BRATTLEBORO — More than 50 employees at the People’s United Bank processing center on Putney Road will be losing their jobs.
“They’re offering really good severance packages to try and keep those folks on board through the duration until the termination,” said Adam Grinold, executive director of Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. “Most of it is going to occur in 2022.”
A warned notice issued Thursday alerted the state and the town of the looming layoffs. Grinold said companies are required by federal law to make such notices when planning sizable reductions of workforce.
Job terminations at the processing center are anticipated to begin in October and be completed by about May 20 as a result of plans following the purchase of People’s United by M&T Bank. In February, M&T Bank Corporation and People’s United Financial Inc. announced they entered into a definitive agreement where M&T would acquire People’s United in an all-stock transaction worth about $7.6 billion.
“The combined company will create a diversified, community-focused banking franchise with approximately $200 billion in assets and a network of more than 1,100 branches and over 2,000 ATMs that spans 12 states from Maine to Virginia and the District of Columbia,” states a news release. “The combined franchise will operate across some of the most populated and attractive banking markets in the U.S. As part of the transaction, People’s United’s current headquarters in Bridgeport, Conn., will become the New England regional headquarters for M&T, further strengthening the combined company’s commitment to Connecticut and the region.”
At the time of the announcement, more than 1,000 Vermonters were employed by People’s United. About 200 people were employed at the processing center on Putney Road in Brattleboro.
“That operation center is always on our radar as a valued employer in our region because of the high-quality, high-paying jobs they have there,” Grinold said.
BDCC and People’s United leadership based in Vermont have a close working relationship, said Grinold. His group was told the layoffs would be coming.
People’s United Vermont Region President Michael Seaver discussed with BDCC things the group has done in the past to assist companies through transitions, Grinold said.
“We try to connect people to opportunities and employers to people,” Grinold said. “When something like this happens, we know there were dedicated, hard-working, quality people in that building and we know other regional employers are looking for just that.”
The Vermont Department of Labor has a lot of resources to help with training to ensure workers can pivot to a new type of job, Grinold said.
“We’re talking about how to best do that with People’s Bank,” he said.
Seaver could not be immediately reached. A spokesperson for People’s United Bank referred the Reformer to M&T and said that as the acquiring bank, M&T is “best positioned to provide information or a statement on post-close employment decisioning of the joint company.”
“This week we communicated a number of workforce reductions at People’s United as part of our continued efforts to finalize the merger,” a spokesperson for M&T said. “This step was taken to help ensure our new organization is structured in a way that provides the best quality service for our customers and communities.”
M&T said it is retaining nearly 80 percent of People’s United employees overall, including branch and customer service employees.
“An important point to note is that there are currently 1,500 open job positions across M&T’s footprint,” the spokesperson added. “As we solidify our plans for the post-pandemic working environment, we intend to leverage remote and hybrid working arrangements where possible based on employee and business needs. People’s United employees who were impacted in the merger will be given first priority for applications for these open positions, and we will work to maximize the ability to obtain M&T employment from their existing work location. We anticipate this being a one-time shift as we work to combine the companies. This is not something we take lightly, and we will do everything we can to support our employees, both affected and unaffected, throughout this transition.”