NECC Branch of Eastern Bank Celebrates One Year
Northern Essex Community College students studying in Lawrence frequently hang out in the Common Street branch of Eastern Bank and Bank Manager Rachel Concepcion could not be happier.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, the bank and the college celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of the NECC branch of the bank with a luncheon for college faculty and staff.
When the bank opened last year, it was called “the branch of the future.” The space is small—just 350 square feet—but it is packed with amenities including a contemporary lounge area with comfortable couches and high top tables, laptops and tablets for use for free, free Wi-Fi, and a tech bar where visitors can charge their electronic devices, also for free. Another highlight of the branch is an oversized touch screen which displays tips for financial literacy, covering topics such as buying a house or car, student loans, and how to build your credit score.
In addition to being small and loaded with technology, this branch has more of an educational focus than other bank branches. “We’re here to inform students,” said Concepcion. “We want to share the financial practices that will help them be successful.”
Eastern Bank also hires college students as interns and employees, taking the educational mission even further.
Lindsey Sander of Haverhill, an Eastern Bank service associate and student in the Northern Essex accounting program, has been working in the bank 20 hours a week since last January, balancing work in her field with three courses a semester. She’s planning to graduate in December and transfer to Southern New Hampshire University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting.
“I’m in love with accounting. There are so many learning and training opportunities here,” says the 2012 graduate of Whittier and former nursing assistant.
Conception says the bank hopes to use this partnership as a model for partnerships with other colleges.
“This was the first, and we’ve found we really like getting students involved,” she said.
Eastern Bank shares the first floor of 420 Common Street with the Naples-inspired Napolitana Flatbread Pizzeria Bar, and a full-service bookstore operated by Follett.
“Eastern Bank and our other business partners have created a student center for our Lawrence Campus,” says Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex. “Students socialize, study, and grab a bite to eat, and doors are open to the community, too. It really fills a great need in Lawrence.”
The second and third floors of the building house classrooms, including two computer classrooms equipped with sophisticated equipment, the college’s Center for Instructional Technology, and administrative offices.