By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
The First opened its 16th branch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in Bangor on Monday, Feb. 25. According to President and CEO Daniel Daigneault, the branch reflects the bank’s belief that Bangor “is the place to be.”
Located at 145 Exchange St., the branch occupies the first floor of a building acquired from Camden National Bank last year. According to Daigneault, The First purchased the building on Oct. 26, 2012, and took possession on Dec. 27.
Hiring “as many local vendors and contractors as possible,” bank officials had the interior of the first floor gutted and then rebuilt, he said. “It took only 60 days to finish the project. We wanted to open the week after the tournament.”
The branch positions The First to compete in the Bangor market, Daigneault commented. “We see Bangor as a very vibrant community,” as indicated by “the success of the Waterfront Concerts” and the Cross Insurance Center construction.
“We see [that] Bangor is going in the right direction with its economy,” he said.
“We felt it was an opportunity for us to enter the Bangor market and be competitive,” said Tony McKim, executive vice president and COO for The First. “We bring a style of banking that is very well received … by the people of Bangor.”
The Exchange Street location also provides The First with a visible presence in Bangor’s downtown business district. “The First is proud to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Bangor,” Daigneault said.
Among the people attending the branch’s grand opening were Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow and Director of Community and Economic Development Rosie Vanadestine. “We worked with the city officials to make this project possible,” Daigneault said. “They were very easy to work with.”
Reflecting a recent design trend in banking, the new branch features teller pods, which “really open up the bank’s lobby” by “removing the traditional teller line barrier between customers and tellers,” Daigneault said. “We want our office to have a very welcoming feel, and we think this design will help our staff achieve this mission.”
Employing eight people, the branch features a walk-in lobby and a drive-up window. The lobby is open 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday; and 9 a.m.-12 noon, Saturday. The drive-up window is open 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday; and 9 a.m.-12 noon, Saturday.
The Bangor branch also has a drive-up ATM.
Based at the Bangor branch is the fourth office of First Advisors, a subsidiary of The First that provides clients with such services as custody safekeeping, financial planning, investment management, retirement planning, and trust and estate administration.
For information about The First branch in Bangor, call 974-5001 or log onto www.thefirstinbangor.com.
The First has branches in Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, Boothbay Harbor, Calais, Camden, Damariscotta, Eastport, Ellsworth, Northeast Harbor, Rockland, Rockport, Southwest Harbor, Waldoboro, and Wiscasset. For more information about The First, call 800-564-3195, log onto www.thefirst.com or find The First on Facebook.