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A Small Business PPP Story

New York City has long been known as a national and international artistic beacon. While the numerous theatres, museums, concert halls, and galleries are the lifeblood of our city, there are also, behind the scenes, hundreds of small businesses that help make our city’s arts scene the best in the world. Chelsea Restoration Associates Inc. is one of those small businesses whose work you may have seen without even knowing it.

Founded in 2004 by John Powell and Amy Sokoloff, Chelsea Restoration is one of New York City’s premier art restoration and conservation studios. They restore and preserve fine paintings that are exhibited in our city’s finest museums, galleries, and dealerships–and they do it from right here in the Bronx!

“It doesn’t matter if the work of art is a family heirloom or something you bought at the flea market, we will restore it,” explains Amy. “We work on paintings that range from $100 to $20 million.”

When COVID-19 hit, the arts were devastated. Without the ability to open venues, artists and the organizations that support them were forced to adapt to a new reality. We are proud to have helped Chelsea Restoration­ during this challenging moment for our city’s arts community with a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

“I am extremely thankful to Spring Bank,” says John. “When the pandemic began, our business flatlined. We did not know how we were going to get through it. But then Spring Bank came along, and they answered all of our calls and emails. Whatever we needed, they were there. Thanks to them, we secured two rounds of PPP funding.”

Before coming to us, Chelsea Restoration tried to get assistance from a large financial institution but was ignored. Small businesses often are. But not with us. As a community bank, we exist to provide personalized and affordable services to all individuals, small businesses and nonprofits.

“We knew that adapting to the pandemic was going to be difficult because so much of our work cannot be done remotely,” says Amy. “But the PPP loan gave us the time to do that. We pivoted to host client consultations and meetings virtually which allowed us to continue our work safely.”

“But it went beyond that,” she continues. “Securing the PPP loan gave us the flexibility to automate a lot of our business processes. Rather than managing our inventory and payroll manually, we can now do it automatically. The benefits will outlast the pandemic because we’ll be able to serve more clients.”

And now, Chelsea Restoration can rehire and employ more people.

“Before the pandemic started, we hired an NYU intern who moved home because of the lockdowns,” says John. “The PPP loan enabled us to hire her back; it prevented one less artist from leaving New York City.”

We know the arts are what make New York City so vibrant and unique. We are proud to have helped when the pandemic disproportionately impacted this vital industry. If you are interested in learning more about how we support the arts, check out our work with the Bronx Museum of the Arts. You can also read more about our PPP lending work here.

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For 50 years, The Bronx Museum of the Arts has been an institutional pillar, at the forefront of arts and culture, racial and social justice, and immortalizing our borough’s rich culture. This year, the Museum Arts celebrates 50 years and the 40th anniversary of its Artists in the Marketplace program, a renowned artist development program. We are inspired by their long history of elevating black, brown, and Asian artists who have historically been excluded from mainstream cultural institutions. The Bronx Museum of the Arts programming and visits remain free, creating access for all of us to experience some of New York City’s most innovative multi-media creators.

“The Bronx Museum of the Arts was founded by local activists who wanted to bring art to the Bronx and highlight its cultural richness,” says Claudette McQueen, Manager for Special Events and Membership.  “Our unique programing and exhibitions reflect the Bronx’s history and how overlooked our borough continues to be. Now more than ever, we remain devoted to our mission of visibility and inclusivity.”

Located a few blocks away from our headquarters and with a shared mission of revitalizing the Bronx, we were pleased when the museum–at the height of the pandemic–reached out to us for assistance with a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

“Reaching out to Spring Bank for support in securing PPP lending was one of the best decisions that the museum has made,” says Alan Highet, CFO and General Counsel at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. “They showed us right away they wanted to help us further our community goals. If you’re looking for a real banking relationship, don’t think twice about Spring Bank.”

The PPP loan helped the Bronx Museum of the Arts transition to virtual programming and digital art exhibitions.  Their team moved quickly to implement health and safety procedures for in-person viewing and expanded their famous Family Affair program so that Bronx families could participate in hands-on activities from home.

“We believe community partners are a critical part of our work. Whether it’s in person or from afar, we are rooted in the Bronx, and we are committed to the people who live here and mutual success,” says Claudette.

We feel the same. We are grateful for community anchors like The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Congratulations on 50 years! We encourage you to celebrate their local commitment and visit them in-person or online for free. Check out their guided tours online, join their Family Affair program, or make an appointment to visit the museum person.

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March 2021 marks one year of living in times of COVID-19, changing our city and our world as we knew it. It is also B Corp month—and our 5th B Corp anniversary! Certified B Corporations believe business can and should be a force for good.

As mission-driven businesses, B Corporations work to leverage their income to prioritize people and the planet, striving for a more inclusive economy that works for everyone. B Corps actively look to “benefit” the Earth and leave our communities better due to our presence. We’ve been values-aligned with the movement since we opened our doors.

“Being a B Corp aligns with our ideals and helps us to become the best version of ourselves as a company,” says Demetris Giannoulias, our CEO. “The B Corp model allows values of community, inclusion, and environmental integrity to infuse our culture strategically and explicitly.”

We joined the B Corp movement in 2016 as the first B Corp bank in New York City. Here are four reasons why being part of the B Corp movement is even more critical at this moment:

  1. Equal Access to Capital is more important than ever: COVID-19 has dramatically underscored New York City’s wealth gap. Our job is to provide residents and small business owners with direct and easy access to the banking system, and that this is a critical step in addressing the wealth gap. Bronx residents, for example, are the most unbanked and underbanked citizens in New York City. While many banks continue to leave the South Bronx, we remain committed to our neighbors’ financial inclusion. We aren’t going anywhere.
  2. A Culture of Innovation for Good: We continually adapt our innovative depository and affordable loan products to help individuals in our community avoid getting trapped in cycles of debt and predatory lending. But we also recognize that no community exists in a vacuum. Many B Corps, including Eileen Fisher, UnCommon Goods, Greyston Bakery, Crave Fishbar, and Pisticci Restaurant, have worked with us to develop our small-dollar, credit-building Employee Opportunity Loan to support their teams’ financial health.
  3. A Small Business & Nonprofit Priority: We prioritize the lending and banking needs of small businesses and nonprofits across New York City. When big banks turned them away, we welcomed them, deploying $88M in 361 loans as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). And we offer tailored products for community-based organizations like our maintenance-free Nonprofit Checking account.
  4. A Community of Accountability: One of the best parts of the last five years is the people we have met and worked with within the B Corp community. We learned about the importance of our carbon footprint and took the journey to becoming carbon neutral. We took part in the Inclusive Economy challenge and started our anti-racism journey. We are grateful to be part of a business network that calls one another forward into deeper impact.

This B Corp month, we celebrate five years in the movement, proud to be a triple bottom line bank. And we think there is a lot more room for other NYC banks to join!

“I believe in B Corps and think other banks should join the movement and become a B Corp,” says Demetris. “The more we work together, the better shot we have at changing the financial industry for the better from within.”

Thank you for being part of this journey with us. To learn more, check out our stories about our work with fellow B Corps Eileen Fisher Inc and UnCommon Goods. Find out more about our decision to go carbon neutral here. Celebrate B Corp Month and put your values into action by opening a personal checking account or personal savings account with us today.

best savings account online, new business bank account, banks in ny, business checking account, small business accounts, apply for personal loan, open business account online, personal savings, personal checking account, personal savings account, banks in bronx new yorkJobsFirstNYC, a workforce, and community development organization, has worked for over a decade to support New York City’s most vulnerable populations. Part of their mission is to help young people disenfranchised from work and education due to systemic racism and redlining. For the last two years, they’ve been hard at work, right in our neighborhood, the Jerome Avenue Corridor in The Bronx.

“We believe every community has to drive its version of success,” says Roman Jackson, Vice President of JobsFirstNYC. “In The Bronx, we’ve partnered with key stakeholders like Spring Bank to make sure the community is heard and writes its own story.”

Most recently, we’ve worked together to address the rezoning of the Jerome Avenue Corridor. The Jerome Avenue Corridor is currently undergoing the most extensive rezoning in New York City’s history, spanning 93 blocks and impacting 93,000 residents. While typically implemented to spur economic development, rezoning also needs to account for more vulnerable community members’ needs. With high unemployment and poverty rates along the Jerome Avenue Corridor, some community members could get left behind–without advocacy.

JobsFirstNYC is hard at work to make sure this doesn’t happen. By fostering partnerships between residents, employers, and workers, JobsFirstNYC spearheaded the Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative or JARC. Made up of 60 members, JARC is working to ensure that small businesses and community members can collectively leverage new and existing opportunities resulting from the rezoning. Through it all, JobsFirstNYC has never lost sight of its goal to expand access to opportunity.

“At JobsFirstNYC, says Roman Jackson, “community projects are vital to our practice. We recognize that for JobsFirstNYC to advocate for systems to change, we need to start at the community level. JARC is a key part of that practice in the Bronx.”

Although founded to address the rezoning, JARC also supports the Jerome Avenue community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately impacted the Bronx, with only 2 percent of the Payment Protection Program funding that went to New York City going to the Bronx. We are working with JARC to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Together, we want to ensure that Bronx businesses have access to the funds they need to stay afloat, now and always.  We are proud to work with JobsFirstNYC to ensure that the Bronx is a place where all people can reach their full potential.

Learn more about JARC  here. Read about our PPP Lending program here.

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Throughout the pandemic, we have helped dozens of small businesses and organizations across New York City acquire loans to keep their doors open. But you don’t have to wait until the next emergency to build a relationship with us–your local community bank. You can secure the future of your small business now by opening a business checking account with us today.

When you bank with us, we get to know you; we seek to understand your needs and aspirations. Every day we see how small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Across New York City, small businesses maintain the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of working families. But we also know that for a small business, success is not only measured in profits. Having a business checking account with us will give you firsthand access to our personalized approach. We’ll help you secure the funds you may not have access to from a traditional financial institution. And when the next crisis hits, we’ll do our best to help you secure the funds you need to keep your doors open and your employees on the books.

Our business checking account features make it easy for you to get your money when you want it and when you need it. When you open a business checking account with us, you can access free ATMs in the MoneyPass network and Citibank branches. You also have 24/7 access to your money from wherever you are with our mobile app and online banking options. You can even open a business account online. It’s convenient, and it’s safe. And if you run into any issues, give our team a call. With us, you’re never a number; you’re our neighbor.

Our zero-maintenance fee business checking account helps you avoid the time and money you would lose addressing surprise costs associated with your business checking account at a larger financial institution. When you bank with a community bank like us, you’re our priority. Our business checking account puts the community in a community bank. We give you the space to focus on what matters, managing your business and making an impact on your neighborhood. Merely putting your hard-earned money in our business checking account, you are giving back to your community.

When you bank with us, your money is invested locally, contributing to your community’s economic growth by helping other small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals get access to the loans they need. If you would like to support our mission in other ways, you can open a personal checking account or personal savings account today. We’d love to have you.  Read more about our work with small businesses here.

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Having a bank account­– whether it’s a business checking account or a personal savings account­–is critical to maintaining a healthy financial life. The economic downturn combined with the health crisis unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of the importance of having financial and physical health. With our remote banking feature, you don’t have to make that choice.

Your health and safety are our top priority. Whether it’s over the phone, online, or through our mobile app, you can access our financial products from wherever you are. While we must reduce our social interactions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with our expanded remote banking features, you don’t have to delay making important financial decisions or getting access to the money you need.

Remotely accessing your personal checking account can help make this difficult time easier. As Tax Day approaches and Congress prepares to issue another round of stimulus checks, having a bank account can help you get quicker and safer access to the economic relief you need. Checks can get lost and can take weeks to arrive. When managing money is essential, using direct deposit and our remote banking features can help you pay for ongoing expenses and save for the future.

One of our biggest priorities is encouraging our community members to increase their personal savings to become financially independent. When you can open a bank account or access our services from wherever you are, you save on transportation expenses. Additionally, you don’t have to take time off work to start building wealth and reaching your financial goals. Our built-in flexibility is designed to meet you where you are and to help you attend to financial matters instantly.

Whether it’s in person or remote, our banking staff is personable and experienced. Once we activate your account, you can deposit checks securely from your phone or tablet while on the move or from the comfort of your own home.

Businesses can deposit up to $5,000, and individual customers can deposit up to $1,000. If you would like to increase your deposit limits, don’t hesitate to ask us. In addition to ATMs in the Moneypass network, via our partnership with Citibank, Spring Bank clients can use any ATM within a Citibank branch for free. Regardless of where you live, know that we have something for you.

We are providing services and products that meet all of our customers’ needs. Whether it be online or on the phone, know that we are here for you. Call or download our app. We’ll help you apply for a personal loan or open a new business bank account. We have one of the best savings account online. Find out how we can help you today!

A Recent Feature of Josefa Ruiz, our Branch Manager, in Independent Banker.

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We take great pride in being headquartered in a city built and powered by immigrants. Nearly 40 percent of New York City’s residents are foreign-born. Immigrants not only power our city’s economy, and they are the lifeblood of our city’s culture and dynamism. From the food we eat to the music we listen to, immigrant contributions are everywhere we look. And yet–despite their indelible imprint on our city– many immigrants have a hard time accessing the financial tools essential to building wealth and sustaining thriving committees.

Typically, when immigrants come to the United States, they are brand new to the American financial system, making it difficult for immigrants to open bank accounts, apply for loans, or rent apartments. These barriers often prevent immigrants from accessing the services they need to make this country home. As a bank with many immigrant neighbors and staff, we are doing our best to shift this narrative.

This month, Josefa Ruiz, our Branch Manager, was featured—alongside Carlos Herrera, a customer, and owner of 2300 Deli Corp–in an article by Independent Banker, “How Community Banks Serve Immigrants.”

“Community banks like us provide a lot of value to immigrant communities,” she says. “Unlike larger financial institutions, we take a chance on them. We see the value in them and their contributions, and we act on it.”

We are proud to offer services tailored to the needs of immigrant New Yorkers. We accept IDNYC– a free-government-issued photo I.D. card available to all New York City residents, regardless of their immigration status–to open a bank account or apply for a personal loan. We also offer a credit-builder loan that helps accountholders establish a U.S. credit history.

Not only are our products immigrant inclusive; our staff is too. Both our Bronx and Harlem branches serve many Spanish speakers. That’s why all of our frontline staff speaks Spanish, and our marketing materials appear in both Spanish and English. We do our best to make space for everyone. It’s the New York City way.

“At Spring Bank, clients are not numbers. Here, I can dedicate my time to addressing the needs of each client. I can support them. At big banks, you are expected to produce, produce, which often means that money rather than people become the priority. But not at Spring Bank. Our clients are our priority, no matter where they are from,” says Josefa.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our immigrant communities hard. Many of our foreign-born neighbors work essential jobs, don’t qualify for government assistance, and are uninsured. The pandemic reminds us of immigrants’ importance and contributions, and we want to pay it forward. Read more from Josefa in the Independent Banker feature and look for a small business story soon featuring Carlos and 2300 Deli Corp.

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As a mission-driven, community-based bank, we prioritize our neighbors and the unique financial needs of the Bronx and Harlem and communities throughout New York. Since the day we opened our doors in the Bronx over thirteen years ago, we have been grateful for the partnership of many values-aligned organizations, including some of New York City’s oldest and most distinguished nonprofits. So when COVID-19 hit our city, we had the privilege of supporting many of our nonprofit partners when they needed it most.

We are here to offer the same personalized service to your organization. Our nonprofit program provides free checking accounts with customized services that will help you support your mission. With remote deposit capture, you can take advantage of our cost savings and benefits without leaving your home. You can also use our online banking service, which gives you the ability to manage money online for your organization with your mobile device or computer. You receive all of these easy-to-use banking tools for your organization without having to pay maintenance fees!

Our maintenance-free, nonprofit checking account option is a part of our broader mission to help nonprofits launch and grow. On top of offering nonprofits free checking accounts, we also have a specialized nonprofit lending program. And we love to showcase the great stories and impact of our nonprofit partners as we believe our collective impact is a crucial part of rebuilding an economy that includes all of us.

Open a nonprofit checking account online today or contact us at 718-879-5000 for more information. We also invite you to read about how our nonprofit services have helped local organizations like DreamYard and The Hope Program.

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A few weeks into 2021, and as President Joe Biden reminded us in his inaugural speech, we have hard work ahead of us. With businesses shuttered, hospitals overwhelmed, and streets empty, and as we confront this winter wave of COVID-19, hope can feel distant. And yet, there is much to look forward to and much to fight for.

As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) dedicated to financial inclusion, we are ready to meet this moment. Together with the 80 + members of the NYS CDFI Coalition, we are working to ensure that people across New York state receive the financial relief and tools to navigate this difficult time. But beyond our work on the frontlines of the pandemic, there are many reasons to bank with CDFI like us. Here are three of those reasons:

  1. Access to Flexible Lending Terms & Affordable Rates
    At large-financial institutions, customers must provide high credit scores and a large minimum balance to qualify for services, effectively barring people with lower incomes, many of whom are people of color. At a CDFI, someone lacking a healthy credit score or thousands of dollars in savings can get access to the financial system without having to pay exorbitant fees. CDFIs offer financially healthy and credit-building alternatives to the people who need them most by providing flexibility and customized banking products according to our local communities’ needs.
  2. Direct Community Investment & Impact
    Unlike mainstream financial institutions that prioritize shareholders, CDFIs prioritize the economic needs of local neighborhoods. As mission-driven organizations (both for-profit and nonprofit), CDFIs leverage money to support community development like small business lending, small-dollar consumer lending, and affordable housing lending for people and organizations excluded by big banks because of factors like systemic racism and redlining. We have a triple-bottom-line, meaning that we measure success by the health of our community and environment. When you bank with us, you know your dollars are invested back into New York City.
  3. Relationships Matter Most
    Large financial institutions often overlook small businesses, startups, and nonprofits because they can’t offer products with a high-risk factor. CDFIs provide hands-on services that allow them to evaluate small businesses and nonprofits as a whole, starting with a relationship with the entrepreneurs and community leaders. Our holistic approach enables us to create customized products that address the specific needs of vital institutions in excluded communities and, in doing so, support their sustainability.

We are proud to be a CDFI and the first to headquarter in the Bronx. With or without a pandemic, we will continue to fight the racial and economic disparities it has magnified. By opening a personal savings account or business checking account with us, you help support our mission. To learn more about what we do, read our 2020 Reflection. You can also check our blogs about our involvement in the Bank for Good movement and our community-first culture. Apply for a personal loan today!

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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