October 8, 2019 – PITTSFIELD – Congressman Richard E. Neal (MA-01), Mayor Linda M. Tyer and two officials from the US Treasury Department, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund Director Jodie Harris and New Markets Tax Credit Program Manager Christopher Allison, toured Greylock Federal Credit Union’s new Community Empowerment Center (CEC) last Wednesday. The visit was to show the officials how Greylock, the only CDFI certified credit union in western Massachusetts, is working to make a difference in the community through financial inclusion and access.
“The CEC will be a great asset to the greater Pittsfield region,” said Congressman Neal. “Last week I was able to hear directly from grateful community members who have already reaped the benefits from this important financial literacy program. As a longtime supporter of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund, seeing it here in action in Pittsfield is remarkable.”
By creating the CEC, Greylock is deepening its commitment to provide access to financial services and tools for those in the community who may be under-served or unbanked.
The CEC is part of Greylock’s multi-million dollar remodel of its original branch at 75 Kellogg Street and is expected in the month of October.
“The CEC will be a space where anyone in our community can access the financial tools and resources they need to thrive and grow,” says Greylock President/CEO John Bissell. “When we realized our coaching and education activities were outgrowing their spaces, it made perfect sense to create a place where people can gather to learn and grow together. That’s who we are, people helping people.”
“As our city continues to advance and flourish, it is vital that our community members have access to resources and services that support their dreams and aspirations,” said Mayor Tyer. “I am thrilled to know that Greylock Federal Credit Union’s new Community Empowerment Center will help to support residents’ personal and financial growth through sound financial literacy education and coaching opportunities.”
Pittsfield resident Nancy Gomez shared her story with the honored guests. Born in Medellin, Colombia, Gomez immigrated to the Berkshires with her family in September of 2017. Since the US banking and credit reporting systems are unique and challenging to navigate, Gomez and her husband had no access to credit or financial services when they first arrived. “Everything is done in cash in Colombia,” said Gomez. “We had never written a check before coming to the United States.”
She reached out to community organizations to help her identify resources and to learn more about her new hometown. That is when she met Gloria Escobar, a community development specialist at Greylock, who was able to guide the family to a path of financial inclusion. Through financial coaching, specialized credit building products, and a lot of hard work and determination by the Gomez family, they now own their own home.
“One of my family’s biggest dreams was always to buy our own house,” Gomez explained to the officials. “Now, thanks to Greylock, that is a reality. We have been living in our own house for more than five months.” Gomez is so grateful for the community support she received when she moved to Pittsfield that she now volunteers to help others find support and guidance.
“It is an honor to be a part of the Gomez family story,” continued Bissell. “This is exactly why Greylock has committed to building the CEC. Everyone should have access to the keys to enrich their lives.”
Greylock membership is open to anyone who lives, works, attends school, worships or regularly conducts business in Berkshire County, the towns of Westfield, Southwick, Granville, Montgomery, and Russell, Massachusetts, Bennington County, VT or Columbia County, NY. Greylock Federal is wholly owned by its more than 88,000 members and offers full-service branches in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Lee, Adams, North Adams, Williamstown, Lanesborough, and Lenox. Greylock has a Low Income Designation (LID) from the NCUA and certification by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund allowing the Credit Union to offer expanded services to low and moderate income families. As a Juntos Avanzamos designated credit union, Greylock is committed to serving and empowering Hispanic and immigrant consumers by helping them navigate the U.S. financial system and providing safe, affordable and relevant financial services. More information is available at www.greylock.org.
Greylock’s family of businesses includes:
- Greylock Insurance Agency, with six locations in Berkshire County and one in Westfield, MA, handles commercial and personal lines including auto, homeowner’s, life, disability, long-term care insurance, all forms of bonding, and 24/7 claims service.
- Greylock Investment Group offers access to a full array of services including financial planning, retirement planning, investment management, mutual funds, annuities and portfolio management.
- Greylock Technology Group provides programming and IT consulting for financial institutions.