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Leader Bank to open loan office at Cameras Inc site

Leader Plaza, Cameras Inc signsThe former Cameras Inc site will not be vacant for long. 

Leader Bank is moving its residential loan offices to the Mass. Ave. location, according to bank president Sushil Tuli. Tuli said Leader Bank, which is headquartered in Arlington, has purchased the building from the owner of Cameras Inc.

"The bank is a local bank. We are not from out of town. We wanted to have a presence right in Arlington—our own building… This opportunity came to buy the building, so we decided to purchase everything," Tuli said.

The bank has hung a sign with the words, "Leader Plaza," on the front of the building. Tuli said the bank plans to move into the location in July and will employ 40 people there. "We will cater to our residential mortgage customers," he said.

"It’s a great location -- across the street from the high school," Tuli explained, adding that the bank will offer internships to high school students as it does in its other locations.

"I am glad the vacancy is being filled," said Carol Kowalski, director of Planning. "I am glad that we have relative stability in commercial real estate."

Inspectional Services Director Michael Byrne said Leader Bank applied for a building permit for renovations to the Cameras Inc building last week, but he has not yet had a chance to review it.

 "People need banks and Leader is a local bank," she said. "Local businesses are better, in my opinion than a chain store where the manager is here for two weeks and then goes to the Providence store."

Flanking the new offices are Brookline Bank and TDBank -- offering an emerging bankers' row at the site across from Arlington High School.

Leader Bank has two branches in Arlington. Tuli said a third branch, under construction at the former Video Horizons site in Arlington Heights, is scheduled to open in August. The bank also has branches in Cambridge, Belmont and Burlington.

Tuli said the bank’s corporate headquarters and commercial lending operations will remain at their current location, 180 Mass. Ave.

He said Leader Bank is a proud sponsor of several Arlington-based charities, nonprofit organizations and town events (e.g., Arlington Town Day, Patriots Day Parade, Arlington Boys and Girls Club and Arlington Housing Corporation). "This location will enable us to provide additional support to such organizations," he said.

Cameras Inc went out of business in April at its Arlington and Davis Square locations.

 This story was first published Friday, June 1, 2012, and updated that day to correct information a bank spokeswoman provided.

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