M&T Bank: A major institution with a localized feel

M&T Bank, with more than 750 branches across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country, has a decidedly hometown feel.

“We try to be very local,” Phil Johnson, regional president, said. From his sixth floor office at the bank’s administrative headquarters, at 103 West Third Street, Johnson has an expansive view to the north, where sometimes an approaching weather system can be seen rolling through the hills of Vallamont and heading into the city of Williamsport.

Johnson’s region, which he has served for 18 years, covers northeast Pennsylvania and points west to State College and east to East Stroudsburg. With branch offices in Loyalsock Township, at 405 River Avenue; Newberry, at 2001 West Fourth Street; and Montoursville, at 450 Broad Street, M&T customers have access to full-service banking which even includes “sophisticated wealth management” through M&T’s Wilmington Trust subsidiary, Johnson said.

“Because we’re a big bank, we can do almost anything that is needed,” he emphasized.

In an effort to reach and retain millennial consumers, Johnson said the bank is always looking to upgrade technology to satisfy “a generation that does everything on a phone.”

M&T Bank, founded in 1856 as Manufacturers and Traders Bank, according to its corporate website, is headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T arrived on the local scene with the acquisition of Keystone Financial, Inc., in 2000, which two years earlier had acquired Northern Central Bank. Johnson cited Northern Central and its predecessors to note the historical lineage of M&T Bank in the local area.

Part of being a local bank with a big name means an emphasis on giving back to the community. Nationally, M&T has been recognized by Business Week as one of the most charitable in the country, Johnson said, and his region is a leader in the company.

Financially, his office gives away about 3/4 of $1 million yearly across the geography of the region to deserving charities and organizations like UPMC Susquehanna, Penn College, Lycoming College, the Uptown Music Collective and the Community Alliance for Progressive Action, known as CAPPA, to name a few, said the regional president. Johnson pointed out the charitable outreach involves every employee of the company. The bank gives all employees five days off each year to provide community service in areas of their choosing.

Johnson himself is actively involved locally, serving on the executive committee of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce since 2000. He also serves as treasurer on the boards of UPMC Susquehanna and the Penn College Foundation.

Emphasizing the important local relationships M&T Bank highly values, Johnson noted, “We’re only as strong as the community we serve.”