Gregory Dufour, president and CEO of Camden National Bank, at the bank's Portland office. The top Maine-based bank in assets sees New Hampshire and Massachusetts as growth areas for services. Credit: Lori Valigra

Camden National Bank is expanding south, with a second loan office opening in New Hampshire this week and plans for additional services and offices in Massachusetts.

The bank will open a branch in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Tuesday that initially will focus on commercial and residential loans, but later add wealth management services. It already has a loan office in Manchester.

Camden National also has a mortgage loan office in Braintree, Massachusetts, and plans to expand its network of loan offices north of Boston.

Rather than opening new branches first, the bank will grow by hiring well-qualified lending and wealth management employees and building its operations and services around them, Greg Dufour, president and CEO of Camden National, told Wall Street analysts in a Jan. 30 earnings report call. Those people will work out of existing bank offices or from home offices.

“Once we build up critical mass, then we can look to a more full-service type of location,” he said.

The Camden-based bank has locations in Bangor, Brewer, Old Town, Bucksport, Hampden, Hermon, Newport, Milo, Greenville and Dover-Foxcroft. It considers Bangor one of its growth areas, Dufour said. The bank has call centers in Rockport and Bangor.

Camden National is the largest Maine-based bank in assets, which were $4.1 billion at the end of 2017, up 5 percent from 2016. Bangor Savings Bank is second, with about $4 billion in assets when it completes its acquisition of New Hampshire’s Granite Bank in April or May. Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is third at $3.5 billion, according to USbanklocations.

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Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...