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What you need to know for 01/21/2018

Berkshire Bank shares tax cut with employees

Berkshire Bank shares tax cut with employees

Federal rate sliced from 35 percent to 21 percent for 2018
Berkshire Bank shares tax cut with employees
Niskayuna's Berkshire Bank location before it opened in 2013.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Bank became one of the first companies in the Capital Region to announce it would share some of the gains from its federal tax cut with its employees.

Congress and President Trump late last year passed a package of tax changes that, among other things, cut the 2018 corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Skeptics suggested the bulk of the savings would be handed to the companies’ owners, but a few corporations, such as AT&T, Boeing and Southwest Airlines, said they’d be boosting employees’ pay, which was one of the results sought by sponsors of the tax cuts.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, parent of Berkshire Bank, which has $11.6 billion in assets, said Friday that it would:

  • Boost its minimum wage to $15 per hour.
  • Give a one-time $1,000 bonus to more than 1,000 employees, roughly 70 percent of its workforce.
  • Boost its employee development and training programs.
  • Contribute $2 million to the Berkshire Bank Foundation, which supports charitable organizations, scholarships and volunteerism in the communities where Berkshire operates. 

Berkshire has 113 branches, 23 of them in the Capital Region.

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