SCRANTON, P.A. (November 20, 2012) –The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce and Metro Action recently recognized Pennstar Bank and it employees for its company-wide Shine Brighter! philosophy to deliver extraordinary customer service. At the chamber’s annual gala, held November 12, the bank was awarded the Best Practices in Customer Service SAGE Award.SAGE stands for Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence. The award celebrates the outstanding efforts of members of the local business community in 21 categories. Award winners were selected from a field of more than 100 applications submitted by businesses across northeastern Pennsylvania competing for recognition in categories like community involvement, healthy workplace practices, green practices and customer service. The award for customer service showcases a company’s efforts to increase customer satisfaction and subsequently developing higher retention and referral rates. To be eligible, the applicant or nominee must be a for-profit member of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce who has been in business for at least one year. Pennstar Bank’s application for the award detailed the company-wide Shine Brighter! program and its focus on elevating service levels to deliver an extraordinary customer experience. Pennstar Bank President and Chief Executive Officer David Raven said, “Our employees are empowered to be a single point of contact for customers to ensure all interactions are personalized and leave the customer more than satisfied with the experience. Through our Shine Brighter! initiative we encourage staff to make local decisions and take pride in their customer interactions inside and outside of our branches.” Pennstar’s application explained the bank’s focus on how the customer experience has proven to be a competitive advantage that sets the bank apart and also provides the opportunity to answer fundamental needs that benefit an individual’s personal growth. The recently launched Strive financial literacy program and iStrive financial services were cited as examples of how the bank developed a customer service program to provide financial education to help local youth grow into financially responsible, independent adults. All of the awards, with the exception of the People’s Choice Award, were judged by individual judging committees comprised of 42 volunteer judges. Each judge independently scored the applications using a point system and award winners were selected. The People’s Choice Award recipient was selected through an online popular vote. “The SAGE Awards honor the very best business achievements of our community,” said Austin Burke, President of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. “The success of these winners is a testament to their dedication, ingenuity, and vision.” Pennstar Bank provides personal banking, asset management and business services. The independent community bank, headquartered in Scranton, Pa., has 35 offices in six northeastern Pennsylvania counties. Pennstar Bank is a division of Norwich, N.Y.-based NBT Bank, which has 95 offices in upstate New York, northwestern Vermont and western Massachusetts. NBT Bank’s Hampshire First Bank division operates from five locations in southern New Hampshire. NBT Bancorp Inc., the parent company of NBT Bank and its Pennstar Bank and Hampshire First divisions, had assets of $6.0 billion as of September 30, 2012.