Provident Bank is in the midst of a significant expansion of its wealth management program, the New York Hudson Valley bank announced last month.

The expansion supports a shift in business strategy to help commercial and mid-market clients, Suzanne Copeland, the chief marketing officer of Provident Bank, said in an interview.

While the program launched in 1998 with a predecessor of LPL Financial as its broker-dealer, it was never a focus for the thrift institution. But now the bank seeks to make wealth management "an important core business line and not just a tertiary line," Copeland said.

The bank declined to disclose assets or other financial information as the newly incarnated program is still new. "It's too early to discuss the numbers," Copeland said.

The bank, however, has bumped up its wealth management staff, more than doubling the team since July 2012. The bank hired a sales manager to build the retail wealth management program and manage the staff of financial consultants and wealth advisors. It also added four senior-level wealth advisors to its long-time team of four financial consultants. The most recent hire was John Lynch, a former Wells Fargo senior private banker who joined as a senior financial consultant. Three others were hired to help clients in key markets, including New York City.

The new additions to the team will allow the bank to provide a broader line of services than before, Copeland said.

Under a new agreement with LPL, advisors will be employees of both the bank and LPL, which will better support the bank's new team-based selling model, according to Copeland. The program was previously fully managed, meaning advisors were employees of LPL.

Provident Bank operates about 35 offices in New York and another in New Jersey operating as PBNY Bank. It has $3.8 billion in assets.

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