Ashland, Needham Bank Announce Partnership to Spur Economic Growth

4/19/2019

NEEDHAM, MA -- Needham Bank and the Town of Ashland today announced a new, innovative Economic Development Loan Program specifically designed to spur economic growth and job creation in Ashland’s Business Districts.

Needham Bank and Ashland have agreed to create an interest free loan fund that will allow companies to secure interest free financing for up to two years when banking with Needham Bank. The funds are to be used exclusively for the development and expansion of businesses in Ashland.

The program, established through a Town Meeting vote and a Special Act of Legislature in 2018, is considered the first of its kind for a municipality in the Commonwealth. The Town of Ashland will administer the relationship with potential borrowers and members of the town’s business community through its Economic Development Office, with Needham Bank providing the loan underwriting and loan capital.

Photo of Ashland Town Manager Michael Herbert, with pen, and Needham Bank Executive Vice President Eric Morse sign a partnership agreement in Town Hall.

Photo: Ashland Town Manager Michael Herbert, with pen, and Needham Bank Executive Vice President Eric Morse sign a partnership agreement Thursday in Town Hall. Others attending include Economic Development Advisory Group members Dennis Ahern and Julia Chase, Assistant Town Manager Jennifer Ball, Selectman Steve Mitchell, Needham Bank Ashland branch manager Denise Loiselle and Needham Bank Vice President James Dietel. ‚Äč

“This Economic Development Program is expected to result in projects and activities that will contribute to the revitalization of our business community,” according to Ashland Town Manager Michael Herbert. “Our goal is to create and retain jobs in our town, while also expanding our tax base and providing greater opportunities for our people. We are thrilled that Needham Bank shares this vision and has agreed to partner with us.”

Needham Bank, which opened a branch office on Front Street in Ashland in 2015, has a long history of supporting community development in the Metro West region and sees the new partnership with Ashland as central to its core mission.

“Ashland’s leadership is to be commended for its vision and foresight,” said Joseph Campanelli, Needham Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Creating vibrant, sustainable communities aligns perfectly with the values we live by. Needham Bank is proud to be partnered with the town on this program and we encourage interested parties to participate.”

According to Beth Reynolds, Ashland’s Economic Development Director, who will be administering the fund applications, loans can be used for the following:

  • Leasehold improvements
  • Operating capital
  • Façade and building renovation
  • Landscape and property improvements
  • Machinery and equipment purchases
  • Soft cost expenses related to real estate development

“We are targeting specific sectors to apply for participation,” said Ms. Reynolds. “These include medical; manufacturing; breweries and restaurants; engineering; and professional services.”

While no total dollar figure for the loan fund was released, the program overall will have an initial cap of $50,000 accrued imputed interest. The maximum loan for any one individual under the program is set at $250,000. Imputed interest costs will be absorbed 60% by the Town and 40% by the bank.

Potential borrowers must be credit worthy and may be required to receive financing through Needham Bank’s SBA program, all subject to the bank’s underwriting criteria for similar loans.

Interested parties are invited learn more by contacting Beth Reynolds at 508-532-7905 or by email at breynolds@ashlandmass.com. Applications will be reviewed by the town’s Economic Advisory Group.

“We like to say that Ashland is approachable, affordable and attractive,” commented Ms. Reynolds. “This program embodies all of those attributes and we look forward to working with those who wish to participate in revitalizing the town.”