PROVIDENCE - TD Bank’s foray into the Rhode Island market got a helping hand from the R.I. Economic Development Corporation Thursday.
The bank – a $134 billion U.S. subsidiary of Toronto-based TD Bank Financial Group - was granted up to $420,586 in tax breaks if it creates at least 160 new full-time jobs over the next three years.
The EDC board approved “project status” for TD Bank’s construction of 12 bank branches in Rhode Island that will cost nearly $42 million to build. The designation gives the bank a sales-tax exemption for purchasing building materials and other items.
The tax break is based on how many "higher-paying" positions - jobs that pay more than $36,691 annually, or 105 percent of the median wage – will be created.
TD Bank said 106 of those jobs will meet the criteria.
Four of the 12 branches have already been completed. The bank opened its first three “stores” in Barrington, East Providence and Johnston in November, with its regional flagship location in downtown Providence opening earlier this month.
TD Bank said they plan to build another eight in Rhode Island by 2013, and bank executives have said they’d like to see as many as 25 Ocean State branches eventually.
New EDC board member Stanley Weiss, a downtown Providence property owner, raised concerns that Rhode Island is already “overbanked,” and that TD Bank’s new hires may not add to the state’s total employment but rather lead to people moving from one in-state bank to another.
The EDC last issued the “project status” designation in October to Yardney Technical Products Inc., a high-tech Connecticut battery maker is relocating its operations and 150 jobs to a 140,000-square-foot East Greenwich factory. At the time, the board approved tax breaks of up to $557,400.
The EDC said Friday that Yardney has since purchased the property, formerly occupied by Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor Corp. An EDC official said Yardney, which produced high-performance lithium-ion batteries for two Mars rovers, is preparing to begin renovations at the site.
Responding to a question from a board member Thursday, EDC executive director Keith Stokes said the agency had previously granted project status to other banks such as Bank of America, Citizens Bank and Fleet Bank before it was acquired by Bank of America.