Meetinghouse Bank weighs possible branch in Fields Corner

Meetinghouse Bank owns this building at 1281 Dorchester Ave. and has recently begun a renovation project to convert the former liquor store-turned-storefront church into new retail space. The bank is weighing a plan to open its own branch in the building. A jeweler has recently opened in a second space, to the right in this photo. Photo by Bill Forry

Meetinghouse Bank, the longtime Dorchester-based community bank with branches in Lower Mills and Roslindale Square, is eyeing a possible expansion into Fields Corner. The bank, which owns a property at 1281 Dorchester Avenue, has engaged a firm to study the market’s growth potential and demographics around the Fields Corner neighborhood before making a final decision.

Meetinghouse Bank President/CEO Anthony Paciulli said that if the report is positive, he expects to recommend the expansion plan to his board of trustees for a final decision in the coming weeks.

The commercial building— at the corner of Hecla Street and Dorchester Avenue— was a former liquor store that was occupied more recently by a storefront church. Meetinghouse Bank has recently spent $100,000 to renovate the building, half of which is now occupied by a jeweler that recently opened for business.

“The building looks great and it has already improved a dark and less than desirable location,” said Paciulli.

Meetinghouse Bank was founded in 1914 on Bowdoin Street. The bank’s board and Paciulli went public in 2013 with a stock offering that raised about $6.6 million, money that has helped the bank to grow beyond Dorchester. Its second branch, located in Roslindale Square, opened in 2013. The bank closed in excess of $100 million of home mortgage loans in 2013, according to Paciulli.