Bank of New Hampshire breaks ground on new headquarters, with new branding

Work to be completed in 2024 for new downtown Laconia location
Bank Of Nh New Laconia Groundbreaking

Builders and leaders from the Bank of New Hampshire break ground on their new headquarters in downtown Laconia. From left are President of Opechee Construction Andrew Pike, architect Adrian Collado, City Manager Kirk Beattie, Mayor Andrew Hosmer, BNH President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Logan, Board Vice Chair Michael Long and Board Chair Suzanne Stiles. (Jon Decker,The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

Bank of New Hampshire broke ground on its new downtown headquarters in Laconia Wednesday morning, just over a month after it launched a revamped branding.

The new building will feature a brick and granite design that mirrors the downtown palette. Being constructed side by side with the bank’s current headquarters, staff will be able to continue their work in the current building until the new one is completed in fall 2024. The old building, where the bank has been since the early 1970s, will then be demolished.

“This building has served us well, but it’s old,” said Suzanne Stiles, chair of the bank’s board of directors. “There’s been a lot of building code changes and things are failing. So the opportunity to build in the same spot here downtown is really, really special.”

The bank had previously considered renovation of its downtown building, noted President and CEO Christopher Logan, but it shifted toward a rebuild because of costs. A rebuild, rather than a major renovation of the current building, would be millions of dollars cheaper. It also presents the opportunity to use both space and resources more efficiently.

The new structure will be “20 percent smaller than this building, but yet it has more offices,” Logan said, and will economize space by including the drive-thru and ATM in the main building. With up-to-date technology and materials, including a rooftop solar array, the new building will also be vastly more energy efficient.

A new building also poses an opportunity for the bank, as a longtime fixture of downtown, to find its place in the “revitalization and beautification” of the neighborhood, Stiles said.

Bank Of Nh New Building Rendering

This rendering shows what the new Bank of New Hampshire building will look like from Beacon Street upon its completion in fall 2024. (Courtesy photo)

“This bank has supported the Colonial (Theatre), the Belknap Mill, the library, we helped to bring the Boys & Girls Club to the Lakes Region — which was great as a contributor — but now we’re actually a participant,” Stiles said. “That feels really exciting.”

Bank of New Hampshire has had a location downtown since it was founded in 1831 — and is passionate about staying there, said Michael Long, vice chair of the board of directors.

The bank, then known as Laconia Savings Bank, purchased its Pleasant Street property in 1969, according to excerpts from its 150th anniversary history book. Its past location at 513 Main St. was demolished during the Urban Renewal project.

The groundbreaking comes just over a month after Bank of New Hampshire unveiled a branding refresh, swapping the maroon and white with lakeside imagery it had since 1988 for a palette of blues and yellows and the tidier shorthand of “BNH.”

The new imagery is aimed to resonate with the bank’s statewide customer base and to reflect its commitment to remaining vibrant and agile.

When Laconia Savings Bank became Bank of New Hampshire in 2012, the change was in name only: the Laconia Savings Bank dressings remained.

Laconia Savings changing its name to Bank of NH

A need for a website update as well as the new headquarters project presented an opportunity, leadership said, for the bank’s visage to match its current name.

“We’ve been a New Hampshire-wide bank for many, many years now, and we have locations throughout the state,” Stiles said. “We are very grateful for the people in this community that have always supported this bank when it was little. But this logo also represents all of our communities that we serve.” She added that customers at the Seacoast or in the far North Country may not identify with the lake-and-mountain stamp that has always been tied to the bank’s Laconia roots.

The new look also features an arrow-esque mark which Logan described as its new “signature.” As compared to a logo rooted in imagery, the symbol is a flexible graphic tool the bank plans to use to leave its mark in a variety of ways, from an arrow to a pine tree to a bracket.

The new logo, font and color scheme were selected by leadership after a yearlong search process because they are more “vibrant, fresh, lively and inviting,” Logan said, while maroon is associated with the historically more buttoned-up perceptions of banks and bankers. “We wanted to make sure that our brand was matching today’s environment.”

The response to the change, overall, was very positive, leadership said, but negative feedback came out of the Laconia area. Leadership understands this response, but isn’t swayed by it.

“It may not have even really been (about) the image,” Logan said. “I think part of it was (that) we were taking the last thing of Laconia Savings Bank away.”

“When you have had a relationship with an organization for a long period of time, and that has been their identity, change is hard,” Stiles said. “It was hard when we changed the name to the Bank of New Hampshire.” She’s confident, she said, locals will come to embrace the new look.

“Nothing has changed within the bank. We’re going to offer the same products and services and support that we always have to the greater Lakes Region.”

Categories: Banking and Finance, Real Estate & Construction