and waived foreign ATM fees
    • Processing payment forbearances for $1.3B in loans to 4,000 customers
    • Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program processing 3,800 loans for $650M as of 4/21/20
    • Providing mobile, telephonic and digital banking solutions and My Bankers for customers
    • Operating most branches with drive-up and in-branch appointments
    • Connecting consumers with additional community resources


  • Investing in Community Recovery & Resiliency: Berkshire remains committed to the economic resiliency of its communities and engaging directly with stakeholders through virtual community conversations to inform its response. The bank is:
    • Providing $3 million in capital to assist black-owned businesses with BECMA & MALGBT Chamber Futures Fund
    • Providing $1 million in grants through Berkshire Bank Foundation, including $500,000 in small business assistance distributed through non-profit partners
    • Providing non-customer MBEs with PPP loans
    • Offering flexibility for non-profits to redirect prior Foundation funding
    • Evaluating strategic sponsorships and advertising assets for re-deployment
    • Raising funds & deploying employees through virtual skills-based volunteering focused on financial health and critical non-profit needs.
    • Accessing third party suppliers to provide materials to hospitals & front line workers


Additional Information:


Initial Press Release:

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