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For the last fourteen years, we have worked tirelessly to provide affordable financial products that enhance economic opportunity for all people in New York City. Soon after we became the first bank headquartered in The Bronx, we obtained federal certification as a Community Development Financial Institution or CDFI. This designation means that over 60 percent of CDFI lending services target people with lower incomes, including communities like ours in the Bronx.

In receiving this certification, we joined a network of over a thousand banks, credit unions, and nonprofits community lenders dedicated to assisting communities typically excluded—because of systemic racism and other reasons—to join the economic mainstream. Since the CDFI Fund and Department of Treasury awarded us the designation in 2012, we have joined forces with 80+ CDFIs in New York state to ensure that historically excluded residents, small businesses, and nonprofits receive the financial services they need. We were even one of the founding board members when the NYS CDFI Coalition became a nonprofit organization.

More than ever, the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of the CDFI movement. When the Small Business Administration first implemented the Paycheck Protection Program in Spring 2020, the overwhelming amount of PPP Loans went to white-owned businesses and large corporations.

To assure more vulnerable minority-owned small businesses receive PPP lending, on May 28, 2020, the Treasury Department and SBA set aside $10B of emergency lending exclusively for CDFIs to distribute. The program was a resounding success. A subset of the CDFI network (303 CDFIs) made 106,113 PPP loans valued at $7.4B in less than three months. We are honored to have contributed to this effort. In 2020, our lending team secured PPP loans–valued at $86.8M–for small businesses and nonprofits in the New York City area. And we are excited to do it again. The new COVID-19 relief package includes $284B for additional lending to eligible businesses. It seems Congress learned its lesson 😊

To learn more about the impacts of our PPP loan program and CDFIs, check out our work with organizations like Ultranauts, Callen Lorde Community Center, Grant Street Settlement, and The Forward. Read a summary of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic here

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A 2020 Letter of Reflection & Gratitude

When we first headquartered in the Bronx, our mission was clear: to create a world where all people have equal access and opportunity to build prosperous futures. Fifteen years later, amidst a global pandemic and focus on racial justice, our mission and banking approach is more relevant than ever.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our city and unleashed dual health and economic crises, we saw our community’s needs, and we got to work. All year, our team worked tirelessly to address our community’s financial needs. Our efforts would not have been possible if it weren’t for our incredible staff, our community, and small business partners, our B-Corp community, and most of all, you.

Thank you for being a part of our community.

2020 Reflections
To say that 2020 has been a tough year is an understatement. We know many of you have faced challenges you never expected. Us too. But thankfully, we have one another. This year has shown us why our work—and that of community banks and CDFI’s are so important for low-income communities, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations that are too often overlooked by financial institutions. We prioritize our neighbors.

After the CARES Act passed in April of this year, our lending team got to work to assist organizations with their applications for a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan.

We take great pride in having secured 360 PPP loans–valued at $86.8 million–for small businesses and nonprofits in the New York City area. With these funds, organizations retained over thousands of jobs. In total, we secured PPP loans for 53 nonprofits valued at $35 million, funding that they otherwise may not have received if they had looked to a larger bank.

For example, we secured financial relief for Ultranauts, a company that mainly employs autistic workers for jobs in the technology sector. We supported The Forward, one of New York’s oldest Jewish media publications, and many others. Our lending team worked hard to make sure that value-aligned small businesses and community-based organizations could not only stay afloat but continue to support the needs of their communities, too.

In addition to our PPP lending program, we partnered with Eileen Fisher Inc., a fellow B Corp, to help them provide relief for their furloughed employees at the height of the lockdown. We customized our Employee Opportunity Loan program to meet their specific needs, which allowed them to act quickly to stay present.

In these uncertain times, we remain committed to New York City’s financial inclusion—and your financial health. We are humbled by the outpouring of support and gratitude from our community, and we draw so much inspiration from your ingenuity, hard work, and resilience. In this season of reflection and generosity, we want to extend one more heartfelt thank you. Together, we will continue to make New York City the best city in the world.

Check out the article about Ultranauts in The New York Times. Read about our work with organizations like Callen Lorde Community CenterGrand Street Settlement, and The Forward. Read more about our PPP lending program.

Thank you for your partnership and business. We wish you a very happy and healthy 2021!

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We want to extend our warmest wishes to you and your family in a season when our holiday celebrations might look a little different. The holidays are a time to be thankful, reflect, and look to the future with renewed hope and determination.

As 2020 comes to a close, we celebrate the courage of our frontline workers, small business owners, and community members: who took some time to help a family, member, friend or even a neighbor in need. And we commit to fighting racial injustice by working to build an economy that is inclusive of all people regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or nationality.

We are grateful to serve you and New York City, the greatest city in the world. New Yorkers always come together to overcome challenges that often seem insurmountable–and we will overcome this one.

From our family to yours, we wish you health, happiness, and continued strength this holiday season.  As 2020 comes to a close, we also invite you to check out some of our accomplishments from this year. Read about our work with organizations like Callen Lorde Community CenterGrand Street Settlement, and The Forward. Learn more about our PPP lending program and our commitment to the most vulnerable New Yorkers.

Happy Holidays,
From the Spring Bank Family

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No one is immune from a financial emergency. COVID-19 has shown us this. But according to a Bankrate survey, just 40 percent of Americans can cover an unexpected $1,000 expense.  One of the key pillars of financial stability is counting on rainy day savings for unforeseen expenses like car repair, appliance replacement, medical procedures, and unprecedented moments like a global pandemic. If you’ve never started saving before, now is the time.  Every little bit can make a big difference.

When you open a personal saving account with us, we will help you organize your finances and make it easier to plan for the future. Our personal savings account offers competitive interest rates and zero maintenance-free options that can help you plan for your future and prepare you for any surprise. Like all our accounts, our personal savings account is FDIC insured. If there is an economic downturn, your money is insured by the federal government, regardless of what happens. Your money is safe with us.

Our team is committed to helping you develop healthier financial habits and will give you hands-on advice and support. You can open an account online or in-person. Our online banking service lets you social distance by giving you the ability to manage your money online with your mobile device or computer. Without exception, your health, financial or otherwise, is our number one priority. Did you know that when you bank with us, you have access to free financial counseling with our partners at Ariva? As one of New York City’s Financial Empowerment Centers, Ariva’s financial counselors can meet with you in-person at our Bronx branch or virtually and help you create a realistic financial plan for 2021.

Rest assured that your savings are safe and secure with our personal savings account. We have one of the best savings accounts online. Whether it’s in-person, online, or over the phone, it’s our pleasure to help you start planning for your future. Open a personal savings account today, call us at (718) 879-5000 to set up a free financial counseling appointment and to learn about our other affordable banking products. Read 5 Tips for Wise Spending at the Holidays on our blog.

Brought to you in collaboration with the team at Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners

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The time for gift-giving and safe, family celebrations is here. Often, the joy and the festivities that come with this time of year can also equate to non-budgeted expenses and high credit card statements later. However, this holiday season, perhaps more than ever before, is a time to focus on what matters most: your health, including your financial health. As you reimagine the holidays in many ways this year, we offer you five creative tips to help you carry on your traditions and stay within your budget. Together, we crafted these tips with our colleagues at Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, a national nonprofit and worker financial health leader.

1. Cover Your Essentials: We all want to make the holidays special but make sure first you cover your basics, transportation, healthcare, rent, and food, before spending money on anything else.

2. Save As Much As You Can: If you have any money left over after covering your basics, determine a set amount you feel comfortable depositing into your emergency and personal savings every month. Then create your holiday budget and stick to it.

3. Gift Creatively:  You do not need a lot of money to celebrate the holidays in style. Some of the best gifts are inexpensive, yet thoughtful, and meaningful. You can suggest a “Secret Santa” with your family and set a price limit on the gifts. That way, you limit the number and cost of gifts each person buys.

4. Pay Your Monthly Minimums: By paying monthly credit card minimums, you can keep your credit line open and in good standing. You don’t have to pay all of your credit card debt if you are unable but plan each month so that you have the cash flow to pay the minimum. If you need to use credit cards to buy gifts, make sure you have the cash the next month to pay off the accrued balance. Remember, when it comes to gift-giving, it’s the thought that counts. Your friends and family will be delighted to receive a homemade gift knowing you are fiscally responsible.

5. Build Good Credit: Open doors for better rates when you think about buying a car, purchasing insurance, buy a home, and all your plans for the future

We want you to achieve your financial goals. We can help you build your personal savings and open a personal savings account. Stop by one of our branches in the Bronx or Harlem or give us a call at 718-879-5000. It’s our pleasure to support our clients and community during this challenging time. Read more about the great work of Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners and their free TrustPlus financial coaching services.

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It was an easy decision for us to join the Bank for Good movement, a coalition of community banks, credit unions, and climate-friendly institutions that have divested from fossil fuels and are investing in their communities. Additionally, since Earth Day of 2019, we have been carbon neutral. As a part of our ethical banking and our triple bottom line as a B Corp Bank, we have offset hundreds of thousands of kilos of carbon dioxide. Our commitment to creating a healthier planet is also designed into our products, namely our Green Checking Account.

An entirely paperless checking account, our Green Checking Account offers zero maintenance fee options and no overdraft fees. All you need is an email address, and your monthly statements are sent to you electronically, without printing or recycling statements ever again. You have 24/7 access to your Green Checking Account and your money through the Spring Bank mobile app.

Join us in the fight against the climate crisis, and open a Green Checking Account with us today. Not only will you save trees, but you’ll feel good knowing we invest your hard-earned dollars locally. We can help you open a personal checking account, a personal savings account, and a business checking account.

Learn more about our involvement with Bank for Good on our blog featuring Paul Philips, District Manager of Community Board 4–the neighborhood of our headquarters in The Bronx.

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As one of the few banks headquartered in the Bronx, New York, we are devoted to serving our borough’s needs.  Thankfully, we partner with dozens of community-based organizations with the same commitment. Since we opened our doors, Ariva has been on-the-ground at our Bronx location, providing free tax preparation and free financial counseling services to low-income New York City residents.

In December of 2019, Ariva received one of eight designations from the Department of Consumer Affair’s Office of Financial Empowerment as a New York City Financial Empowerment Center. As one of two in the Bronx, this designation allows them to help families across the city gain confidence in their financial knowledge, leading to more informed financial decisions and increased financial security and prosperity. We are proud to partner with an organization that shares our values and helps low-income New Yorkers start on the path to economic independence.

Since 2003, Ariva has prepared free tax returns for over 100,000 clients, returning more than $150 million in total refunds. Eighty-eight percent of Ariva’s clients earn less than $30,000 annually. So, as we continue to battle COVID-19 and its joblessness side-effect, the income from tax returns will provide critical financial relief. Even a small tax refund can prevent a family from using predatory financial services and help them start saving.

And that’s where you come in. You can provide financial relief for families from the comfort and safety of your home by becoming an Ariva Tax Prep Volunteer. As Ariva gears up for the 2021 tax season, they are recruiting volunteers to virtually files taxes. If you are looking for an opportunity to give back, join Ariva’s team of 200+ volunteers. It’s a vibrant, bustling volunteer community, just like NYC. Sign up here.

If you require financial assistance, like checking your credit score, opening a personal checking account, or applying for a personal loan, Ariva’ s team of financial counselors can help you. Contact Ariva at 718-292-2983 and learn more about our partnership. And, if a nonprofit you work for or support is looking for a bank that is committed to serving the community, we offer nonprofit checking accounts and lending options, too.

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We are committed to a world where all people have equal access and opportunity to build prosperous futures. And when we say all people, we mean everyone, even those who don’t bank with us.

As the climate crisis causes temperatures to rise and extreme weather becomes more common, the impacts will affect everyone.  Financial institutions that finance fossil fuels bear immense responsibility. Did you know that the four largest banks in the United States poured more than $210 billion into fossil fuel projects in 2019 alone? That’s why—as a carbon-neutral, B Corp community bank, we immediately said yes to the invitation to join a national movement of banks who recognize together their responsibility to address the climate crisis. You can feel secure with us and with any member of the Bank for Good campaign, that your money is a solution, not a contributor to the climate crisis and will not be invested in fossil fuels.

We view our commitment to climate justice as a racial justice issue, as underserved communities of color, communities like those we serve, are disproportionately impacted. The Bank for Good campaign was our opportunity to join with like-minded financial institutions to create a new narrative for banking that aligns with our values.

Paul Philips, District Manager of Community Board 4–the neighborhood of our headquarters in The Bronx– recognizes how banks can be a tool for good.  Ninety-six percent of the people in Community Board 4 are minorities, and the average income is $29,000 a year.  And as a result of COVID-19, he has witnessed long lines of people waiting outside check cashiers to get the money they need to pay for existing expenses.

“Now more than ever, we need financial institutions like Spring Bank,” says Paul Philips. “We need local banks that serve low-income minority communities, especially small businesses.”

According to Paul Philips, only 2 percent of small businesses in The Bronx received any federal PPP lending dollars via the CARES Act due to COVID-19. He believes this is precisely why community banks are essential to building a financially inclusive society.

“Banks that are rooted in the community are so important; they will actually advocate on behalf of communities of color,” says Paul Philips.

As one of the few community banks in The Bronx, New York, we are proud to support small businesses and communities of color as we Bank for Good. Learn more by reading about our commitment to our community during COVID-19.

Ready to join us in the movement to Bank for Good? Move your money with us and open a Green Checking Account or apply for a personal loan today! We can help your small business grow by opening a business checking account. And you can feel good about your role in ending the climate crisis, knowing your hard-earned dollars are invested locally, right back into the best city in the world. Read more about the Bank for Good campaign.

Photo Credit: Ultranauts, NY Times

As a mission-driven, community-based bank, we prioritize our neighbors and the unique financial needs of the Bronx and Harlem. Since the day we opened our doors in the South Bronx over thirteen years ago, we have been grateful for the partnership of many small businesses and values-aligned organizations, including some of New York City’s oldest and most reputable nonprofits.

When COVID-19 hit, we responded by supporting our small business and nonprofit partners when they needed it most. Hours after the CARES Act passed in April of this year, our lending team got to work to assist organizations with their applications for a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan.

We are proud to report that as of this month, we secured 360 PPP loans–valued at $86.8 million–for small businesses and nonprofits in the New York City area.  With these funds, organizations retained over 5,000 jobs.

 At the height of the lockdown, we helped Callen Lorde Community Center– a primary care center dedicated to serving the LGBTQ and homeless communities–secure a PPP loan that allowed them to continue their critical work on the frontlines of New York City’s battle against COVID-19. Our partnership helped them retain 80 of their employees, all while running a temporary hospital out of a hotel in Queens.

Additionally, our lending team supported other major nonprofits organizations like Grand Street Settlement–a social services agency that helps thousands of New Yorkers–and The Forward–one of New York’s oldest Jewish media publications. In total, we secured PPP loans for 53 nonprofits valued at $35 million, funding that they otherwise may not have received if they had gone to a larger bank.

But we didn’t stop there. We also partnered with values-aligned companies that are revolutionizing the business world. We take particular satisfaction in our work with Ultranauts, a company that mainly employ autistic workers for technology jobs.

With 75 percent of its workforce on the autistic spectrum, Ultranauts uses a unique set of operational policies and practices. Recently featured in The New York Times, their remote work model and unique accommodations have become a model for businesses looking to foster inclusion. And yet, pivoting to 100 percent remote working could not shield them from the economic downturn caused by the global pandemic. Ultranauts lost business as their clients made cuts to cope with the impact. To cover these unexpected costs, they partnered with us to secure a PPP loan that allowed them to adapt to the changing market, and soon, they were flourishing once again. Ultranaut acquired new clients and has plans to expand its workforce from 90 to 200 employees in the next two years.

We are proud to support organizations that, like us, are working to build an economy that includes and nurtures every individual’s talents. We are proud to help small businesses and nonprofits continue their work during this historic time.

If your small business or nonprofit requires financial support during this time, we can help you secure a lending option that best suits your organization. Do not hesitate to contact us at 718-879-5000. And we can set up a small business checking account or a nonprofit checking account so that you keep your money local, investing in communities in New York City that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check out the article about Ultranauts in The New York Times. Read about our work with Callen Lorde Community Center, Grand Street Settlement, and The Forward. Open a small business checking account today.

Our Employee Financial Empowerment Program

 

The holiday season can be a stressful time. The hustle and bustle of celebrations and gift-purchasing now combined with economic hardship caused by a global pandemic are in one word­: overwhelming. We want to reduce the stress and bring back some of the festivity into the holidays for you and your employees with our Employee Financial Empowerment Program. Through our Employee Financial Empowerment Program, employers can offer their employees access to our Employee Opportunity Loan and Trust Plus, a free financial counseling program provided by our partner, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners. The Employee Financial Empower Program is free to employers and is designed to improve your employees’ financial stability, health, productivity, and overall vibrancy.

“Both Spring Bank and Neighborhood Trust serve low-and-moderate income workers,” explains Brendon Kinney, our partner from Neighborhood Trust. “Our Trust Plus program works in tandem with Spring Bank’s Employee Opportunity Loan by attaching financial coaching to a financial product. In doing so, we make sure that clients stick to their payment schedule and repay their loan on time.”

Our Employee Opportunity Loan can help your employees cover holiday expenses –along with costs accrued from the COVID-19 emergency– by giving them access to a small loan with no minimum credit score requirements. But it’s not just about helping your employees apply for a personal loan; it’s also about equipping them with tools for long-lasting financial health.

For this reason, we consider our partnership with Neighborhood Trust crucial to our broader mission of creating a world where all people have equal access and opportunity to build prosperous futures. Through their Trust Plus program, clients receive free financial counseling coupled with our Employee Opportunity Loan.

As the largest nonprofit financial counseling provider in New York City, Neighborhood Trust offers services via phone, Skype, and mobile. They pair each employee with a trusted financial counselor for action-oriented coaching. Usually priced at a minimum of $20,000, this service is free to your employees as part of the partnership with Spring Bank

“Research shows that if you combine financial coaching with financial products, you help clients develop healthier financial habits,” Brendon adds. “It’s a win-win for all parties involved.”

He’s right. On average, people who secure our Employee Opportunity Loan and make timely payments have seen their credit scores increase 56 points or see their first-time score of as much as 700 points after one year. Healthy credit scores create the access people need to build wealth. Our Employee Opportunity Loan also provides a critical financial cushion in case of emergencies–like COVID-19.

“Employers and employees stress around personal finances,” Brendon says. “Financial stress is the single greatest stress carried by all Americans. People take time off of work to deal with financial issues. When an employee has access to a financial coach, they are more focused, they are more innovative, and they are more likely to stay at their jobs.”

“People feel more valued when offered financial benefits at work,” he continues. “Employers demonstrate their investment and care for their employees’ well-being, adding value to both the employee and the employer.”

Melanie Stern, our Director of Consumer Lending and CRA Officer, says our Employee Opportunity Loan has a similar impact. “By helping clients build credit, we alleviate the immediate stress around cash flow, “she explains. “Combining personalized touch to budget and credit management is a form of crisis management. We help people get through each day, so that next year when people can get back to work, we can talk about recovery.”

We know it cannot alleviate the financial hardship caused by COVID-19, but it can reduce the harm by helping employees bridge the gap between unexpected expenses and available savings.

“The economic damage has happened,” says Melanie about the ongoing economic crisis. “The question is: how do we mitigate the damage? What do our clients need right now?”

These are difficult questions to answer, but neither you nor your employees have to answer these questions alone. When you sign-up for the Employee Financial Empowerment Program, you can access personalized support and care from our team at Spring Bank and our Trust Plus partners at Neighborhood Trust.

This upcoming holiday season may not be the one any of us were expecting. However, you can alleviate your employees’ stress and create a little extra holiday cheer for them and your organization. Read about our Employee Financial Empowerment Program. Learn more about our Employee Opportunity Loan and Trust Plus.