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Section 1: PRE 14A (PRELIMINARY PROXY STATEMENT)

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
SCHEDULE 14A
Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 (Amendment No.   )
Filed by the Registrant ☒
Filed by a Party other than the Registrant ☐
Check the appropriate box:

Preliminary Proxy Statement

Confidential, for Use of the Commission Only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))

Definitive Proxy Statement

Definitive Additional Materials

Soliciting Material Pursuant to §240.14a-12
Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
(Name of Registrant as Specified In Its Charter)
(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if other than the Registrant)
Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):

No fee required.

Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(1) and 0-11.
(1)
Title of each class of securities to which transaction applies:
N/A
(2)
Aggregate number of securities to which transaction applies:
N/A
(3)
Per unit price or other underlying value of transaction computed pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 0-11 (set forth the amount on which the filing fee is calculated and state how it was determined):
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(4)
Proposed maximum aggregate value of transaction:
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Total fee paid:
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Fee paid previously with preliminary materials.

Check box if any part of the fee is offset as provided by Exchange Act Rule 0-11(a)(2) and identify the filing for which the offsetting fee was paid previously. Identify the previous filing by registration statement number, or the Form or Schedule and the date of its filing.
(1)
Amount Previously Paid:
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Date Filed:
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April 6, 2018
Dear Berkshire Hills Bancorp Shareholder:
It is our pleasure to invite you to attend the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which will be held at:
Berkshire Plaza Hotel
One West Street
Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201
Thursday, May 17, 2018
10:00 a.m., local time
Please see the Notice of Annual Meeting on the next page for more information about our admission procedures.
We urge you to vote your proxy online, or by telephone, or by completing and returning a proxy card by mail as soon as possible, even if you plan to attend the Annual Meeting.
Your vote is important to us. Thank you for your attention to the enclosed materials, and for your continued support of our company.
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Michael P. Daly, Chief Executive Officer
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William J. Ryan, Chairman of the Board of Directors

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Notice of Annual Meeting
of Shareholders
Notice of 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
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When:
Thursday, May 17, 2018
10 a.m. local time
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Where:
Berkshire Plaza Hotel
One West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
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Record Date:
March 22, 2018
We are holding this meeting for the following purposes:
1.
To elect as directors the nominees named in the Proxy Statement each to serve a one-year term or until their successors are duly elected and qualified;
2.
To amend Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to increase the Company’s authorized common stock from 50 million to 100 million shares;
3.
To amend Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to increase the Company’s authorized preferred stock from 1 million to 2 million shares;
4.
To approve the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan;
5.
To provide an advisory vote on executive compensation practices;
6.
To ratify the appointment of the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2018; and
7.
To transact any other Company business that may properly come before the meeting.
The Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” each of the proposed director nominees and “FOR” the proposals to be presented at the annual meeting.
Shareholders of record at the close of business on March 22, 2018, are entitled to vote at the meeting, either in person or by proxy. There are several ways to vote. You can vote your shares online, by telephone, by regular mail or in person at the annual meeting. To access your proxy materials and vote online, please visit www.proxyvote.com and follow the instructions. The notice previously provided to you contains the necessary codes required to vote online. If you wish to vote by telephone, please call 1-800-690-6903 using a touch-tone phone and follow the prompted instructions. You may also vote by mail by requesting a paper proxy card using the instructions provided to you in the notice. Finally, you may vote in person at the annual meeting, even if you have previously submitted a proxy.
Whatever method you choose, please vote in advance of the meeting to ensure that your shares will be voted as you direct.
Boston, Massachusetts
April 6, 2018
By order of the Board of Directors
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Wm. Gordon Prescott, Corporate Secretary
Admission Procedures
The meeting is open to shareholders of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. Everyone attending the meeting should bring a photo ID. If your shares are registered in the name of a bank, broker, or other holder of record, please also bring documentation of your stock ownership as of March 22, 2018 (such as a brokerage statement).
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON MAY 17, 2018:
The Notice of Annual Meeting, 2018 Proxy Statement, and Annual Report to Shareholders for fiscal 2017 are each available at www.proxyvote.com.
BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

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Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
Proxy Statement
Proxy Summary
This summary gives you an overview of selected information in this year’s proxy. We encourage you to read the entire proxy statement carefully before voting. We have also provided you with the 2017 Summary Annual Report and the 2017 Annual Report on SEC Form 10-K.
Annual Meeting of Shareholders
Time and Date: 10:00 a.m. local time, Thursday, May 17, 2018
Place: Berkshire Plaza Hotel, One West Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201
Record Date: Shareholders as of the close of business on March 22, 2018 are entitled to vote
Proposals to be Voted on by Shareholders
Proposal
Board’s Voting
Recommendation
Page
References
(for more
information)
1 — Election of Directors
pp. 9-29
2 — Amendment to Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the Company’s Authorized Common Stock from 50 Million to 100 Million Shares
pp. 30-31
3 — Amendment to Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the Company’s Authorized Preferred Stock from 1 Million to 2 Million Shares
pp. 32-33
4 — Approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan
pp. 34-42
5 — Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation
6 — Ratification of the Appointment of the Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
pp. 83-86
We are providing this proxy statement to you in connection with the solicitation of proxies for the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and to transact any other business that may properly come before the meeting. In this proxy statement, we also refer to Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. as “Berkshire” or the “Company”. We also refer to its subsidiary, Berkshire Bank, as the “Bank”. We are mailing a notice of the annual meeting to shareholders of record as of March 22, 2018, beginning on April 6, 2018.
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Proxy Statement • Proxy Summary
Summary of Proposals for 2018
1 — Election of Directors. This year, Berkshire has 9 (out of 13) directors up for election, each to serve a one-year term if elected. The Company’s Board of Directors has nominated Messrs. Bossidy, Brunelle, Curley, Daly, Mahoney, Murphy, Ryan, Templeton and Ms. Massad for election in 2018.
2 — Amendment of Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the Company’s Authorized Common Stock from 50 Million to 100 Million Shares. Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation authorizes 50 million shares of common stock, of which 45,373,126 shares are outstanding. An increase to 100 million shares of authorized common stock increases our flexibility to issue common stock in a variety of circumstances.
3 — Amendment of Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the Company’s Authorized Preferred Stock from 1 Million to 2 Million Shares. Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation authorizes 1 million shares of preferred stock, of which 522,000 shares are outstanding. An increase to 2 million shares of authorized preferred stock increases our flexibility to issue such stock in a variety of circumstances.
4 — Approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. There are a limited number of shares remaining under Berkshire’s current equity plan. Approval of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will give the Company the flexibility it needs to continue to attract, motivate and retain highly qualified officers, employees and directors by offering a competitive compensation program that is linked to the performance of our common stock.
5 — Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation. This advisory vote is for the approval of the Company’s Named Executive Officer compensation as set forth within this proxy statement. Berkshire strives to promote shareholder value and sound risk management by aligning executive pay and company performance.
6 — Ratification of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm. This advisory vote ratifies the selection of Crowe Horwath LLP (“Crowe”) as the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm for fiscal year 2018.
Corporate Governance Highlights
Our commitment to good corporate governance is illustrated as follows:
Independent Oversight
Shareholder Orientation
Good Governance
Majority independent directors
(11 of 13); median tenure of 5 years
Rigorous board and committee self-assessments conducted annually Diverse board membership
(skills, tenure, age); annual director education
Strong and engaged independent chairman of the board Robust stock-ownership guidelines Annual evaluation of CEO and senior management and review of succession plans
All key committees are fully independent Annual shareholder engagement program Directors attended 99% of all Board and Committee meetings in 2017
Regular executive sessions of independent directors Majority voting, with director resignation policy for uncontested elections Risk oversight by full board and committees
Chair of Corporate Governance or Chairman can call special meeting of the Board at any time for any reason No poison pill in place; annual election of all directors beginning in 2019 Formal ethics code, reporting hotline and ethics training to all employees
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Proxy Statement • Proxy Summary
Shareholder Engagement and Responsiveness
We have an active engagement program that focuses on gathering feedback from the governance teams of our largest institutional shareholders. Based on these ongoing discussions, in the last year we made several enhancements to our governance programs which include:

Declassified the Board of Directors

Added a relative total shareholder return (“TSR”) measure to the long-term incentive plan

Increased disclosure around compensation policies, procedures and decisions

Increased disclosure relating to the Board of Directors’ composition, recruiting and nominating practices

Introduced an anti-hedging policy and increased disclosure around our restrictive pledging policy

Eliminated geographical residency requirement for eligibility to serve on the Board
Since the implementation of  “Say-on-Pay”, we have received support above 90% for our Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation. In 2016 we received 67% of votes in favor of the Company’s executive compensation. In 2017, we improved to 75% of vote in favor, but we continue to strive to improve the shareholder approval. As a result, the Board of Directors has taken action over the past year to further engage shareholders to better understand their views and make enhancements to our compensation and governance practices.
What We Did:

Proactively reached out to our largest institutional shareholders, representing 75% of our institutional ownership, to solicit their feedback.

Had extensive dialogue with a diverse group of our shareholders during the year and obtained additional feedback from advisors and other knowledgeable third parties.

Solicited feedback and answered questions about our executive compensation programs and Board governance practices.
What We Heard and How We Responded:

Shareholders were pleased with the changes we made in the last year, particularly the declassified board and increased disclosures.

We continued to enhance our proxy statement disclosure this year to include more detail on director qualifications, the board evaluation process, risk management, gender diversity and sustainability.

There was general support for the design of the compensation plans. The importance of aligning goals with shareholder returns was reinforced and some of the shareholders desired more disclosure around individual incentive awards.

The Compensation Committee changed the long-term incentive plan goals in 2017 to include a relative TSR measure, along with a cumulative core EPS goal. The Committee feels that this combination will drive executive performance that is both favorable to the shareholders and to the Company’s long term strategic plans. We also continued to enhance the disclosures tied to the Compensation Committee’s philosophy and process in determining goals and individual awards.

Some shareholders suggested adopting a proxy access provision, majority voting standards, and/or the right to call a special meeting in our bylaws.

The Board has had extensive conversations about each of these items and will continue to evaluate potential future action.
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Proxy Statement • Proxy Summary
Our Compensation Philosophy
We seek to provide an executive compensation program that is consistent with promoting sound risk management and long-term value creation for our shareholders. The key principles that support our philosophy are:

Attract and retain highly talented executives committed to our success

Pay for performance

Align executive interests with those of our shareholders

Manage risk through oversight and compensation design features and practices
Key Elements of our Compensation Programs
Compensation Mix
Target Mix

Direct compensation is made up of base salary, short-term cash incentive (“STI”) and long-term equity incentive (“LTI”)

Target mix is 57% performance based for CEO and 47% performance-based for other NEOs
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Long-Term/Equity Compensation
LTI Award

Awards consist of 50% performance shares and 50% time-based shares

Performance shares are earned at the end of a 3-year period based on Company performance

Time-based shares are earned proportionally over a 3-year period
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Corporate Performance Measures
Performance Measures

Performance measures and targets are designed to motivate and reward executives for achieving improved earnings and profitability over the long term, driving total shareholder returns and managing risk

Goal setting is aligned with annual and multi-year financial targets
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*
For reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, please see Appendix A.
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Proxy Statement • Proxy Summary
Our Compensation Practices and Policies
What We Do:
Pay for Performance: A significant portion of each Named Executive Officer’s annual compensation target is variable and tied to company and individual performance results. The Company uses a mix of performance metrics and our short- and long-term plans provide a balanced timeframe for incentive opportunities.
Link Performance Measures with Strategic Objectives: Performance measures and individual goals for incentive compensation are linked to strategic, operating and financial goals designed to create long-term shareholder value.
Annual Say-on-Pay Vote: We conduct an annual Say-on-Pay advisory vote.
Independent Compensation Consultant: The Compensation Committee engages its own independent compensation consultant to review the Company’s executive compensation program and practices.
Shareholder Engagement: As part of the Company’s shareholder outreach program, members of the Compensation Committee and members of management welcome engagement with shareholders to better understand their perceptions and views on our executive compensation program.
Stock Ownership Guidelines: We have significant stock ownership guidelines requiring our executives and directors to hold substantial equity ownership.
Clawback Policy: The clawback policy allows the Board to recover incentive compensation paid to an executive if the financial results that the awards were based on are materially restated due to fraud, intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Incentivize Sound Risk Management: Our compensation program includes features intended to discourage employees from taking unnecessary and excessive risks, including balanced performance metrics, emphasis on long-term shareholder value creation, and clawback provisions.
What We Don’t Do:
Gross-ups for Excise Taxes: We do not provide change-in-control tax gross-ups to individuals hired after 2009 (only two legacy agreements are still in place).
Hedging and Pledging: All of our employees and directors are prohibited from engaging in hedging, monetization, derivative or similar transactions with company securities. We also have a policy that discourages pledging of company securities, with very limited exceptions.
Contracts: Our executives, with the exception of the CEO, are all employed “at will” and the relationship may be terminated by the Company or the employee at any time without any severance payments.
Dividends: We do not pay dividends on any restricted stock awards until vested.
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Proxy Statement • Proxy Summary
2017 Company Performance
2017 was a transformational year for Berkshire. Our major accomplishments included:

Growing revenue by more than 40%

Gaining a major position in Worcester, MA — an important regional market

Announcing the relocation of the Company’s corporate headquarters to Boston and expanding our team within that market

Crossing the $10 billion threshold for total assets

Completing our largest acquisition and successfully managing our largest stock offering to date
Our Board of Directors evaluates performance primarily on the basis of non-GAAP core and organic measures. The Company excludes net charges not viewed as related to ongoing operations, as shown in Appendix A. Many of these charges relate to the direct and indirect costs of acquisitions, which are central to Berkshire’s strategy; these costs are viewed as part of the merger investment. In 2017, there was also a significant noncash charge to write-down the deferred tax asset following federal tax reform.
The Board tracks the Company’s performance on GAAP measures but its overall direction to management is to achieve certain core and organic performance targets which the Company views as most critical to shareholder value. The Board does not view GAAP results in many cases as indicative of business performance and value creation. With few exceptions, the equity analysts who cover our Company agree with the Company’s approach to evaluating its performance.
The Board sets budget goals each year which are generally targeted to result in improved shareholder value. The Board also participates with management in directing certain investments in infrastructure and risk management to support the long-term growth strategy which are not immediately accretive to earnings measures. The Board considers conditions and expectations in the banking industry and in the investment community in setting management priorities. The Compensation Committee establishes specific forms of short- and long-term incentive compensation to support the Board’s performance objectives.
In 2017, GAAP earnings and profitability decreased due to merger charges and tax reform. Core results improved, even as the Company withstood a shifting regulatory landscape while also absorbing the increased regulatory costs of crossing $10 billion in assets. In 2017 management performed strongly and in several areas exceeded stretch objectives. The Board strongly believes that performance and pay were well aligned in a year with transformational strategic accomplishments and exceptional management performance.
In 2017, the Company introduced three-year TSR as a major element of the incentive structure. As the chart below shows, in its first year Berkshire performed in the 68th percentile among the regional bank peers. The Company delivered results in 2017 after absorbing growth-related costs in the prior two years which held its stock return modestly below peers. The Board views the three-year total stock return of nearly 50% as a strong investment return.
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(1)
TSR percentile is based on comparison with 2017 Long Term Incentive comparator index as defined in the CD&A of this proxy.
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Proxy Statement • Proxy Summary
2017 Financial Highlights
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Proposal 1:
Election of Directors for a One-Year Term
The Board of Directors has nominated and recommends Paul T. Bossidy, David M. Brunelle, Robert M. Curley, Michael P. Daly, Cornelius D. Mahoney, Pamela A. Massad, Richard J. Murphy, William J. Ryan and D. Jeffrey Templeton for election as directors, to serve until the 2019 Annual Meeting, or until their successors are duly elected and qualified.
Background. The Company’s Board of Directors currently consists of 13 members. Prior to the 2017 annual meeting of shareholders, the Board was divided into three classes, each with three-year staggered terms, with one-third of the directors elected each year. Effective as of last year, the Board members are elected on an annual basis as the term of each class expires. Since shareholders approved the declassification of the Board of Directors at the 2017 Annual Meeting and the 2016 class of directors were elected to a three-year term, the 2019 Annual Meeting will be the first that all board members stand for election on an annual basis. The nominees for election this year are Paul T. Bossidy, David M. Brunelle, Robert M. Curley, Michael P. Daly, Cornelius D. Mahoney, Pamela A. Massad, Richard J. Murphy, William J. Ryan and D. Jeffrey Templeton. All nine of the nominees currently serve on the Board.
Shareholders will vote to elect the above-referenced nominees to hold office for a one-year term. If a nominee is unable to be a candidate when the election takes place, the shares represented by valid proxies will be voted in favor of the remaining nominees. The Board of Directors does not currently anticipate that any of the nominees will be unable to be a candidate for election.
Additional Information. Information regarding the director nominees is set forth below under the heading “— Information Regarding Directors and Director Nominees.”
The affirmative vote of a plurality of the Company’s outstanding common stock present in person or by proxy at the Annual Meeting is required to elect the nominees for directors; provided, however, in the case of an uncontested election of directors, it is the Company’s policy that if a director is elected by a plurality but not a majority of the votes cast for such director, such director must submit his or her resignation to the Board of Directors, which will be subject to review by the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors. The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee will then make a recommendation to the Board of Directors as to whether to accept or reject the director’s resignation. Unless otherwise instructed, the proxy holders will vote the proxies received by them “FOR” the election of the nominees as directors.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT SHAREHOLDERS VOTE “FOR” THE ELECTION OF ITS DIRECTOR NOMINEES.
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
Information Regarding Directors and Director Nominees
Since our last annual meeting, the Board took actions to engage shareholders, advisors and other knowledgeable third-parties to discuss a number of important topics and better understand their views. We appreciate the honest feedback, open exchange of ideas and opportunity to learn from one another. As a result of those conversations and our own commitment to good governance, the Board made the following governance changes this year:

Committee rotation and appointment of new Chairs occurred throughout the year, which included new Audit and Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee Chairs.

The Board has implemented the shareholder-approved change to the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation to phase out the classified Board structure so that all directors would stand for election on an annual basis by 2019.

Disclosure concerning the composition of the Board has been enhanced, including more information on skill sets, background and our recruiting and nomination process.

The Board also maintains a strict anti-hedging policy and restricts the pledging of Company stock as laid out on page 72 of this proxy statement.

Eliminated geographical residency requirement for eligibility to serve on the Board.
2018 Nominees for Election to the Board of Directors
PAUL T. BOSSIDY, President and CEO of Patripabre Capital LLC
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Mr. Bossidy is President and Chief Executive Officer of Patripabre Capital LLC, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and provides consulting services to companies in the financial services industry. Mr. Bossidy previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Clayton Holdings LLC from 2008 to 2014, when it was acquired by Radian Group, Inc. He also formerly served as Senior Operations Executive at Cerberus Capital Management and has held various executive appointments for General Electric Company, most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Capital Solutions Group, a diversified global commercial finance company. He is a certified public accountant. Mr. Bossidy has been designated by the Board of Directors as a financial expert under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Independent
Years of Service: 2
Age: 57
Board Committees:

Audit (chair)

Corporate Governance/ Nominating
Other Directorships: Former Director of Altisource Asset Management Corporation (2012-2017); Former Chair of Altisource Audit Committee (2012-2017)
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company Board

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader

Mortgage Industry
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
DAVID M. BRUNELLE, Co-Founder and Managing Director of North Pointe Wealth
Management
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Mr. Brunelle is Co-Founder and Managing Director of North Pointe Wealth Management in Worcester, Massachusetts. He has over 20 years of experience in financial services working with businesses, individuals, families and charitable foundations. Mr. Brunelle is a former Director of Commerce Bancshares Corp. and Commerce Bank & Trust Company and served on Commerce’s audit and loan committees. He has also served as trustee or corporator for numerous non-profit entities in and around Worcester, including The Nativity School of Worcester, The Worcester Regional Research Bureau, The Worcester Educational Development Foundation, the UMass/Memorial Foundation, Becker College and the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.
Independent
Years of Service: < 1
Age: 47
Board Committees:

Audit

Compliance & Regulatory
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company Board

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Wealth Management/Insurance

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader

Small Business Owner/Operator
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
ROBERT M. CURLEY, Chairman of the New York Region of Berkshire Bank
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Mr. Curley is Chairman of the New York region of Berkshire Bank. He previously served as Chairman and President for Citizens Bank in New York from 2005 to 2009. Prior to joining Citizens, Mr. Curley served at Charter One Bank where he was President for New York and New England. During the period of 1976 to 1999, Mr. Curley was employed by KeyCorp, where he rose to the position of Vice Chairman of KeyBank N.A., and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of four subsidiary banks. Mr. Curley was hired by the Company and the Bank as Chairman of our New York region and appointed as a director of the Company and the Bank in December 2009.
Non-Independent Years of Service: 7
Age: 70
Board Committees:

Risk Management & Capital

Compliance & Regulatory
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
MICHAEL P. DALY, President and CEO of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
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Mr. Daly is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank. Before these appointments in 2002, Mr. Daly served as Executive Vice President and Senior Loan Officer of the Bank. Previously he served as Senior Vice President of commercial banking, and also previously managed consumer lending and operations. He has been an employee of the Bank since 1986.
Non-Independent
Years of Service: 15
Age: 56
Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Public Company CEO

Public Company Board

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/ Community Leader
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
CORNELIUS D. MAHONEY, Former Chairman, President and CEO of Woronoco
Bancorp, Inc.
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Mr. Mahoney is the former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Woronoco Bancorp, Inc. and Woronoco Savings Bank before their merger with Berkshire in June 2005. He is a former Chairman of America’s Community Bankers and the Massachusetts Bankers Association and a former Director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. He was a member of the Thrift Institution Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Westfield State College.
Independent
Years of Service: 12
Age: 72
Board Committees:

Compensation

Compliance & Regulatory
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company CEO

Public Company Board

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations and Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
PAMELA A. MASSAD, ESQ., Of Counsel with Fletcher Tilton PC
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Ms. Massad has been Of Counsel with Fletcher Tilton PC since April 2001. She has over 30 years of experience as a practicing attorney, concentrating her practice in the areas of banking and finance, secured lending, corporate and real estate law, and is a member of the Worcester and Massachusetts Bar Associations. Ms. Massad is a former Director of Commerce Bancshares Corp. and Commerce Bank & Trust Company and served on Commerce’s loan, compliance and compensation committees. Ms. Massad currently serves as a director of the Hanover Theatre and as a trustee of the Nativity School of Worcester. Additionally, Ms. Massad serves as a director for many well-known Massachusetts businesses including Diamond Chevrolet, Inc. and Diamond Auto Group, Pie Co. Realty, Inc. and Table Talk Pies, Inc.
Independent
Years of Service: < 1
Age: 62
Board Committees:

Risk & Capital

Compliance & Regulatory
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company Board

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Legal Expertise

Talent Management

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader

Mortgage Industry

Real Estate/Leasing
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
RICHARD J. MURPHY, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Tri-City
ValleyCats
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Mr. Murphy is Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Tri-City ValleyCats minor league baseball team, a Class-A affiliate of the Houston Astros based in Troy, New York. He previously served as Chairman of the New York-Penn League Schedule Committee and is a current member of the Board of Directors for Minor League Baseball’s Baseball Internet Rights Corporation.
Independent
Years of Service: 3
Age: 55
Board Committees:

Audit

Compliance & Regulatory (Chair)
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Marketing/PR

Talent Management

Small Business Owner/Operator

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
WILLIAM J. RYAN, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
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Mr. Ryan is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company. Mr. Ryan previously served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Banknorth from 1985 through 2005 and then subsequently Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of TD Banknorth from 2005-2007.
Other Directorships: Former director of Anthem, Inc. (2001-2017); former Chairman of the Board (2011-2015) and director (2011-2016) of Unum Group.
Independent Chairman
Years of Service: 3
Age: 74
Board Committees:

Compensation

Corporate Governance/ Nominating (Chair)
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company CEO

Public Company Board

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
D. JEFFREY TEMPLETON, Owner and President of The Mosher Company, Inc.
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Mr. Templeton is the owner and President of The Mosher Company, Inc., located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, a manufacturer of buffing and polishing compounds, abrasive slurries and a distributor of related grinding, polishing and lapping machinery. Mr. Templeton is a former director of Woronoco Bancorp.
Independent
Years of Service: 12
Age: 76
Board Committees:

Compensation

Corporate Governance/ Nominating
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company Board

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Talent Management

Small Business Owner/Operator

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2018 (nominated for re-election)
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
Directors with Terms Ending in 2019
JOHN B. DAVIES, Agent Emeritus with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
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Mr. Davies is a former Executive Vice President of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance and is currently an Agent Emeritus with Massachusetts Mutual, providing high net worth counseling with a focus on tax efficiency and intergenerational transfers of wealth. Mr. Davies currently serves on the Westfield State University Foundation Board. Mr. Davies is a former director of Woronoco Bancorp.
Independent
Years of Service: 12
Age: 68
Board Committees:

Compensation (Chair)

Corporate Governance/ Nominating
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company Board

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Regulated Industry

Wealth Management/Insurance

Talent Management

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2019 Annual Meeting
J. WILLIAR DUNLAEVY, Former Chairman and CEO of Legacy Bancorp, Inc.
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Mr. Dunlaevy is the former Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Legacy Bancorp, Inc. and Legacy Banks (collectively, “Legacy”). Mr. Dunlaevy served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Legacy from 1996 until their merger with Berkshire in 2011. A community leader, Mr. Dunlaevy currently serves as a director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation, and previously served as Chairman of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. Mr. Dunlaevy has also been a director of the Depositors Insurance Fund, Massachusetts Bankers Association, and Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts (“SBLI”). Mr. Dunlaevy has been designated by the Board of Directors as a financial expert under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Independent
Years of Service: 6
Age: 71
Board Committees:

Audit

Risk Management & Capital (Chair)
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Public Company CEO

Public Company Board

Financial Institution Executive

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Risk Management

Talent Management

Regulated Industry

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2019 Annual Meeting
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
LAURIE NORTON MOFFATT, Director & CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum
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Ms. Moffatt is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Since 1986, Ms. Moffatt has overseen the expansion of the museum’s facilities and the creation of a scholars’ research program. Her efforts resulted in the Museum receiving the National Humanities Medal, America’s highest humanities honor. Ms. Moffatt is also an active community leader. She is a founder of 1Berkshire and Berkshire Creative Economy Council and serves as a trustee of Berkshire Health Systems and a director of Berkshire Health Systems, Inc. and Berkshire Medical Center, Inc.
Independent
Years of Service: 4
Age: 61
Board Committees:

Risk Management & Capital

Compliance & Regulatory
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Talent Management

Marketing/PR

Small Business Owner/Operator

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2019 Annual Meeting
PATRICK J. SHEEHAN, Owner and Manager of Sheehan Health Group
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Mr. Sheehan is owner and manager of multiple healthcare businesses in New England. Through his management company, Sheehan Health Group, he has operated multiple nursing homes, an independent and assisted living community, a home care agency and a rehabilitation company. A veteran of the healthcare industry, Mr. Sheehan has been successfully rehabilitating and managing healthcare properties since 1990.
Independent
Years of Service: 2
Age: 46
Board Committees:

Audit

Risk Management & Capital
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

Business Operations/Strategic Planning

Financial Expertise/Literacy

Regulated Industry

Talent Management

Small Business Owner/Operator

Corporate Responsibility/​Community Leader
Current Term End: 2019 Annual Meeting
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
2018 COMMITTEE STRUCTURE
Nomiee Name, Age & Primary Occumpation
Director
Since
Director
Category
Audit
Comp
Corp
Gov &
Nom
Risk &
Capital
Compliance
& Reg
Paul T. Bossidy, Age 57
President and Chief Executive Officer of Patripabre Capital LLC
2015
I
C *
David M. Brunelle, Age 47
Co-Founder and Manging Director of North Pointe Wealth Management
2017
I
* *
Robert M. Curley, Age 70
Chairman of the New York Region of Berkshire Bank
2010
M
* *
Michael P. Daly, Age 56
President and CEO of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
2002
M
John B. Davies, Age 68
Agent Emeritus with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
2005
I
C *
J. Williar Dunlaevy, Age 71
Former Chairman and CEO of Legacy Bancorp, Inc.
2011
I
* C
Cornelius D. Mahoney, Age 72
Former Chairman, President and CEO of Woronoco Bancorp, Inc.
2005
I
* *
Pamela A. Massad, Esq., Age 62
Of Counsel with Fletcher Tilton PC
2017
I
* *
Laurie Norton Moffatt, Age 61
Director & CEO of the Norman Rockwell Museum
2013
I
* *
Richard J. Murphy, Age 55
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Tri-City ValleyCats
2014
I
* C
William J. Ryan, Age 74
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc
2014
I/C
* C
Patrick J. Sheehan, Age 46
Owner and manager of Sheehan Health Group
2015
I
* *
D. Jeffrey Templeton, Age 76
Owner and President of The Mosher Company, Inc
2005
I
* *
M = Management Director         I = Independent Director         C = Chair
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Information Regarding Directors and Director
Nominees
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Corporate Governance
The Company is committed to strong corporate governance policies, practices and procedures designed to make the Board more effective in exercising its oversight role. The following sections provide an overview of our corporate governance structure, including independence and other criteria we use in selecting director nominees, our Board leadership structure, and the responsibilities of the Board and each of its Committees. Our Corporate Governance Policy, among other key governance materials, help guide our Board and management in the performance of their duties and are regularly reviewed by the Board.
Key Corporate Governance Documents
Please visit our investor relations website at ir.berkshirebank.com to view the following documents:

Corporate Governance Policy

Code of Business Conduct

Anonymous Reporting Line Policy

Board Committee Charters

Certificate of Incorporation

Company By-Laws
These documents are available free of charge on our website or by writing to Berkshire Hills Bancorp, c/o Wm. Gordon Prescott, Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary, P.O. Box 1308, Pittsfield, MA 01202.
The Board and management regularly review best practices in corporate governance and are committed to a program that serves the long-term interests of our shareholders. We believe good governance strengthens accountability and promotes responsible corporate citizenship. Our current best practices are highlighted below:
Independent Oversight
Shareholder Orientation
Good Governance
Majority independent directors
(11 of 13); median tenure of 5 years
Rigorous board and committee self-assessments conducted annually Diverse board membership (skills, tenure, age); annual director education
Strong and engaged independent chairman of the board Robust stock-ownership guidelines Annual evaluation of CEO and senior management and review of succession plans
All key committees are fully independent Annual shareholder engagement program Directors attended 99% of all Board and Committee meetings in 2017
Regular executive sessions of independent directors Majority voting, with director resignation policy for uncontested elections Risk oversight by full board and committees
Chair of Corporate Governance or Chairman can call special meeting of the Board at any time for any reason No poison pill in place; annual election of all directors beginning in 2019 Formal ethics code, reporting hotline and ethics training to all employees
Board of Directors
The primary functions of Berkshire’s Board of Directors are:

To oversee management performance on behalf of shareholders;

To ensure that the interests of the shareholders are being served;

To monitor adherence to Berkshire’s standards and policies;

To promote the exercise of responsible corporate citizenship; and

To perform the duties and responsibilities assigned to the Board by the laws of Delaware, Berkshire’s state of incorporation.
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 PROXY STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Board Meetings
During 2017, the Board of Directors held 8 meetings. The average attendance at meetings of the Board and Board Committees during 2017 was 99%. During this period, each of the current directors attended at least 75% of the aggregate of the total number of board meetings and committee meetings held on which such directors served.
In addition, the Board of Directors encourages each director to attend annual meetings of shareholders. Five out of eleven directors serving at that time attended the 2017 annual meeting of shareholders.
Board Leadership Structure
The Board has reviewed the current Board leadership structure of the Company, which consists of a separate Independent Chairman of the Board and a Chief Executive Officer. The Independent Chairman performs all duties and has all powers which are commonly incident to the office of Chairman of the Board or which are delegated to him by the Board of Directors, including presiding at all meetings of the Board of Directors. The Chief Executive Officer has responsibility for the management and control of the business and affairs of the Company and has general supervision of all other officers, employees and agents of the Company. The Board believes that separating these roles enhances the independence of the Board and its effectiveness in discharging its responsibilities and that this procedure is currently the most appropriate Board leadership structure for the Company.
Director Independence
The Company’s Board of Directors currently consists of 13 members, all of whom are independent under the listing requirements of The New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), except for Messrs. Daly and Curley, who are officers of the Company and the Bank. Additionally, all of the members of the Audit, Compensation and Corporate Governance/Nominating Committees are independent in accordance with the listing standards of the NYSE, and, in the case of members of the Audit and Compensation Committees, applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”). In determining the independence of its directors, the Board considered transactions, relationships and arrangements between the Company and its directors that are not required to be disclosed in this proxy statement under the heading “Transactions with Related Persons,” including loans or lines of credit that the Bank has directly or indirectly made to Directors Daly, Mahoney, Massad, Moffatt, Murphy, Sheehan and Templeton.
Corporate Governance Policy
The Board of Directors has adopted a corporate governance policy to govern certain activities, including: the duties and responsibilities of directors; the composition, responsibilities and operation of the Board of Directors; the selection of a Chairman of the Board of Directors; the operation of board committees; succession planning; convening executive sessions of independent directors; the Board of Directors’ interaction with management and third parties; and the evaluation of the performance of the Board of Directors and of the Chief Executive Officer. A copy of the corporate governance policy is available in the Governance Documents portion of the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website (ir.berkshirebank.com).
Director Continuing Education
The Board of Directors conducts annual director education sessions, which include presentations by industry experts based on input from directors regarding topics of interest. This year’s topics included a presentation by members of the leadership of the American Bankers Association concerning potential regulatory changes that may emerge following the 2016 presidential election, and an information security incident response overview presented by Berkshire Bank’s internal information security officer. Directors also receive an annual update on trending compliance and regulatory matters and new developments from the Bank’s outside compliance advisory firm. Our senior management meets with the Board at every regularly scheduled board meeting and annually to review the Company’s strategic plan.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Board and Committee Self Evaluation
The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee oversees the annual self-evaluation of the performance of the Board of directors and its committees, the results of which are discussed with the full Board and each individual committee, as appropriate. The purpose of the evaluations is to improve the performance of the overall Board and each specific committee. The evaluations include a review of any areas in which Board or committee members believes the Board and the committees can make a better contribution to the governance and oversight of the Company. The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee also utilizes the results of the Board and committee evaluation process in assessing and determining the characteristics and critical skills required of prospective candidates for election to the Board and appointment to each committee. The evaluation survey forms include opened-ended questions in which directors are invited to share their written comments on a confidential basis.
Committees of the Board of Directors
The Board has five standing committees: the Audit Committee; the Compensation Committee; the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee; the Risk Management and Capital Committee; and the Compliance/Regulatory Committee. The Board has determined that all members of the Audit Committee, the Compensation Committee and the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee are independent in accordance with the listing requirements of the NYSE. Each committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board of Directors that governs its composition, responsibilities and operation. Each committee reviews and reassesses the adequacy of its charter at least annually. The current charters of all five committees are available in the Governance Documents portion of the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website (ir.berkshirebank.com).
2017 Committee Structure
Directors
Audit
Committee
Compensation
Committee
Corporate
Governance/​
Nominating
Committee
Risk
Management
& Capital
Committee
Compliance
& Regulatory
Committee
Paul T. Bossidy C
David M. Brunelle*
Robert M. Curley***
Michael P. Daly
John B. Davies C
J. Williar Dunlaevy** C
Cornelius D. Mahoney
Pamela A. Massad*
Laurie Norton Moffatt
Richard J. Murphy*** C
William J. Ryan C
Patrick J. Sheehan
D. Jeffrey Templeton
Number of Meetings in 2017 19 7 7 7 6
C
Denotes Committee Chairperson.
*
Mr. Brunelle and Ms. Massad were appointed to the Board of Directors on December 8, 2017.
**
Mr. Dunlaevy was appointed to succeed Mr. Curley as the Chairman of the Risk Management and Capital Committee on June 22, 2017.
***
Mr. Murphy was appointed to succeed Mr. Mahoney as the Chairman of the Compliance and Regulatory Committee on June 22, 2017.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Board Committees and Responsibilities
The primary functions of each of the board committees are described below.
BOARD COMMITTEES
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
AUDIT COMMITTEE
All Five Members Independent
Chair: Mr. Bossidy
The Board of Directors has determined that Messrs. Bossidy and Dunlaevy qualify as Audit Committee financial experts under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Assists the Board of Directors in its oversight of the Company’s accounting and reporting practices

Reviews the quality and integrity of the Company’s financial reports

Ensures the Company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements related to accounting and financial reporting

Oversees the Company’s internal audit function

Annually reviews and approves the internal and external audit plans

Engages with the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm (Crowe) and monitors its performance, reporting and independence
COMPENSATION COMMITTEE
All Four Members Independent Chair: Mr. Davies
See the “Compensation Discussion and Analysis” section for more information regarding the role of the Compensation Committee, management and compensation consultants in determining and/or recommending the amount or form of named executive compensation.

Approves the compensation objectives for the Company and its subsidiaries and establishes the compensation for the Chief Executive Officer and other Named Executive Officers of the Company

Reviews the Company’s incentive compensation and other equity plans and recommends changes to the plans as needed

Reviews all compensation components for the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and other Named Executive Officers, including base salary, short-term incentive, long-term incentives/equity, benefits and other perquisites

Reviews competitive market factors and examines the total compensation mix, pay-for-performance relationship, and how all elements, in the aggregate, comprise the named executive officer’s total compensation package

Administers CEO employment agreement, change in control agreements, and equity incentive plans
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE/ NOMINATING COMMITTEE
All Four Members Independent Chair: Mr. Ryan

Identifies qualified individuals to serve as Board members

Considers and recommends nominees for director to stand for election at the Company’s annual meeting of shareholders

Determines the composition of the Board of Directors and its committees

Annually reviews policy, procedures and criteria for identifying candidates for election or appointment to the Board of Directors

Monitors a process to assess Board effectiveness, including annual Board and committee self-evaluations

Develops and implements the Company’s corporate governance guidelines, including annual reviews of the Company’s Corporate Governance Policy and Code of Business Conduct

Regularly receives reports from executive officers heading the Company’s investor relations and compliance and regulatory programs and periodically receives reports from other committee chairpersons regarding the work being done by their committees
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
BOARD COMMITTEES
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
RISK MANAGEMENT &
CAPITAL COMMITTEE
Five Members
Chair: Mr. Dunlaevy

Oversees management’s program to limit or control the material business risk that confront the Company

Approves policies and procedures designed to lead to an understanding and to identify, control, monitor and measure the material business risk of the Company and its subsidiaries

Plans for future capital needs

Reviews material business risks including, but not limited to, credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk, regulatory risk, legal risk, operational risk, strategic risk, cyber-security risk and reputation risk

Monitors the Company’s enterprise governance, risk management and compliance (“EGRC”) program, including development and implementation of risk management processes in the area of vendor management, data loss prevention, business continuity, policy management and testing and assessment of operational controls

Ensures compliance with regulations pertaining to capital structure and levels
COMPLIANCE & REGULATORY COMMITTEE
Six Members
Chair: Mr. Murphy

Oversees management’s implementation of compliance programs, policies and procedures designed to identify and respond to the various compliance and regulatory risks of the Company and its subsidiaries

Monitors the preparations for regulatory examinations of the Company and the Bank

Oversees the Company’s information security program and monitors associated risks

Monitors significant legal or regulatory compliance exposure and oversees responses to material reports or inquiries from government or regulatory agencies

Ensures that the Company, Berkshire Bank and their affiliates have in place sound compliance management systems (“CMS”) as required by all applicable regulators and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”)
Audit Committee
For information about the audit committee and the audit committee financial experts, please see table above and pages 84-86 in this proxy statement.
Identification and Evaluation of Director Candidates
The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee is responsible for identifying and recommending to the Board of Directors candidates for Board membership. For purposes of identifying nominees, the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee relies on personal contacts of the committee members and other members of the Board of Directors, as well as its knowledge of members of the communities served by the Company and its subsidiaries. The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee will also consider director candidates recommended by shareholders in accordance with the policy and procedures set forth below. The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee has not previously used an independent search firm to identify nominees.
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
In evaluating potential nominees, the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee determines whether the candidate is eligible and qualified for service on the Board of Directors by evaluating the candidate under certain criteria, which are described below under “Director Eligibility Requirements.” If an individual fulfills these criteria, the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee will conduct a background check and interview the candidate to further assess the qualities of the prospective nominee and the contributions they would make to the Board.
Criteria for Nomination to the Board of Directors
The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee has adopted a set of criteria that it considers when it selects individuals to be nominated for election to the Board of Directors. A candidate must meet the eligibility requirements set forth in the Company’s bylaws, including a requirement that the candidate not have been subject to certain criminal or regulatory actions. A candidate also must meet any qualification requirements set forth in any Board or committee governing documents.
If the candidate is deemed eligible and qualified for election to the Board of Directors, the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee will then evaluate the following criteria in selecting nominees:

financial, regulatory and business experience;

familiarity with and participation in the local communities;

integrity, honesty and reputation in connection with upholding a position of trust with respect to customers;

dedication to the Company and its shareholders; and

independence.
The Committee will consider a candidate’s background, training, leadership ability and related skills across a broad spectrum of business, professional, entrepreneurial, educational and creative endeavors, as well as technical skills, experience and know-how in fields and professions outside the financial services industry (such as, by way of example, but without limitation, cyber-security, information technology and management, marketing, business and human capital development) that may assist the Company in strengthening, protecting or promoting its business. The Committee also will consider any other factors the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee deems relevant, including age, diversity, size of the Board of Directors and regulatory disclosure obligations. We do not maintain a specific diversity policy, but diversity is considered in our review of candidates. Diversity is considered in terms of how a candidate’s background, experience, qualifications, attributes and skills may complement, supplement or duplicate those of the Board.
With respect to nominating an existing director for re-election to the Board of Directors, the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee will consider and review an existing director’s Board and committee attendance and performance; length of Board service; the experience, skills and contributions that the existing director brings to the Board; and independence.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Director Eligibility Requirements:

No person shall be eligible for election or appointment to the Board of Directors: (i) if such person has, within the previous ten years, been the subject of supervisory action by a financial regulatory agency that resulted in a cease and desist order or an agreement or other written statement subject to public disclosure under 12 U.S.C. 1818(u), or any successor provision; (ii) if such person has been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or breach of trust which is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year under state or federal law; or (iii) if such person is currently charged in any information, indictment, or other complaint with the commission of or participation in such a crime.

No person shall be eligible for election or appointment to the Board of Directors if such person is the nominee or representative of a company, as that term is defined in Section 10 of the Home Owners’ Loan Act or any successor provision, of which any director, partner, trustee or shareholder controlling more than 10% of any class of voting stock would not be eligible for election or appointment to the Board of Directors.

No person may serve on the Board of Directors and at the same time be a director of more than two other public companies, or their subsidiaries.

No person shall be eligible for election to the Board of Directors if such person is the nominee or representative of a person or group, or of a group acting in concert (as defined in 12 C.F.R Section 303.81(b)), that includes a person who is ineligible for election to the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors shall have the power to construe and apply the provisions of the Company’s bylaws and other governance documents, and to make all determinations necessary or desirable to implement such provisions, including but not limited to determinations as to whether a person is a nominee or representative of a person, a company or a group, whether a person or company is included in a group, and whether a person is the nominee or representative of a group acting in concert.

In 2017, the Board of Directors removed a previous requirement that Board members reside at the time of their appointment in a county where a branch of Berkshire Bank is located, or in a county adjacent to such a county. Although this prior restriction on eligibility allowed the Board to grant specific exceptions in the case of otherwise qualified and eligible Board nominees, the Board determined that eliminating this eligibility requirement altogether was important to the Board to allow for the broadest, most diverse pool of potential new directors as openings on the Board arise.
Consideration of Recommendations by Shareholders. It is the policy of the Corporate Governance/​Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors of the Company to consider director candidates recommended by shareholders who appear to be qualified to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors. The Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee may choose not to consider an unsolicited recommendation if no vacancy exists on the Board of Directors and the Corporate Governance/​Nominating Committee does not perceive a need to increase the size of the Board of Directors. To avoid the unnecessary use of the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee’s resources, the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee will consider only those director candidates recommended in accordance with the procedures set forth below.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Procedures to be Followed by Shareholders. To submit a recommendation of a director candidate to the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee, a shareholder must submit the following information in writing, addressed to the Chairman of the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee, care of the Corporate Secretary, at 24 North Street, P.O. Box 1308, Pittsfield, MA 01202-1308:
1.
The name of the person recommended as a director candidate;
2.
All information relating to such person that is required to be disclosed in solicitations of proxies for election of directors pursuant to Regulation 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;
3.
The written consent of the person being recommended as a director candidate to being named in the proxy statement as a nominee and to serving as a director if elected;
4.
As to the shareholder making the recommendation, the name and address of such shareholder as it appears on the Company’s books; provided, however, that if the shareholder is not a registered holder of the Company’s common stock, the shareholder should submit their name and address along with a current written statement from the record holder of the shares that reflects ownership of the Company’s common stock; and
5.
A statement disclosing whether such shareholder is acting with or on behalf of any other person and, if applicable, the identity of such person.
In order for a director candidate to be considered for nomination at the Company’s annual meeting of shareholders, the recommendation must be received by the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee at least 120 calendar days before the date the Company’s proxy statement was released to shareholders in connection with the previous year’s annual meeting, advanced by one year. The Company has not received any recommendations from shareholders for director candidates to be considered for election at the Company’s 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
Board Risk Oversight
The Board oversees the Company’s risk profile and management’s processes for assessing and managing risk, both as a whole board and through its committees. At least annually, the Board reviews strategic risks and opportunities facing the company and certain of its businesses. Other important categories of risk are assigned to designated Board committees that report back to the full Board. In general, the committees oversee the following risks:
Audit Committee

Accounting and Financial Reporting

Compliance with Legal and Regulatory Requirements Related to Accounting and Financial Reporting
Compensation Committee

Compensation Programs

Talent Acquisition, Retention and Development
Corporate Governance/​Nominating Committee

Governance Policies and Procedures

Board Organization and Membership

Committee Membership and Periodic Rotation of Chairpersons
Risk Management & Capital Committee

Credit Risk

Interest Rate Risk

Liquidity and Capital Risk

Operational and Strategic Risk

Cyber-security
Regulatory & Compliance Committee

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Information Security
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Corporate Governance
Code of Business Conduct and Anonymous Reporting Line Policy
The Company has adopted a Code of Business Conduct that is designed to promote the highest standards of ethical conduct by the Company’s directors, executive officers and employees. The Code of Business Conduct, sets forth the ethical rules and standards by which all employees, officers and directors of the Company and its subsidiaries must conduct themselves, and addresses, among other things, conflicts of interest, the treatment of confidential information, general employee conduct and compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. The Code of Business Conduct, which also strictly prohibits harassment of any kind in the workplace, is designed to deter wrongdoing and promote honest and ethical conduct, the avoidance of conflicts of interest, a zero tolerance culture and safe environment free from harassment of any kind, full and accurate disclosure and compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Paired with the Code of Business Conduct, the Company has also adopted a related Anonymous Reporting Line (also known as the Whistleblower Reporting Line) Policy, under which the Audit Committee maintains and monitors an anonymous “whistleblower” reporting hotline service that all Berkshire personnel are encouraged to use for reporting actual or potential wrongdoing, apparent or suspected violations of the Code of Business Conduct, or other misconduct by any corporate actors. Both the Code of Business Conduct and the Anonymous Reporting Line Policy are reviewed and acknowledged annually by all of Berkshire’s directors, officers and employees, and both are written and implemented to insure that no retaliation is permitted against any Company personnel who report an incident of harassment or any other misconduct in good faith. Copies of the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Anonymous Reporting Line (Whistleblower Reporting Line) Policy are available in the Governance Documents portion of the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website (ir.berkshirebank.com).
Anti-Hedging and Pledging Restriction Policy
The Company discourages the practices of hedging and/or pledging of Company common stock by officers and directors, and has policies relating to such practices. Pursuant to the Company’s insider trading policy and stock ownership guidelines, officers and directors of the Company are prohibited from engaging in any hedging transactions (which include short sale transactions, purchases of Company common stock on margin, and buying or selling any puts, calls or other options that have the effect of reducing the economic exposure to the shares of common stock). In addition, officers and directors are discouraged from pledging company securities as collateral for margin purchases or a loan. However, exceptions to this pledging limitation may be granted, if good cause is shown.
Elimination of Residency Requirement for Board Eligibility
In 2017, the Board of Directors removed a previous requirement in the Company’s bylaws that Board members reside at the time of their appointment in a county where a branch of Berkshire Bank is located, or in a county adjacent to such a county. Although this prior restriction on eligibility to serve specifically allowed the Board to grant exceptions in the case of otherwise qualified and eligible Board nominees, the Board determined that eliminating this eligibility requirement altogether was important to allow the Board to reach and consider the broadest, most diverse pool of potential new directors as openings on the Board arise.
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Director Compensation
Director Compensation
The Company uses a combination of cash and restricted stock to attract and retain qualified candidates to serve on the Board. Restricted stock grants are intended to align directors’ interests with those of the Company’s shareholders. The Compensation and Corporate Governance/Nominating Committees review director compensation and benefits annually and make recommendations to the Board. The following table provides the compensation received by individuals who served as directors (except for Mr. Daly, whose compensation is reported in the Summary Compensation Table) of the Company during the 2017 fiscal year. The stock award amounts in 2017 were unchanged from the prior year. Mr. Daly does not receive separate compensation for his service on the Board.
Name
Fees Earned or
Paid in Cash
($)
Stock
Awards
($)(1)
Option
Awards
($)
All Other
Compensation
($)(2)
Total
($)
Paul T. Bossidy 66,000 35,000 814 101,814
David M. Brunelle*
Robert M. Curley 59,000 35,000 105,653(3) 199,653
John B. Davies 62,000 35,000 1,985 98,985
J. Williar Dunlaevy 59,000 35,000 2,099(4) 96,099
Cornelius D. Mahoney 59,000 35,000 1,985 95,985
Pamela A. Massad*
Laurie Norton Moffatt 56,000 35,000 1,985 92,985
Richard J. Murphy 59,000 35,000 1,985 95,985
William J. Ryan 82,000 35,000 1,814 118,814
Patrick J. Sheehan 56,000 35,000 168 91,168
D. Jeffrey Templeton 56,000 35,000 1,985 92,985
*
Appointed to the Board of Directors on December 8, 2017.
(1)
Represents the grant date fair value of the restricted stock awards which has been computed in accordance with the stock based accounting rules under FASB ASC Topic 718. Amounts shown are the aggregate grant date fair value of restricted stock awards, with the grant date fair value based on the closing price of the Company’s common stock on the applicable grant date. See Note 19 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the Year Ended December 31, 2017. Since January 30, 2004, no stock options have been granted to any directors. As of December 31, 2017, directors (except for Mr. Daly, whose compensation is reported in the Summary Compensation Table below) had the following number of unvested shares of restricted stock and stock options outstanding:
Name
Unvested
Restricted
Stock
Stock Options
Outstanding
Paul T. Bossidy 2,228
David M. Brunelle
Robert M. Curley 2,293
John B. Davies 2,293
J. Williar Dunlaevy 2,293
Cornelius D. Mahoney 2,293
Pamela A. Massad
Laurie Norton Moffatt 2,293
Richard L. Murphy 2,293
William J. Ryan 2,293
Patrick J. Sheehan 1,825
D. Jeffrey Templeton 2,293
(2)
Reflects dividends paid when restricted stock becomes vested.
(3)
The total amount included in “All Other Compensation” reflects Mr. Curley’s salary in the amount of  $100,000 as Chairman of the New York region of Berkshire Bank and club dues of  $3,668.
(4)
Includes $114 in imputed income on split dollar insurance recognized by Mr. Dunlaevy.
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Proposal 1: Election of Directors  • Director Compensation
Retainers for Non-Employee Directors. The following table sets forth the applicable retainers that will be paid to our non-employee directors for their service on our Board of Directors during 2018.
Annual Cash Retainer for Board Service $ 40,000
Annual Cash Retainer for Chairman of the Board of Directors $ 90,000
Annual Equity Retainer for Board Service $ 35,000
Annual Cash Retainer for Audit Committee Chair $ 10,000
Annual Cash Retainer for all other Committee Chairs $ 6,000
Annual Cash Retainer for Attendance at all Committee Meetings $ 8,000
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Proposal 2:
Amendment to Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the
Company’s Authorized Common Stock from 50 Million to 100 Million Shares
The Board of Directors recommends approval of the proposal to increase the number of shares of authorized common stock from 50,000,000 to 100,000,000.
Background. The proposal to increase the number of shares of common stock that Berkshire is authorized to issue is intended to provide continued availability to the Company of authorized common shares that can be used for possible acquisitions, to support business growth, for employee benefit programs, and for general corporate purposes that the Board determines are in the best interest of the Company and its shareholders.
The last time that shareholders were asked to approve an increase in authorized common shares was in April 2011, when they approved an increase from 26 million to 50 million authorized shares. Since March 2011, outstanding shares have grown by 31 million to 45 million shares outstanding. This share growth has supported a 300% increase in total assets to $11.6 billion from $2.9 billion in March 2011. The Company has been judicious in its use of authorized shares and the previous increase has been instrumental in the growth that the Company has experienced.
Berkshire’s strategy includes growth by acquisition as a regional acquirer. The Company targets to issue common shares as the major element of merger consideration in order to best reflect the merger benefits of the combined franchises. Since March 2011, Berkshire has acquired seven banks, which contributed $6.2 billion in new assets and resulted in the issuance of 24 million new common shares. Share issuances over this time have also been used to provide capital support for growth and in equity compensation plans, as well as consideration paid for the acquisition of non-bank companies and operations.
Additional Information. As of the record date, the Company has 45,373,126 shares of common stock outstanding. Based on the potential conversion of preferred stock as discussed in Proposal 3 and the reserved shares under the existing equity incentive plans and the proposed 2018 Equity Incentive Plan included as Proposal 4, the Company would have only approximately 2.14 million unreserved shares available for issuance under the current authorization, which is insufficient for the corporate purposes demonstrated by the Company in this discussion.
Current authorized shares of Common Stock 50,000,000
Shares outstanding as of March 22, 2018 45,373,126
Shares reserved for preferred stock conversion 1,044,000
Shares reserved for existing and proposed equity incentive plans 1,446,801*
Shares outstanding and reserved 47,863,927
Shares available for issuance (pre-increase of authorized) 2,136,073
Shares available for issuance (post-increase of authorized) 52,136,073
*
Does not include immaterial, contingent stock obligations under commercial contracts entered into by the Bank.
An increase in the number of the Company’s authorized common shares is important to avoid the risks that the Company might need to change its strategies, might be unable to respond to market opportunities, and might have less capacity as a source of strength for the Bank as set forth in federal regulation. The current share authorization is no longer sufficient for the Company’s purposes. Without an increase, the Company will be unable to continue to acquire banks with common stock consideration as it has in recent years.
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Proposal 2: Amendment to Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the
Company’s Authorized Common Stock from 50 Million to 100 Million Shares  
The Board believes it is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders to have a sufficient number of additional shares of common stock available for issuance from time to time, as the occasion may arise, for future financing and acquisition transactions, to permit stock dividends or stock splits at some future date, to fund employee benefit plans and for other proper corporate purposes. As a bank holding company subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve Board, the availability of authorized shares also supports the Company’s strength as a source of support to the Bank, which is an important factor in the Federal Reserve Board’s assessment of the Company and support for its initiatives to grow and strengthen the organization. The Company presently has no specific plans to issue the shares of common stock that will become newly authorized upon amendment of the Certificate.
Proposal Logistics. The Board of Directors has adopted a resolution to amend Berkshires Certificate of Incorporation, which we sometimes refer to as the “Certificate,” to increase the number of shares of common stock that the Company is authorized to issue from 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 shares. This amendment is for general corporate purposes. Under the Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws and Delaware law, approval of the amendment of Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation requires a vote “FOR” the amendment by a majority of the outstanding Common Stock entitled to vote thereof.
The Company’s current Certificate of Incorporation is available on the Investor Relations tab of our website at ir.berkshirebank.com.
Rights. The additional shares of common stock to be authorized after the amendment to the Certificate would have rights identical to the currently outstanding shares, except for effects incidental to increasing the number of outstanding shares, such as the dilution of current shareholders’ ownership and voting interests when shares are issued. Under our Certificate, our shareholders do not have preemptive rights with respect to our common stock. Thus, should our Board elect to issue additional shares of common stock, existing shareholders would not have a preferential right to purchase shares of common stock.
Possible Anti-Takeover Effects of the Amendment. This amendment is not being recommended in response to any specific effort of which our Board is aware to obtain control of the Company by means of a merger, tender offer, solicitation, or otherwise, and our Board does not intend or view the proposed increase in authorized common stock as an anti-takeover measure. However, the ability of our Board to approve the issuance of new common shares authorized by this amendment could have the effect of discouraging or preventing a hostile takeover.
Form of Amendment. In addition to this Proposal 2, we are also recommending Proposal 3 to increase the number of authorized preferred shares. If both Proposal 2 and Proposal 3 are approved, the form of the amendment that will be adopted is attached as Appendix B. The form of the amendment that will be adopted if only Proposal 2, and not Proposal 3, is approved by shareholders is attached as Appendix C to this Proxy Statement.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT SHAREHOLDERS VOTE “FOR” PROPOSAL 2.
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Proposal 3:
Amendment to Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the Company’s
Authorized Preferred Stock from 1 Million to 2 Million Shares
The Board of Directors recommends approval of the proposal to increase the number of shares of authorized preferred stock from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000.
Background. The number of shares of preferred stock that Berkshire is authorized to issue has remained at 1,000,000 shares since the Company was formed in 2000. In October 2017, 522,000 shares of Series B Non-Voting Preferred Stock were issued by the Company to be used for merger consideration for Berkshire’s acquisition of Commerce Bancshares Corp. At the present time, the Company’s outstanding preferred stock is only 3% of its total shareholders’ equity. Due to the Company’s size and growth, it is likely that we may encounter another acquisition situation, or other strategic business opportunities, for which the ability to issue preferred stock may be an important option for the Company to consider. In certain markets and circumstances, it may be in the interest of common shareholders for the Company to increase the percentage of its shareholders’ equity that is in the form of preferred stock. In the previous issuances of preferred stock, timing was critical and timing may also be critical for future issuances.
Additional Information. As of the date of this proxy statement, the Company has outstanding 522,000 shares of its preferred stock designated as the Series B Non-Voting Preferred Stock, leaving 478,000 authorized unissued shares in reserve.
Current authorized shares of Preferred Stock(1) 1,000,000
Series B Non-Voting Preferred Shares outstanding as of March 22, 2018(2) 522,000
Shares available for issuance (pre-increase of authorized) 478,000
Shares available for issuance (post-increase of authorized) 1,478,000
(1)
In addition to the Series B preferred stock currently outstanding, the Company previously conducted one other private issuance of 40,000 shares of Series A Preferred Stock for general corporate purposes in 2008, which were subsequently redeemed and returned to the Company’s original pool of 1,000,000 available authorized preferred shares.
(2)
Under limited circumstances, each share of outstanding Series B preferred stock is convertible into two shares of common stock.
An increase in the number of the Company’s authorized preferred shares is important to avoid the risks that the Company might need to change its strategies, might be unable to respond to market opportunities, or might have less capacity as a source of strength for the Bank as set forth in federal regulation.
The Board believes it is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders to double the Company’s number of authorized preferred shares to provide maximum flexibility as it structures future capital raising transactions, strategic asset acquisitions and/or business combinations. This authorization will allow the board to authorize share issuances to take advantage of market conditions and favorable opportunities involving the issuance of our preferred stock without the risk of delay and expense associated with the holding of a special shareholder meeting. As a bank holding company subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve Board, the availability of authorized shares supports the Company’s strength as a source of support to the Bank, which is an important factor in the Federal Reserve Board’s assessment of the Company and support for its initiatives to grow and strengthen the organization. The Company presently has no specific plans to issue the shares of preferred stock that will become newly authorized upon amendment of the Certificate.
Proposal Logistics. The Board of Directors has adopted a resolution to amend Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to increase the number of shares of Preferred Stock that the Company is authorized to issue from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 shares. This amendment is for general corporate purposes. Under Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws and Delaware law, approval of the amendment of Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation requires a vote “FOR” the amendment by a majority of the outstanding Common Stock entitled to vote thereof.
The Company’s current Certificate of Incorporation is available on the Investor Relations tab of our website at ir.berkshirebank.com.
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Proposal 3: Amendment to Berkshire’s Certificate of Incorporation to Increase the
Company’s Authorized Preferred Stock from 1 Million to 2 Million Shares
Rights. The rights and preferences of any future series of preferred stock which the Board may designate are presently unknown, it is not possible to determine what effect the issuance of such future shares of preferred stock may have on existing shareholders. We may issue shares of capital stock to the extent such shares have been authorized under our Certificate, and to the extent allowed by law, regulation, and stock exchange rules. The Board may issue authorized shares of preferred stock with designations, rights and preferences as may be determined from time to time by our Board of Directors.
Possible Anti-Takeover Effects of the Amendment. Our Certificate of Incorporation, both presently and as proposed to be amended, authorizes the issuance of shares of  “blank check” preferred stock with designations, rights and preferences as may be determined from time to time by our Board of Directors. Our Board is empowered, without shareholder approval, to issue a series of preferred stock with dividend, liquidation, conversion, voting or other rights which could dilute the interest of, or impair the voting power of, our common shareholders. The issuance of a series of preferred stock could be used as a method of discouraging, delaying or preventing a change in control. For example, it would be possible for our Board of Directors to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to effect a change in control of our company. Therefore, approval of the proposed amendment, and the designation and issuance of future series of preferred stock, could assist the Company in delaying or preventing unsolicited takeovers and changes in control or changes in our management. However, the proposed amendment to our Certificate is not being recommended in response to any specific effort of which our Board is aware to obtain control of the Company by means of a merger, tender offer, solicitation, or otherwise, and our Board does not intend or view the proposed amendment as an anti-takeover measure.
Form of Amendment. If both Proposal 2 and Proposal 3 are approved, the form of the amendment that will be adopted is attached as Appendix B to this Proxy Statement. The form of amendment that will be adopted if only Proposal 3, and not Proposal 2, is approved by shareholders is attached as Appendix D to this Proxy Statement.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT SHAREHOLDERS VOTE “FOR” PROPOSAL 3.
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Proposal 4:
Approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
2018 Equity Incentive Plan
The Board of Directors recommends approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan.
Overview. The Board of Directors has adopted, subject to shareholder approval, the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan (the “Plan”) to provide additional incentives for our officers, employees and directors to promote our growth and performance and to further align their interests with those of our shareholders. By approving the Plan, shareholders will give the Company the flexibility it needs to continue to attract, motivate and retain highly qualified officers, employees and directors by offering a competitive compensation program that is linked to the performance of our common stock.
As of March 22, 2018, approximately 300,000 shares* of the Company’s common stock remained eligible for issuance under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan. Given our growth and historical grant rates, the remaining shares are insufficient to cover out anticipated grants in future years. Upon shareholder approval of the Plan, no additional awards will be available under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan.
The Company is asking shareholders to authorize 1 million shares of the Company’s common stock for award issuance, a level that the Company believes, based on current grant practices and plan design, will be sufficient to cover awards for up to five years following shareholder approval.
Why We Are Seeking Approval of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan

We Believe Equity-Based Compensation is Important. Our long-term equity incentive awards are designed to align our officers, employees and directors with the long-term interests of the Company and our shareholders. The program also seeks to reward superior multi-year performance, encourage stock ownership, and enhance our ability to retain top performers.

We Have Limited Capacity to Make Awards under our Existing Equity Plans. The remaining shares available for grant under our current equity plan, the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan, are, at historical grant rates, insufficient to cover our anticipated grants to be made in future years. Accordingly, we have no meaningful way to provide tailored equity-based compensation grants to attract, retain and reward qualified personnel and management.

Our Competitors Offer Equity-Based Compensation. Most institutions with which we compete have the ability to attract and retain employees and management with equity-based compensation programs. Without the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, we will be at a significant disadvantage.
*
Includes April 1, 2018 performance grants made to eligible non-executive employees
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Proposal 4: Approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan  
Governance Highlights of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan
Minimum Vesting Requirements

The Plan requires a one-year minimum vesting period for at least 95% of the awards granted there.
Double-Trigger Required for Vesting on Change in Control

The Plan does not provide for vesting of time-based equity awards based solely on the occurrence of a change in control, without an accompanying involuntary termination of service (including a termination for good reason) or the failure of an acquirer to assume the awards.

Performance awards will vest, if at all, on a pro-rata basis on the portion of the plan year occurring and at the actual level of the performance measures that have been achieved; or that if the performance measurements are not reasonably determinable, the performance awards will vest pro-rata at target.
Limits on Grants to Directors

The maximum number of shares of Company stock, in the aggregate, that may be subject to stock options, restricted stock awards or restricted stock units granted to any one individual non-employee director during any calendar year shall not have a value of greater than $100,000 as of the grant date(s).
Limits on Grants to Employees

An employee may not receive more than 150,000 stock options during any calendar year. The maximum number of restricted stock awards, restricted stock units or performance awards, in the aggregate, granted during any calendar year to an employee shall not have a value greater than $2,000,000 as of the grant date(s).
Dividends on Unvested Awards Not Paid Until Vesting

The Plan provides that dividends on unvested awards shall be paid to participants only after the underlying awards vest and not during the performance or service vesting period.
Awards Subject to Clawback

Awards granted under the Plan are subject to clawback if the Company is required to prepare an accounting restatement due to material noncompliance of the Company as a result of applicable financial misconduct. Awards may also be subject to clawback under any clawback policy adopted by the Company.
No Cash-Out or Repricing of Underwater Options

Under no circumstances will any underwater stock options be bought back by the Company. In addition, neither the Compensation Committee nor the Board of Directors have the authority to reduce the exercise price of a previously granted stock option under the Plan.
Share Reserve

The maximum number of shares of stock, in the aggregate, that may be granted under the Plan as stock options, restricted stock and restricted stock units is 1,000,000, plus the number of shares of stock which have been reserved but not issued under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan and any awards that are forfeited under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan after the effective date of the Plan.
Share Counting

The Plan provides that, if an award is forfeited or expires, the shares covered by the award will be available for future grant while shares withheld to cover taxes or to satisfy the exercise price of stock options will not be available for future grant.
Key Considerations. We have designed the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan to meet our strategic and competitive needs, while conforming to responsible and commercially reasonable estimates for resulting plan metrics and impacts. The Compensation Committee was assisted by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC in the analysis of current trends, competitive practices, and investor attitudes relating to various aspects of the Plan, including number of shares authorized, dilution and burn rates, and usage of equity for long-term incentive awards.
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Proposal 4: Approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan  

Burn Rate. Burn rate measures the speed at which companies use shares available for grant in their equity compensation plans, and is calculated by dividing the gross number of equity awards granted in a given year by the weighted average common shares outstanding. Our 3-year average burn rate is 1.92%, which is well within reasonable industry norms.

Overhang. Overhang measures the dilutive impact of equity programs and is calculated by dividing the number of equity awards outstanding plus the number of shares available to be granted by total shares of common stock outstanding at year end. The additional 1 million shares being requested in this proposal would bring our overhang to 5.3%, which we believe is well within industry norms.
Proposal Logistics. In order for the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan to take effect, this proposal requires a vote “FOR” the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan by a majority of the votes of shares of Common Stock cast. If the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan is approved by shareholders, no further grants will be made under the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2013 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2013 Equity Incentive Plan”); however, currently outstanding grants under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan will not be affected. A copy of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan is attached as Appendix E.
Material Features of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan
The following is a summary of the material features of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, which is qualified in its entirety by reference to the provisions of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, attached hereto as Appendix E.
Shares Reserved; Overall Limits on Types of Grants; Share Counting Methodology

Subject to permitted adjustments for certain corporate transactions, the Plan authorizes the issuance or delivery to participants of up to 1,000,000 shares of the Company’s common stock plus the number of shares of stock which have been reserved but not issued under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan, which is estimated to be approximately 300,000, and any awards that are forfeited under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan after the effective date of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan pursuant to grants of restricted stock, restricted stock units, stock options, including incentive stock options and non-qualified stock options, any of which may vest based either on the passage of time or achievement of performance, or a combination of each.

Upon shareholder approval of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, no new grants shall be made under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan. Any shares of stock which have been reserved but not issued under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan and any forfeitures of outstanding awards under the 2013 Equity Incentive Plan shall be added to the shares available to be issued under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan.

The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan does not use liberal share recycling with respect to determining the number of shares available for issuance thereunder. Accordingly, to the extent (i) a stock option is exercised by using an actual or constructive exchange of shares of stock to pay the exercise price, (ii) shares of stock are withheld to satisfy withholding taxes upon exercise or vesting of an award, or (iii) shares are withheld to satisfy the exercise price of stock options in a net settlement, the number of shares of stock available under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan shall be reduced by the gross number of stock options or stock awards exercised or vested rather than by the net number of shares of stock issued.

The rights and benefits with respect to an award will be subject to reduction, cancellation, forfeiture or recoupment upon termination of employment for cause.
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Proposal 4: Approval of the Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan  
Limitations on Awards to Employees and Directors
The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan includes the following limitations:

An employee may not receive more than 150,000 stock options during any calendar year;

The maximum number of restricted stock awards, restricted stock units or performance awards that may be granted during any calendar year to an employee shall be a number equal to the quotient of (i) $2,000,000 divided by (ii) the fair market value of a share of Company stock on the date of grant;

The maximum number of shares of Company stock, in the aggregate, that may be subject to stock options, restricted stock awards or restricted stock units granted to any one individual Non-Employee Director during any calendar year shall be a number equal to the quotient of  (i) $100,000 divided by (ii) the fair market value (on the date of grant) of a share of Company stock for a grant of restricted stock awards or restricted stock units or, for stock options, the fair value (on the date of grant) as determined under applicable accounting standards;

To the extent any shares of stock covered by an award (including restricted stock awards and restricted stock units) under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan are not delivered to a participant or beneficiary because the award is forfeited or canceled or because a stock option is not exercised, then such shares shall not be deemed to have been delivered for purposes of determining the maximum number of shares of stock available for delivery under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan; and

In the event of a corporate transaction involving the stock of the Company, such as a stock dividend or a stock split, the share limitations and all outstanding awards will be adjusted proportionally and uniformly to reflect such event.
Eligibility
Officers, employees and directors of the Company or its subsidiaries are eligible to receive awards under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, except that only officers and employees may be granted incentive stock options.
Types of Awards
The Compensation Committee may determine the type and terms and conditions of awards under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, which shall be set forth in an award agreement delivered to each participant. Each award shall be subject to conditions established by the Compensation Committee that are set forth in the recipient’s award agreement, and shall be subject to vesting conditions and restrictions as determined by the Compensation Committee. Awards may be granted as incentive and non-qualified stock options, restricted stock awards or restricted stock units any of which may vest based either on the passage of time or achievement of performance, as follows:
Restricted Stock. A restricted stock award is a grant of shares of our common stock to a participant for no consideration or such minimum consideration as may be required by applicable law.

Restricted stock awards may be granted only in whole shares of common stock.

Prior to vesting, recipients of a restricted stock award are entitled to vote the shares of restricted stock during the restricted period.

No dividends on unvested restricted stock awards, whether subject to a time-based vesting schedule or performance-based vesting conditions, will be paid to the participant that has been granted the restricted stock award unless and until the participant vests in the restricted stock award.
Stock Options. A stock option is the right to purchase shares of common stock at a specified price for a specified period of time.

In the event of a corporate transaction involving the stock of the Company, such as a stock dividend or a stock split, the share limitations and all outstanding awards will be adjusted proportionally and uniformly to reflect such event.
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The exercise price may not be less than the fair market value of a share of our common stock (which is defined as the closing sales price on the exchange on which the stock is traded) on the date the stock option is granted.

The Compensation Committee may not grant a stock option with a term that is longer than 10 years.

Stock options are either “incentive” stock options or “non-qualified” stock options. Incentive stock options have certain tax advantages that are not available to non-qualified stock options, and must comply with the requirements of Section 422 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended (the “Code”). Only officers and employees are eligible to receive incentive stock options. Outside directors and service providers may only receive non-qualified stock options under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan.

Shares of common stock purchased upon the exercise of a stock option must be paid for at the time of exercise either (i) by tendering, either actually or constructively by attestation, shares of stock valued at fair market value as of the date of exercise; (ii) by irrevocably authorizing a third party, acceptable to the Compensation Committee, to sell shares of stock (or a sufficient portion of the shares) acquired upon exercise of the stock option and to remit to the Company a sufficient portion of the sale proceeds to pay the entire exercise price and any tax withholding resulting from such exercise; (iii) by a net settlement of the stock option, using a portion of the shares obtained on exercise in payment of the exercise price of the stock option (and if applicable, any required tax withholding); (iv) by personal, certified or cashier’s check; (v) by other property deemed acceptable by the Compensation Committee; or (vi) by any combination thereof.

The Compensation Committee may automatically exercise in-the-money stock options that are exercisable but unexercised as of the day immediately before the 10th anniversary of the date of grant, using net settlement as the method of exercising such options.

Under no circumstances will the Company buy back underwater stock options granted under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan without shareholder approval.

The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan expressly prohibits repricing of stock options without shareholder approval.
Restricted Stock Units. Restricted stock units may be denominated in shares of common stock and are similar to restricted stock awards except that no shares of common stock are actually issued to the award recipient at the time of grant of a restricted stock unit.

Restricted stock units granted under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan may be settled in shares of our common stock, or in the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee determined at the time of final settlement in cash or a combination of cash and our common stock, subject to vesting conditions and other restrictions set forth in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan or the award agreement.

Participants have no voting rights with respect to any restricted stock units granted under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan.

In the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee, exercised at the time of grant, dividend equivalent rights may be paid on restricted stock units. Dividend equivalent rights shall be paid when the restricted stock unit, including restricted stock units subject to performance-based vesting conditions, vests or is settled, or at the same time as the shares subject to such restricted stock unit are distributed to the participant.
Performance Features
General. A federal income tax deduction for the Company will generally be unavailable for annual compensation in excess of  $1.0 million paid to each of its chief executive officer and four other executive officers (including its chief financial officer) named in the Company’s annual proxy statement. Compensation resulting from awards under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will be counted toward the $1.0 million limit.
Performance Awards. A performance award is an award, the vesting of which is subject to the achievement of one or more performance conditions specified by the Compensation Committee and set forth in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. A performance award may be denominated in shares of restricted stock or restricted stock units.
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Performance Measures. The performance measures that may be used for such awards may be based on any one or more of the following performance measures or such other measurements in the sole discretion of the Compensation Committee: basic earnings per share; basic cash earnings per share; diluted earnings per share; core earnings per share; diluted cash earnings per share; net income or core net income; cash earnings or dividend generation; net interest income; non-interest income; general and administrative expense to average assets ratio; cash general and administrative expense to average assets ratio; efficiency ratio; cash efficiency ratio; return on average assets or return on assets; return on tangible average assets or return on tangible assets; core return on average assets; cash return on average assets; return on average stockholders’ equity (total, common or preferred); cash return on average stockholders’ equity; core return on stockholders’ equity; return on average tangible stockholders’ equity; cash return on average tangible stockholders’ equity; core earnings; operating income; operating efficiency; core operating efficiency ratio; net interest margin (which may be with purchased loan accretion and FTE adjustments); growth in assets, loans (including home equity lines of credit), or deposits; loan production volume; non-performing loans, non-accruing loans to total loans, non-accruing and delinquent loans to total loans, all loans to total loans; cash flow; capital preservation (core or risk-based); interest rate risk exposure-net portfolio value; interest rate risk-sensitivity; liquidity parameters, loans to deposits, excess borrowing capacity; strategic business objectives, consisting of one or more objectives based upon meeting specified cost targets, business/product expansion goals, and goals relating to acquisitions or divestitures, or goals relating to capital raising and capital management; stock price (including, but not limited to, growth measures and total shareholder return); operating expense as a percentage of average assets; core deposits as a percentage of total deposits; net charge-off percentage; average percentage past due; classified assets to total assets; compliance/audit exam findings; capital ratio, total capital to risk-weighted assets, common equity tier 1 to risk weighted assets, tier 1 capital to risk weighted assets, tier 1 capital to assets; management achievement of strategic plan goals; system knowledge and utilization of core applications; customer service survey; expense management; asset quality; book value per share; tangible book value per share; non-performing loans to loans; non-performing assets to assets; net-charge off to average loans; fee income to net interest and fee income; fee income to revenue; total revenue; yield to cost by product; yield to cost by asset/liability class; net interest spread; cost of funds; dividend payout ratio; or any combination of the foregoing.
Performance measures may be based on the performance of the Company as a whole or of any one or more subsidiaries or business units. Performance goals may be measured relative to a peer group, an index or a business plan and may be considered as absolute measures or changes in measures. In establishing the performance measures, the Compensation Committee may provide for the inclusion or exclusion of certain items.
Vesting of Awards

The Compensation Committee shall specify the vesting schedule or conditions of each award.

At least 95% of all awards made under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan shall be subject to a vesting requirement of at least one year of service following the grant of the award.

Vesting of awards may be accelerated upon death, disability (is defined in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan) or Involuntary Termination of employment after a Change in Control (as defined in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan).

Vesting is not accelerated upon “retirement” (as defined in the Plan).
Change in Control
The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan uses a double trigger change in control feature, providing for an acceleration of vesting upon an involuntary termination of employment simultaneous with or following a change in control. If an acquiring corporation fails to assume awards granted under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan (other than performance-based awards, addressed below), such awards will vest immediately upon the effective time of a change in control.
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Unless otherwise stated in an award agreement, at the time of an involuntary termination following a change in control, all stock options then held by the participant shall become fully earned and exercisable (subject to the expiration provisions otherwise applicable to the stock option). All stock options may be exercised for a period of one year following the participant’s involuntary termination, provided, however, that no stock option shall be eligible for treatment as an incentive stock option in the event such stock option is exercised more than three months following involuntary termination.

At the time of an involuntary termination following a change in control, all awards of restricted stock and restricted stock units shall become earned and fully vested immediately.

In the event of a change in control, performance awards will vest, if at all, pro-rata based on the portion of the plan year occurring and at the actual level of the performance measures that have been achieved; however, if the performance measurements are not reasonably determinable as of the date of a change in control, the performance awards will vest pro-rata at target.
Awards Subject to Clawback Policy
Awards granted under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan are subject to clawback if the Company is required to prepare an accounting restatement due to material noncompliance of the Company, as a result of misconduct with any financial reporting requirement under the federal securities laws and the forfeiture provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 apply. Awards may also be subject to clawback under any other clawback policy adopted by the Company from time to time.
Plan Administration
The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will be administered by the Compensation Committee, all of whom are “Disinterested Board Members,” as defined therein. The Compensation Committee has power within the limitations set forth in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan to make all decisions and determinations regarding the selection of participants and the granting of awards; establishing the terms and conditions relating to each award; adopting rules, regulations and guidelines for carrying out the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan’s purposes; and interpreting and otherwise construing the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. The Board of Directors (or those members of the Board of Directors who are “independent directors” under the corporate governance statutes or rules of any national securities exchange on which we list our securities) may, in its discretion, take any action and exercise any power, privilege or discretion conferred on the Compensation Committee under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan as if done or exercised by the Compensation Committee. The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan also permits the Board of Directors or the Compensation Committee to designate a separate committee, composed of one or more senior executive officers of the Company, to make awards to employees who generally are not executive officers within the parameters specified by the Board of Directors or Compensation Committee.
Approval of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan by the shareholders authorizes the Compensation Committee to determine the number of shares to be granted to non-employee directors, executives and employees, subject to the individual limitations in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan as set forth therein and discussed above.
Amendment and Termination
The Board of Directors may, as permitted by law, at any time, amend or terminate the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan or any award granted thereunder. However, except as provided in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, no amendment or termination may adversely impair the rights of an outstanding award without the participant’s (or affected beneficiary’s) written consent. The Board of Directors may not amend the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan to allow repricing of a stock option, materially increase the aggregate number of securities that may be issued under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan (other than as provided therein), materially increase the benefits accruing to a participant, or materially modify the requirements for participation in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan, without approval of shareholders. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Board may, without shareholder approval, amend the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan at any time, retroactively or otherwise, to ensure that the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan complies with current or future law
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and the Board of Directors may unilaterally amend the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan and any outstanding award, without participant consent, in order to conform to any changes in the law or any accounting pronouncement or interpretation thereof.
Duration of 2018 Equity Incentive Plan
The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will become effective upon approval by the shareholders at this meeting. The 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will remain in effect as long as any awards under it are outstanding; however, no awards may be granted under the Plan on or after the day immediately prior to the 10-year anniversary of the effective date of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. At any time, the Board of Directors may terminate the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. However, any termination of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will not affect outstanding awards.
Federal Income Tax Considerations
The following is a summary of the federal income tax consequences that may arise in conjunction with participation in the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan.
Non-Qualified Stock Options. The grant of a non-qualified stock option will not result in taxable income to the participant. Except as described below, the participant will realize ordinary income at the time of exercise in an amount equal to the excess of the fair market value of the shares acquired over the exercise price for those shares, and we will be entitled to a corresponding deduction for tax purposes. Gains or losses realized by the participant upon disposition of such shares will be treated as capital gains and losses, with the basis in such shares equal to the fair market value of the shares at the time of exercise.
Incentive Stock Options. The grant of an incentive stock option will not result in taxable income to the participant. The exercise of an incentive stock option will not result in taxable income to the participant provided the participant was, without a break in service, an employee of the Company or a subsidiary during the period beginning on the date of the grant of the option and ending on the date three months prior to the date of exercise (one year prior to the date of exercise if the participant is disabled, as that term is defined in the Code). We will not be entitled to a tax deduction upon the exercise of an incentive stock option.
The excess of the fair market value of the shares at the time of the exercise of an incentive stock option over the exercise price is an adjustment that is included in the calculation of the participant’s alternative minimum taxable income for the tax year in which the incentive stock option is exercised. For purposes of determining the participant’s alternative minimum tax liability for the year of disposition of the shares acquired pursuant to the incentive stock option exercise, the participant will have a basis in those shares equal to the fair market value of the shares at the time of exercise.
If the participant does not sell or otherwise dispose of the shares within two years from the date of the grant of the incentive stock option or within one year after the exercise of such stock option, then, upon disposition of such shares, any amount realized in excess of the exercise price will be taxed as a capital gain. A capital loss will be recognized to the extent that the amount realized is less than the exercise price. If the foregoing holding period requirements are not met, the participant will generally recognize ordinary income at the time of the disposition of the shares in an amount equal to the lesser of  (i) the excess of the fair market value of the shares on the date of exercise over the exercise price, or (ii) the excess, if any, of the amount realized upon disposition of the shares over the exercise price, and we will be entitled to a corresponding deduction. If the amount realized exceeds the fair market value of the shares on the date of exercise, any additional amount will be a capital gain. If the amount realized at the time of disposition is less than the exercise price, the participant will recognize no income, and a capital loss will be recognized equal to the excess of the exercise price over the amount realized upon the disposition of the shares.
Restricted Stock. A participant who has been granted a restricted stock award will not realize taxable income at the time of grant, provided that the stock subject to the award is not delivered at the time of grant, or if the stock is delivered, it is subject to restrictions that constitute a “substantial risk of forfeiture” for federal income tax purposes. Upon the later of delivery or vesting of shares subject to an award, the
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holder will realize ordinary income in an amount equal to the then fair market value of those shares and we will be entitled to a corresponding deduction for tax purposes. Gains or losses realized by the participant upon disposition of such shares will be treated as capital gains and losses, with the basis in such shares equal to the fair market value of the shares at the time of delivery or vesting. Dividends paid to the holder will also be compensation income to the participant and we will be entitled to a corresponding deduction for tax purposes. A participant who makes an election under Section 83(b) of the Code will include the full fair market value of the restricted stock award (or portion of the award subject to such election) in taxable income in the year of grant at the grant date fair market value. The Compensation Committee has the right to prohibit participants from making Code Section 83(b) elections.
Restricted Stock Units. A participant who has been granted a restricted stock unit will not realize taxable income at the time of grant and will not be entitled to make an election under Section 83(b) of the Code since no stock is actually transferred to the recipient on the date of grant. At the time a restricted stock unit vests, assuming the award is distributed at that time, the recipient will recognize ordinary income in an amount equal to the fair market value of the common stock or the amount of cash received. If the restricted stock unit is not distributed at the time it vests, no income will be recognized at that time and taxation will be deferred until the value of the restricted stock unit is distributed. At the time the recipient recognizes taxable income on a restricted stock unit, we will be entitled to a corresponding tax deduction in the same amount recognized by the award recipient.
Withholding of Taxes. We may withhold amounts from participants to satisfy withholding tax requirements. Except as otherwise provided by the Compensation Committee, participants may have shares withheld from awards to satisfy tax withholding requirements up to an amount that will not trigger adverse accounting for the Company.
Change in Control. Any acceleration of the vesting or payment of awards under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan in the event of a change in control or termination of service following a change in control may cause part or all of the consideration involved to be treated as an “excess parachute payment” under Section 280G of the Code, which may subject the participant to a 20% excise tax and preclude deduction by the Company.
Deduction Limits. Section 162(m) of the Code generally limits our ability to deduct for tax purposes compensation in excess of  $1.0 million per year for each of our chief executive officer, our chief financial officer and three other executive officers named in the summary compensation table (each, a “covered employee”) of our annual proxy statement. Compensation resulting from awards under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan will be counted toward the $1.0 million limit.
Tax Advice. The preceding discussion is based on federal tax laws and regulations presently in effect, which are subject to change, and the discussion does not purport to be a complete description of the federal income tax aspects of the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. A participant may also be subject to state and local taxes in connection with the grant of awards under the 2018 Equity Incentive Plan.
The summary provides a summary and overview of selected information in the Berkshire Hill’s Bancorp, Inc. 2018 Equity Incentive Plan. We encourage you to read the entire plan, which is attached as Appendix E before voting.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT SHAREHOLDERS VOTE “FOR” PROPOSAL 4.
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Proposal 5:
Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation
The Board of Directors recommends approval of its Named Executive Officer (“NEO”) compensation as set forth herein.
Background. In accordance with Section 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, shareholders are being given the opportunity to vote on an advisory (non-binding) resolution at the annual meeting to approve our executive compensation as described below in the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, compensation tables and narrative discussion of NEO compensation presented in this proxy statement. This proposal, commonly known as a “say-on-pay” proposal, gives shareholders the opportunity to endorse or not endorse the Company’s executive pay program.
The purpose of our compensation policies and procedures is to attract and retain experienced, highly qualified executives critical to the Company’s long-term success and enhancement of shareholder value. The Board of Directors believes the Company’s compensation policies and procedures achieve this objective, and therefore recommend shareholders vote “FOR” the proposal.
“Resolved, that the compensation paid to the Company’s Named Executive Officers, as disclosed in this proxy statement pursuant to Item 402 of Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation S-K, including the Compensation Discussion and Analysis, compensation tables and narrative discussion, is hereby approved.”
Is the Shareholder Vote Binding on the Company? This is an advisory vote only, and neither the Company nor the Board of Directors will be bound to take action based upon the outcome. The Compensation Committee will consider the vote of the shareholders when considering future executive compensation arrangements.
THE BOARD UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT SHAREHOLDERS VOTE “FOR” THIS PROPOSAL.
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Compensation
Discussion and Analysis
In this section we explain our compensation philosophy, describe the material components of our executive compensation program, and review the 2017 compensation decisions for our Named Executive Officers (“NEOs”) listed below. Their compensation is set forth in the Summary Compensation Table and other compensation tables contained in this Proxy Statement. The following Compensation Discussion and Analysis (“CD&A”) focuses on the key factors we believe shareholders should focus on in their evaluation of our “Say-on-Pay” proposal.
Named Executive Officers(1)
Michael P. Daly Chief Executive Officer
James M. Moses Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Richard M. Marotta President
Sean A. Gray Chief Operating Officer
George F. Bacigalupo Senior Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking
(1)
The principal positions listed above represent the titles of each of the Named Executive Officers at Berkshire Bank, the wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. The principal position of each of the Named Executive Officers at Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. is as follows: Mr. Daly is President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Moses is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Marotta is Senior Executive Vice President, Mr. Gray is Senior Executive Vice President, and Mr. Bacigalupo is Executive Vice President.
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Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Executive Summary
Business Overview
Over the last several years we have grown our company through disciplined expansion from $5.5 billion to nearly $12 billion in total assets. Our strategy is to provide big bank products and services with a local bank feel to best meet the needs of our communities. Our culture of excitement values passionate employees who seek to make a difference in the world around them, and we empower those employees to bring that excitement to their customers every day. We are building our long term profitability through positive operating leverage driven by revenue growth and expense discipline. We are developing a valuable franchise that is attractive to our markets and the investment community.
We have made key investments in people and infrastructure, including hiring seasoned lending teams across our market, expanding and upgrading our personnel and systems in compliance, risk and finance, and restructuring our executive team to include more diversity and better engagement and accountability. We moved our headquarters to Boston and added economies of scale by acquiring whole banks within, and adjacent to, our footprint that deepen and expand our market presence. We have refocused and improved the talent of our wealth management and insurance businesses to better serve our customers, and our strategic lines of business have been built out organically and through acquisition, including specialty lending, wholesale banking and residential mortgage banking.
These initiatives have diversified our revenue streams, created efficiencies and improved profitability. They also provide a solid foundation for delivering stronger returns to our shareholders. We now serve more customers across our expanded footprint and are operating greater numbers of business lines in both regional and national markets. By bringing together a strong employee base, a dedicated strategy and operational efficiency, we can continue to offer our customers the products and services they need, our employees an inspirational workplace, our communities the support they seek and our shareholders the returns they deserve.
2017 Highlights
Berkshire had a transformative year in 2017.
Through organic growth and disciplined acquisition, we crossed the $10 billion threshold for total assets and established ourselves as the largest regional bank with corporate headquarters in Boston.
We delivered significant growth, ongoing progress toward our financial goals and the development of new markets and teams.
Our Board of Directors tracks the Company’s performance on GAAP measures, but generally evaluates performance on the basis of non-GAAP core and organic measures which the Company views as most critical to shareholder value. The Board does not view GAAP results in many cases as indicative of business performance and value creation, and excludes net charges not viewed as related to ongoing operations in its evaluation, as shown in Appendix A. Many of these charges relate to the direct and indirect costs of acquisitions, which are central to Berkshire’s strategy; these costs are viewed as part of the merger investment. In 2017, there was also a noncash charge to write-down the deferred tax asset following federal tax reform.
In 2017, GAAP earnings and profitability decreased due to merger charges and tax reform. Core results improved, even as the Company withstood a shifting regulatory landscape while also absorbing the increased regulatory costs of crossing $10 billion in assets.
In 2017 management performed strongly and in several areas exceeded stretch objectives. The Compensation Committee strongly believes that performance and pay were well aligned in a year with transformational strategic accomplishments and exceptional management performance.
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Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
2017 Financial Highlights
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Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Summary Description of 2017 Compensation Results
The table below summarizes the Compensation Committee’s 2017 compensation actions, which were consistent with our long-standing commitment of aligning pay with performance and the interests of our shareholders. For more details on the program design and decisions made in 2017, please see pages 58-68 in this CD&A. For reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, please see Appendix A.
Base Salary

Our competitive guidelines target market median.

No salary adjustments were made for the CEO or the NEOs during the January 2017 annual review process.
Short-Term Incentive Program (STI)

For the 2017 plan, no changes were made to the performance measures (core earnings, core return on assets, expense management, and asset quality), but most goals were increased over the prior year.

Target payout percentages were increased for the CEO from 55% to 60% and from 40% to 45% for the Bank President to reflect market practice for our larger size. No other changes were made to other NEOs’ target payout percentages in 2017.

Based on results, the pool funded at 146% of target. The Compensation Committee further approved a 15% modifier, citing multiple strategic accomplishments, as summarized in the Executive Summary at the beginning of the CD&A, adjusting the total funded pool to 168%.

Individual NEO awards were allocated by the Committee and ranged from 86% to 178% of target.
Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTI)

For the 2017 plan, the LTI measures were revised to include relative total shareholder return, along with cumulative core earnings per share over the three year period. This change reflects feedback the Committee received from shareholders about better alignment between executives and shareholders.

No changes were made to target payout percentages in 2017.

The Compensation Committee relied on benchmarking data and each individual executive’s contribution toward corporate goals to determine 2017 grants. The awards varied from 69% to 130% of target for the NEOs, and are split 50% as performance shares and 50% as time-vested shares.

For performance awards granted in 2015, which were subject to a three year cliff vesting schedule (and which became vested in 2018), the performance shares earned equated to 109.11% of the target award established in January 2015.
Total Compensation

We are a growth company and as such have a strong focus on creating long-term shareholder value. As a result of shareholder feedback, we made changes to awards to better meet shareholder expectations and acknowledge the importance of total shareholder return performance.

NEO total direct compensation was 10% higher than in 2016, in-line with stronger growth and performance.
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Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
NEO Pay-For-Performance Alignment
The Compensation Committee seeks to motivate and reward executives for achieving improved earnings and profitability over the long-term, driving total shareholder value and managing risk. The company’s strategy includes disciplined growth through acquisitions and culture-driven differentiated products and services. Due to the acquisition strategy, the company’s performance is best understood in terms of core measures and our executives are incented on core earnings and profitability metrics. Core measures exclude merger and acquisition charges, along with other non-recurring gains and losses as described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The graph below demonstrates the alignment over the past five years of shareholder value creation and key operational metrics with CEO and other NEO total annual direct compensation, which consists of base salary and short-term and long-term incentive awards.
The Company has doubled in size over this period, and compensation reflects performance, as well as promotions and increases in responsibility due to growth. Total shareholder return has been positive in all years and outperformed the majority of peers in 2017.
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(1)
Reflects the year-to-year performance indexed to a 2012 base year for total shareholder return (“TSR”), and a 2013 base year for other performance metrics, at 100. Prior year TSR is shown to correspond with the timing of annual compensation decisions.
(2)
Direct compensation totals are made up of base salary, Short Term Incentive (“STI”) and Long Term Incentive (“LTI”). This measure excludes sign-on bonuses and special grants, which were supported by specific events.
(3)
TSR consists of stock price appreciation plus reinvested dividends; source: S&P Market Intelligence.
(4)
Core EPS, Core Net Income and Core ROA are Non-GAAP financial measures used by the compensation committee to make compensation decisions, a reconciliation of Non-GAAP financial measures is available in Appendix A.
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Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Shareholder Engagement and Responsiveness
We have an active engagement program that focuses on gathering feedback from the governance teams of our largest institutional shareholders. Based on these ongoing discussions, in the last year we made several enhancements to our governance programs including:

Declassified the Board

Added a relative TSR measure to the long-term incentive plan

Increased disclosure around compensation policies, procedures and decisions

Increased disclosure relating to the Board of Directors’ composition, recruiting and nominating practices

Introduced an anti-hedging policy and increased disclosure around our restrictive pledging policy

Eliminated geographical residency requirement for eligibility to serve on the Board
Since the implementation of  “Say-on-Pay”, we have received support above 90% for our Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation. In 2016 we received 67% of votes in favor of the Company’s executive compensation. In 2017, we improved to 75% of vote in favor, but we continue to strive to improve the shareholder approval. As a result, the Board of Directors has taken action over the past year to further engage shareholders to better understand their views and make enhancements to our compensation and governance practices.
What We Did

Proactively reached out to our largest institutional shareholders, representing 75% of our institutional ownership, to solicit their feedback.

Had extensive dialogue with a diverse group of our shareholders during the year and obtained additional feedback from advisors and other knowledgeable third parties.

Solicited feedback and answered questions about our executive compensation programs and Board governance practices.
What We Heard and How We Responded

Shareholders were pleased with the changes we made in the last year, particularly the declassified board and increased disclosures.

We continued to enhance our proxy statement disclosure this year to include more detail on director qualifications, the board evaluation process, risk management, gender diversity and sustainability.

There was general support for the design of the compensation plans. The importance of aligning goals with shareholder returns was reinforced and some of the shareholders desired more disclosure around individual incentive awards.

The Compensation Committee changed the long-term incentive plan goals in 2017 to include a relative TSR measure, along with a cumulative core EPS goal. The Committee feels that this combination will drive executive performance that is both favorable to the shareholders and to the Company’s long term strategic plans. We also continued to enhance the disclosures tied to the Compensation Committee’s philosophy and process in determining goals and individual awards.

Some shareholders suggested adopting a proxy access provision, majority voting standards, and/or the right to call a special meeting in our bylaws.

The Board has had extensive conversations about each of these items and will continue to evaluate potential future action.
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Executive Compensation Key Principles
Our philosophy is to provide an executive compensation program that is consistent with creating long-term value for our shareholders and promoting sound risk management. The key principles that support our philosophy are:

Attract and retain highly talented executives committed to our success

Pay for performance

Align executive interests with those of our shareholders

Manage risk through oversight and compensation design features and practices
Key Elements of our Compensation Programs
Compensation Mix
Target Mix

Direct compensation is made up of base salary, short-term cash incentive (“STI”) and long-term equity incentive (“LTI”)

Target mix is 57% performance based for CEO and 47% performance-based for other NEOs
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie1.jpg]
Long-Term/Equity Compensation
LTI Award

Awards consist of 50% performance shares and 50% time-based shares

Performance shares are earned at the end of a 3-year period based on Company performance

Time-based shares are earned proportionally over a 3-year period
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie2.jpg]
Corporate Performance Measures
Performance Measures

Performance measures and targets are designed to motivate and reward executives for achieving improved earnings and profitability over the long term, driving total shareholder returns and managing risk

Goal setting is aligned with annual and multi-year financial targets
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie3.jpg]
*
For reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures, please see Appendix A.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Highlights of our Compensation and Governance Programs
What We Do:
Pay for Performance: A significant portion of each Named Executive Officer’s annual compensation target is variable and tied to company and individual performance results. The Company uses a mix of performance metrics and our short- and long-term plans provide a balanced timeframe for incentive opportunities.
Link Performance Measures with Strategic Objectives: Performance measures and individual goals for incentive compensation are linked to strategic, operating and financial goals designed to create long-term shareholder value.
Annual Say-on-Pay Vote: We conduct an annual Say-on-Pay advisory vote.
Independent Compensation Consultant: The Compensation Committee engages its own independent compensation consultant to review the Company’s executive compensation program and practices.
Shareholder Engagement: As part of the Company’s shareholder outreach program, members of the Compensation Committee and members of management welcome engagement with shareholders to better understand their perceptions and views on our executive compensation program.
Stock Ownership Guidelines: We have significant stock ownership guidelines requiring our executives and directors to hold substantial equity ownership.
Clawback Policy: The clawback policy allows the Board to recover incentive compensation paid to an executive if the financial results that the awards were based on are materially restated due to fraud, intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Incentivize Sound Risk Management: Our compensation program includes features intended to discourage employees from taking unnecessary and excessive risks, including balanced performance metrics, emphasis on long-term shareholder value creation, and clawback provisions.
What We Don’t Do:
Gross-ups for Excise Taxes: We don’t provide change-in-control tax gross-ups to individuals hired after 2009 (only two legacy agreements are still in place).
Hedging and Pledging: All of our employees and directors are prohibited from engaging in hedging, monetization, derivative or similar transactions with company securities. We also have a policy that discourages pledging of company securities, with very limited exceptions.
Contracts: Our executives, with the exception of the CEO, are all employed “at will” and the relationship may be terminated by the Company or the employee at any time without any severance payments.
Dividends: We do not pay dividends on any restricted stock awards until vested.
Compensation Philosophy and Objectives
The primary philosophy and objective of our compensation program is to align the interests of our executives with shareholders by rewarding performance against established corporate financial and strategic goals, solid executive leadership and strong individual executive performance. We strive to attract, motivate and retain a highly qualified and talented team of executives who will lead Berkshire to maximize long-term performance and earnings growth. The Compensation Committee regularly reviews executive compensation program elements to ensure they are consistent with safe and sound business practices, regulatory requirements, emerging industry best practices and shareholder interests.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Key Principles That Support Our Philosophy
Attract and retain highly talented executives committed to our success

Provide competitive total compensation that enables us to attract and retain highly talented executives with experience and leadership abilities to grow and sustain our business

Target total compensation opportunities to reflect the median of market defined as banks similar in size, region and business model to Berkshire
Pay for performance alignment

We measure our success through a balanced portfolio of performance metrics that rewards corporate and individual success

A significant portion of total compensation is “at risk” and based on short and long-term performance

Financial performance results fund our annual incentive plan and determine long-term equity vesting

Our long-term equity awards are granted based on a holistic assessment of Company and individual performance, then split 50/50. Half are tied to 3-year performance (EPS and relative TSR); the other half are time-vested over 3 years

Higher (i.e. above market) compensation results only if performance exceeds our goals; lower compensation (i.e. below market) will result if our performance falls below expectations
Align executive interests with those of our shareholders

Our performance goals are directly aligned with our strategic and operating objectives which creates long-term shareholder value

We have rigorous stock ownership requirements to ensure our executives hold stock throughout their tenure as executives

A significant portion of executive compensation, including all of our long-term incentive, is in the form of stock

The Compensation Committee reviews our program and pay–for-performance relationships on a regular basis
Manage risk through oversight and compensation design features and practices

Our program incorporates a balanced approach that includes pay that is fixed and variable, short- and long-term, and in the form of both cash and equity

We use multiple goals in our incentive plans to reinforce strategic, operational, risk and shareholder considerations

We consider performance on a “holistic” basis, allowing for Committee discretion to adjust awards in consideration of risk management objectives and strategic success

We balance short-term and long-term incentives, with 3 year payouts on the long-term plan, which considers our absolute and relative performance

Our incentive plans cap maximum payments

We have a clawback policy that allows for recoupment of compensation for financial restatement or misconduct
Compensation Drivers

Incentive plans are designed to encourage achievement of our strategic business goals and reinforce our business values

Pay levels are fair, competitive and internally equitable

We pay for performance and the attainment of our vision, business strategy, operating imperatives and results

We recognize contributions of the individual

We are mindful of the market
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
2017 Target Pay Mix
Our compensation program places significant focus on performance-based pay that aligns CEO and NEO pay levels with the Company’s performance. The program rewards our achievements on an annual basis and our ability to deliver long-term value to our shareholders. We have a balanced, risk-appropriate approach to total compensation that includes a mix of fixed/base pay and variable/performance–based pay, cash and equity, and short- and long-term compensation.
Berkshire’s target pay mix is established by the Compensation Committee through an annual review of peer practices, pay for performance incentives, risk management objectives and shareholder alignment. For 2017, our compensation targets and pay mix were as follows and are designed to be in-line with market practice:
CEO
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie4.jpg]
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie5.jpg]
Other NEOs
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie6.jpg]
[MISSING IMAGE: 392720592_tv488745_chrt-pie7.jpg]
(1)
Market averages provided by independent compensation consultant and determined by using pay practices at peers listed elsewhere in this proxy statement.
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Decision-Making Process
Our Compensation Committee, which is composed solely of independent directors, is responsible for establishing, implementing and continually monitoring all elements of compensation for the Company’s CEO and NEOs.
Setting Performance Goals

Each year, the Compensation Committee reviews our compensation program to determine competitiveness and effectiveness, and evaluate whether any changes should be made for the next fiscal year. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determines the components of compensation for each NEO and sets the performance goals for each corporate performance measure.

Annually the Compensation Committee establishes CEO performance goals; the CEO sets individual performance goals for each of the other NEOs, subject to the review of the Compensation Committee. The individual goals are designed to drive our strategic corporate goals.

The Compensation Committee meets regularly throughout the year, both with management and in executive session, and reviews the Company’s performance to date against the performance goals.
Determining Compensation

At the end of each fiscal year, the Compensation Committee conducts a review of each NEO and the Company’s performance measured against established performance goals. As part of this review process, the CEO reviews with the Compensation Committee the performance of each NEO relative to the individual goals and presents his compensation recommendations based on his review. The Compensation Committee exercises discretion in modifying any compensation recommendations and then approves all compensation decisions for the NEOs.

The CEO’s performance is reviewed by the Compensation Committee in conjunction with a self-assessment and discussion with the Compensation Committee and other independent directors. The CEO is not present when the Committee makes decisions on his compensation.

The Compensation Committee’s objective is to ensure that total compensation paid to the NEOs is fair, reasonable and performance based, while aligning with shareholder interests. In addition, the Compensation Committee annually conducts an executive compensation review with the compensation consultant to ensure market competitiveness.
Contribution from the Independent Compensation Consultant

During 2017, the consultant provided a number of consultations and presentations to the Compensation Committee. These included a presentation on executive compensation trends and external developments, an annual competitive evaluation of NEO compensation, review of STI and LTI programs, draft review and comments on the CD&A, development of the peer group used for competitive analysis and attending committee meetings when requested by the Compensation Committee Chair.
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Factors Considered in Compensation Decision Process
The Compensation Committee considers many factors when making pay decisions throughout the year. In addition to the market data provided by the independent consultant, the Compensation Committee also considers various analyses, information and input including, but not limited to:
Overall operational and financial performance
Stock price performance and total shareholder return on an absolute and relative basis
Executive’s individual performance results relative to their individual financial and strategic goals
Strategic plan progress and performance relative to annual budget
Tally sheets
Demonstration of behaviors that support our culture and brand
Executive stock ownership levels
Qualitative input from the Compensation Committee and other independent directors
External influences, economic conditions and industry factors
Risk assessment considerations
Internal equity
Compensation trends and best practices
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BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC.| 2018 Proxy Statement

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Benchmarking Analysis — Compensation Peer Group
The Compensation Committee considers the structure of compensation programs and pay levels at other publicly traded banks similar in size and region to Berkshire when evaluating our compensation program. Annually, the Compensation Committee’s independent compensation consultant conducts a comprehensive competitive market analysis using the peer group and other industry survey data, as well as compensation best practices. The peer group is developed by the independent compensation consultant, approved by the Compensation Committee and used as part of the perspective consideration by the Compensation Committee to analyze and set annual salaries and incentive target opportunities. The Compensation Committee annually reviews and updates the peer group, as necessary upon recommendation of the Compensation Consultant.
Peer Group Criteria: The peer group is based on objective parameters that reflect institutions of similar asset size (approximately ½ – 2x Berkshire’s assets) and located in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region plus Ohio.
The following group shows the peer companies identified in 2016 and used for 2017 pay program considerations:
Peer
Ticker
State
Asset Size
($B)(1)
Market Cap
($B)(1)
Revenue
($MM)(1)
Valley National Bancorp
VLY
NJ
24.0
3.0
772
Fulton Financial Corp.
FULT
PA
20.0
3.1
783
Sterling Bancorp
STL
NY
30.4
5.5
640
Customers Bancorp Inc.
CUBI
PA
9.8
0.8
346
Provident Financial Services
PFS
NJ
9.8
1.8
334
Northwest Bancshares Inc.
NWBI
PA
9.4
1.7
442
Community Bank System Inc.
CBU
NY
10.7
2.7
518
NBT Bancorp Inc.
NBTB
NY
9.1
1.6
405
First Financial Bancorp
FFBC
OH
8.9
1.6
360
Park National Corp.
PRK
OH
7.5
1.6
325
Independent Bank Corp.
INDB
MA
8.1
1.9
342
First Commonwealth Financial
FCF
PA
7.3
1.4
309
S&T Bancorp, Inc.
STBA
PA
7.1
1.4
281
United Financial Bancorp
UBNK
CT
7.1
0.9
218
Brookline Bancorp Inc.
BRKL
MA
6.8
1.2
255
Eagle Bancorp Inc.
EGBN
MD
7.5
2.0
313
Flushing Financial Corp.
FFIC
NY
6.3
0.8
183
Thompkins Financial Corporation
TMP
NY
6.6
1.2
271
WSFS Financial Corp.
WSFS
PA
7.0
1.5
346
Dime Community Bancshares, Inc.
DCOM
NY
6.4
0.8
174
Peer Group Median(2)
7.8
1.6
338
Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc.
BHLB
MA
11.6
1.7
420
(1)
Asset size and market cap as of 12/31/17; revenue FY2017; source: S&P Market Intelligence.
(2)
Peer group median asset size in 2016 (when the peer group was identified) was $7.6B compared to Berkshire’s assets of  $8.0B at the time.
The Compensation Consultant used several other sources of data to identify general compensation trends, as well as published industry surveys and a proprietary database of national banking compensation data.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Compensation Discussion and Analysis  
Crossing $10 Billion in Assets
Due to the significant growth in assets over the last several years, the Compensation Committee, in conjunction with the Compensation Consultant, took a broader look at compensation peers during 2017. Berkshire has crossed $10 billion in assets, operates major national lending operations and has been an active acquirer. In comparing business models, regulatory challenges, and profitability results of peer banks, the Committee decided to change the scope of compensation peers beginning in 2018.
The new peer group includes banks nationwide ranging from $8 to $20 billion in assets, with similar business models, revenues and regulatory hurdles to Berkshire, and excludes banks located on the West Coast and in Texas.
The following group shows the peer companies identified in 2017 and used for 2018 pay program considerations:
Peer
Ticker
State
Asset Size
($B)(1)
Market Cap
($B)(1)
Revenue
($MM)(1)
MB Financial Inc.
MBFI
IL
20.1
3.7
969
Fulton Financial Corp.
FULT
PA
20.0
3.1
783
United Bankshares Inc.
UBSI
WV
19.1
3.7
681
Chemical Financial Corp.
CHFC
MI
19.3
3.8
702
Old National Bancorp
ONB
IN
17.5
2.7
621
BancorpSouth Bank
BXS
MS
15.3
2.8
742
South State Corporation
SSB
SC
14.5
3.2
558
Simmons First National Corp.
SFNC
AR
15.1
2.6
494
Home BancShares Inc.
HOMB
AR
14.4
4.0
555
First Midwest Bancorp Inc.
FMBI
IL
14.1
2.5
635
Trustmark Corp.
TRMK
MS
13.8
2.2
592
First Financial Bancorp
FFBC
OH
8.9
1.6
360
Union Bankshares Corp.
UBSH
VA
9.3
1.6
352
United Community Banks Inc.
UCBI
GA
11.9
2.2
444
Great Western Bancorp
GWB
SD
11.7
2.4
452
Community Bank System Inc.
CBU
NY
10.7
2.7
518
Customers Bancorp Inc.
CUBI
PA
9.8
0.8
346
Renasant Corporation
RNST
MS
9.8
2.0