Bridgeport-based People’s Bank is again reaching into the Bay State by offering residential mortgages, home equity lines of credit and home loans to residents of Massachusetts.

It’s been nearly eight months since Bridgeport-based People’s Bank opened a commercial loan production office in Burlington, Mass., and now the $11 billion bank is again reaching into the Bay State by offering residential mortgages, home equity lines of credit and home loans to Massachusetts residents.

The bank will advertise the retail mortgages by starting an aggressive newspaper campaign soon, and started sending direct mail to homeowners last week, according to Wayne C. Walker, senior vice president for residential and consumer lending. The bank has no immediate plans to open offices in Massachusetts, he noted, but will have retail officers working from their home offices to originate first and second mortgages. People’s also will add brokers on the wholesale side and create partnerships with brokers in Massachusetts to sell their second-mortgage products. In addition, the bank will market its home equity products through mortgage companies that already do business with People’s, such as Cambridge Mortgage.

Because there is a bank in Massachusetts with a similar name – Holyoke, Mass.-based PeoplesBank – the Connecticut-based People’s will do business under the name PBCT Mortgages in Massachusetts. The advertising will closely link the business unit with People’s Bank, since many Massachusetts residents are familiar with the bank’s brand, Walker said.

“[Massachusetts] is a natural extension of our market,” he said.

Many people work in Connecticut and live in Massachusetts, or vice versa, so People’s is a well-known name in both states. Walker said he also hopes the competitive pricing of the mortgages and loans will make the venture a success.

“Massachusetts is a natural geographic extension of People’s current market,” Walker reiterated in a prepared statement. “As we previously announced our intention to expand consumer and residential lending into contiguous markets, we’re pleased to be providing consumers in Massachusetts with an additional source of new, competitively priced home financing.”

A Typical Strategy

People’s had been reaching into Massachusetts for years to sell commercial loans, and last year’s opening of the loan production office in Burlington was an extension of that strategy. The bank opened the loan production office about 20 miles northwest of Boston, placing the bank in a competitive market populated by established institutions like Sovereign Bank and Banknorth.

The new office – which is called People’s Capital – is located in Burlington, Mass., along the Route 128 corridor. It is the bank’s first office outside of Connecticut.

For the bank’s expansion last year, it used a typical strategy to gain some market share. The new office employs seven people, all of whom are from the area. The new regional manager and loan officers are all experienced bankers who have worked in the area for years, and bring with them many old contacts.

The bank intentionally hired local people with a good knowledge of the market, according to Walker.

And although the office is about an hour away from any other People’s offices, it is not entirely isolated, he added. Its manager reports to the eastern market of People’s Bank, which includes Hartford, New Haven and Norwich.

People’s also has been tweaking its presence within Connecticut. The bank announced last month it will open its fourth office in Westport on Post Road West. The bank will occupy one of three storefronts in a plaza known as White Birch Plaza.

The 2,800-square-foot office will offer two drive-up lanes, a 24-hour vestibule ATM and safe deposit boxes. The branch also features a free self-service coffee bar, coin-counting machine and plasma television that will continuously air financial news.

“People’s has been known for its superior customer service throughout Fairfield County for over 164 years. We have the No. 1 market share in Fairfield County and are pleased to make this our 61st branch in Fairfield County,” said Vincent Santilli, first vice president and growth manager for People’s Greater Fairfield County market, in a prepared statement. “We’ve been serving the citizens of Westport for 50 years and are proud to offer Westport and its residents a branch of this quality, with all the convenience our customers have come to expect from People’s Bank.”