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Univest plans new branch in Lancaster County

Univest Corp. of Pennsylvania already announced it will start a loan production office in Lancaster County this year. Now it is adding a branch

Officials with the Souderton-based holding company for Univest Bank and Trust Co. said they have signed a lease for a full-service retail branch in West Lampeter Township. 

The branch, a former National Penn Bank branch, is at 90 Willow Valley Lakes Road. Univest intends to open it in the third quarter of the year.

“It hasn’t been a bank for a couple of years,” the bank’s president, Mike Keim, said. “But it’s in phenomenal shape.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Univest filing an application to open a loan production office in East Lampeter Township, also in Lancaster County.

Jeff Schweitzer, CEO of Univest Corp., said the moves are a direct result of the market disruption in Lancaster County’s banking industry. Some of the county’s major banking players have been acquired by out-of-market banks, and local community banks have moved in to target customers that may not feel like they fit in the new banks.

Schweitzer said expanding to Lancaster County was on the bank’s radar, but the market disruption sped up the schedule.

He also said Univest was able to pick up a 15-person team from BB&T, one of the banks that moved into the market, to help them establish a foothold in the county. The team consists of 14 lending specialists and one retail specialist.

“Lifting out an entire team that knows the market, that lives in the market, that makes it easier (to enter the market),” Schweitzer said. “We probably would not have entered the market (unless we secured that team).”

Univest trades its shares on the NASDAQ exchange at the ticker symbol UVSP.

Michael Sadowski

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