Huskies stay local with First Keystone Community Bank


By Andrea O'Neill '06

Locally owned and operated since 1864 when it was established as the First National Bank of Berwick, First Keystone Community Bank has been dedicated to supporting the local economy of Columbia County. And even after expanding with offices in four other counties, the company tends to focus on hiring local professionals who care about their community, which means that Huskies are a great fit.

"We are here to serve the local community, and nobody is better equipped to do that than those who grew up here and live here," said Mark McDonald, Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer for First Keystone Community Bank. "We gravitate toward people committed to this region and want to pursue their career goals and aspirations locally, and we've hired many Bloom grads."

One of those Bloom grads was Brian Klinefelter' 07/'21M, who started with First Keystone as a part-time bank teller while still a Business Administration student at BU. Now a credit department manager, Klinefelter has worked with fellow Huskies as interns and new hires. He says that Zeigler College of Business students have shown strength in the soft skills necessary to function well within the organization, especially as team members and customer-facing representatives.

"[First Keystone] is very welcoming and worked with me when I was in school," said Klinefelter. It is a well-run shop, and we are one of the best banks in the area to help local businesses achieve their goals.

Like many who join the staff at First Keystone, Brian completed a summer internship with First Keystone before graduation, where he learned the daily tasks associated with the credit department and commercial lending and had the chance to apply finance and data concepts learned in class. 

“We know people who went through that program have the requisite skills to succeed," said Klinefelter. We also look for intellectually curious people who are receptive to learning and constructive criticism. We have found Bloom students to be very coachable."

McDonald says that First Keystone internships offer students the opportunity to work with companies that vary greatly, not only in terms of the industry but geographically as well. Internships also give the company a sneak peek into whether or not an intern would be a good permanent hire, as the commercial loan process requires an excellent communicative and collaborative skillset.

"Every deal is a little bit different and is structured to address the customers' unique needs and mitigate risk for the bank," explained McDonald. "There is variety in what we ask our analysts to do. We take pride in unit cohesion, and Bloom grads have contributed toward that with their ability to work collaboratively.. [We have hired] many Bloom grads, and they all seem to thrive."