Jay Anderson has been president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank since 2009. Since 2004, he has also served as president of the board of the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC), with additional roles in its executive, loan and technical assistance committees. According to his nominator at PERC, Anderson’s leadership has helped the organization collect $310,000 in technical assistance grant funds to help small businesses, and a $200,000 award to help small businesses gain access to broadband technology.
That’s been a continuing issue in Berkshire County, where the scratchy noise of dial-up connections ring througout the hills. It’s still the dominant form of Internet connection. Anderson said that broadband service, when it is available, can be inconsistent. The technical assistance money came in two grants – a first round of $150,000, and a second round of $175,000. Anderson says that first round helped 10 small businesses.
PERC also manages a $500,000 second-loan and grant pool on behalf of the city of Pittsfield, with funds received from proceeds of GE Pittsfield settlement, to fund brownfield cleanup in GE’s former manufacturing facility there. GE closed most of its Pittsfield operations a generation ago, taking thousands of jobs and leaving a superfund site behind. A $250-million settlement between the company and the city brought what could be considered a windfall. But even a windfall must be targeted to entities that can make the best use of it; in the smaller-economy city that Pittsfield is now, that is best done in small doses.
Pittsfield Cooperative Bank recently marked its 125th year. In recent years, its commercial portfolio has grown significantly, despite the shrinkage of the city’s manufacturing base since the late 1990s. Anderson said the bank seeks to offer a variety of different programs to help small businesses that can’t get conventional bank financing. “We try to get them to a point where they can [obtain bank financing], and then move on to the next bunch of customers,” he said.
His nominator for a Community Bank Hero award commended him for his small-business support and his mindfulness of the interaction between business and the community. This is another issue for Pittsfield, which is not unique among cities in its need to strengthen its tax base. Anderson was instrumental in PERC’s engagement of the UMass Donahue Institute to research and produce the Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing Study, published in September 2013, which assessed Berkshire County’s manufacturing challenges and opportunities.
Among Anderson’s nonprofit involvements have been a role as trustee with Berkshire Health Systems; treasurer of the Berkshire Housing Development Corp.; treasurer of the Berkshire Museum; a director of the Central Berkshire Chamber of Commerce; and a former directorship of the New England School of Banking.
Anderson has also served as a regional president for TD Bank. He received a degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts and was a Lordan Scholar at the New England School of Banking at Williams College.