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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.

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As the COVID-19 health crisis continues to challenge small businesses in New York City, we want to remind you that we are here for you. As a small business ourselves, we can relate—we are in this together. We are committed to helping you sustain your business and reach your financial and business goals. Whether applying for a small business loan or opening up a small business account, we offer high-touch customer service and competitive rates.

Our small business lending team’s personal and customized approach provides you with the support you need when you need it. As a proud Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and B Corp, we offer small business loans and lines of credit that allow businesses to build and expand capacity. Our products range from a $10,000 Microloan to SBA financing for larger projects.

Our small business account options combined with our small business lending are a critical part of our mission to help small businesses grow. With remote deposit capture, our small business checking accounts allow you to manage your cash flows without leaving your office. You can also handle payments, transfers, and direct deposits for your business with our online banking services.

Open a small business checking account online today. You can also contact us at 718-879-5000. For more information, read about how our small business services have helped NYC small businesses like Harlem Pizza Co. We are here for you!

A Small Business Story

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“I just told myself, if we do the right thing, we will survive,” Jeannie Uyanik says. “Throughout this whole ordeal, we have told ourselves that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we have responded with ingenuity and humility.”

Jeannie and Alper Uyanik, the owners of three Harlem-based restaurants–Harlem Pizza Co., Sliced by Harlem Pizza Co., and Harlem Burger Co.– have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. The devastating impacts of COVID-19 on the restaurant business in New York City was not going to stop them. They were more determined than ever to innovate, maintain employment for their team, and continue to sustain their hard-earned success.

Instead of giving up, they contacted our small business lending team, who helped them bridge the gap between payroll expenses and available savings by applying for a PPP loan. Our small business accounts team also helped them navigate the economic shock by giving them extra time to cover items in their account. In turn, Jeannie and Alper were able to keep making a positive impact on their community.

“We kept our business open and did not lay off a single employee,” Jeannie says. “One of our employees who has been with us through thick and thin has five children. How do you pick who to lay off? How do you make those choices? I didn’t get into this business to destroy a life. But thanks to the PPP loan and the flexibility of Spring Bank, we didn’t have to make those choices.”

Our personalized financial and professional support helped Jeannie and Alper pivot toward takeout and delivery. Now customers can enjoy their wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with locally sourced ingredients and creative names like Ooey Goey and Sweet Fatty from Harlem Pizza Co. Or, just a few blocks down the street, order takeaway burgers from Harlem Burger Co. With patience and resolve, their restaurants have sustained revenues. Some nights, the Uyaniks’ restaurants bring in the same amount of income in takeout than they previously earned in a week!

Despite the challenges they have faced to keep their business open, the Uyaniks have never wavered from their commitment to the Harlem community–where they have opened their businesses and raised their family. Jeannie and Alper sent food to Harlem Hospital for 70 straight days at the height of the lockdowns. They also sent food to a senior community center and two police precincts in the neighborhood.

Their impulse to serve the community when their restaurants were struggling is nothing new; it’s a part of an ethos that has guided their 20 years in business.

“I refuse to throw out a morsel of food,” Jeannie stresses. “We partner with local organizations to make sure that our leftovers go to people who need them. Our food is always so well received, and it’s a great way to give back. If you behave with dignity and decency, I believe things will work out,” she continues. “We are grateful to have the backing of another community-oriented organization like Spring Bank.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences on our economy. As the first B Corp Bank in New York State–we are working hard to keep entrepreneurs afloat with our small business checking account and lending programs. We know that times continue to be tough. Our small business lending and small business account teams are committed to your financial health and will give you hands-on advice and support. To maximize social distancing, you can open a business account online. Virtually or in-person, we are here to help.

At Spring Bank–the first B Corp Bank in New York State–we provide products and services for businesses that help them grow while supporting their employees and communities.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend lives and livelihoods, our commitment to financial and community empowerment is stronger than ever. Keeping this in mind, New York City Businesses and Nonprofits can make this difficult time a little bit easier for employees through our Employee Opportunity Loan Program.

In June, we partnered with fellow New York B Corp,  Eileen Fisher Inc., and the Eileen Fisher Foundation, to customize our EOL program and, with the support of the foundation, to offer a financial helping hand to their employees who were furloughed at the start of the shut-down.

Our Employee Opportunity Loan Program provides access to capital and free financial counseling to help employers better support their employees in this unprecedented moment. Participating employers facilitate access to a small-dollar loan to bridge immediate gaps in cashflow while assisting them in building personal savings and credit for the future.

Employees can get small loans with no minimum credit score requirements and built-in saving and credit-building features. But it’s not just about helping individuals apply for a personal loan; we want to give them the tools for durable financial health.

Employees also have access to free financial counseling with our partners at Neighborhood Trust. Together with their financial counselors, employees can develop a plan to decrease their debt, increase their savings, improve their credit score, and work towards long-term goals.

To learn more about how you can support the financial health of your employees, read about our Employee Opportunity Loan Program. You can also read how we created the program with the Eileen Fisher Foundation on our blog. And stay tuned for our upcoming stories on some of the hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits we supported with PPP loans.

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