Page 48 - BusinessWest December 12, 2022
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(413) 499-1600;
Dec. 8: 1Berkshire Annual Meeting, 3 p.m., hosted by Berkshire Innovation Center, 45 Woodlawn Ave., Pittsfield. Each year in December, 1Berkshire hosts a special event for all members. Status and program- ming reports are given, fiscal analysis is discussed,
Chamber Corners: Upcoming Events
and official board business is conducted. Learn about what has happened in FY 2023 and what is
in store for FY 2024. Sponsored by General Dynam- ics Mission Systems, Berkshire Innovation Center, Adams Community Bank, Tricia McCormack Pho- tography, Classical Tents and Party Goods, Berkshire Bank, and BusinessWest. Visit for more information.
(413) 253-0700;
Dec. 14: Holiday Party Celebrating the Carle’s 20th Anniversary, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst. Hospitality provided by Savannas Bar and Bistro.
Continued from page 17
“Many of the demographics are similar to who
we serve best,” he said of the Whip City and the sur- rounding area. “So that is a logical place for us to go.”
While expansion and additional branches are
in the business plan, UMassFive will look for mea- sured, controlled growth, Kump said. “At $625 million in assets, we’re not at a size where we can put up a branch every year. Break-evens on branches seem to be running seven or eight years now, so we need to careful with our expansion.”
Meanwhile, any new branches will be smaller
in size than what has been built historically, simply because fewer customers come to such facilities and technology, such as ITMs, has changed how service is provided, and thus they require smaller staffs, said Kump, adding that the nature of the business con- ducted inside is changing as well.
“Branches are now less a transaction center and more of an advisory center,” he explained. “The things people want to come in for are lending — we do a ton digitally, but for loans, people still like to come in, especially on the commercial side — as well as investments and wealth management. Those are things people like to do in person.”
Another strategic objective at UMassFive is grow- ing the commercial side of the ledger, said Kump, adding that, over the past decade or so, the credit union has built what he called a “commercial infra- structure” of products and services. With that infra- structure now in place, the credit union will work to build its portfolio of clients, he said, adding that there are new products planned as well, as well as a com- mercial credit card.
“For the first 50 years of our existence, it was con- sumers only — individuals and their families,” he told BusinessWest. “And what we found is that some of those consumers also own businesses, and in the
Cost: $20 for chamber members, $25 for non-mem- bers. Reserve tickets at
(413) 534-3376;
Dec. 15: Holiday Ugly Sweater Party, 5-8 p.m., hosted by City Sports Bar and Lounge, 352 High St., Holy- oke. Deck the halls with us this season in your fin- est ugly sweater. There will be food, DJ, cash bar, sweater contest, raffle, and local vendors! Bring an unwrapped toy (for HPD) and/or a blanket (for Prov- idence Ministries) to get an extra ticket sheet. Cost: $20, which includes a raffle sheet.
(413) 584-1900;
Dec. 7: Arrive@5, 5-7 p.m., hosted by Cedar Chest, Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main St., Northamp- ton. Connect with community and the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce. New to or nervous about networking? Join us from 4 to 5 p.m. for our Warm Welcome, where a group of chamber ambassadors will help you ease into the idea before the Arrive@5 begins. This month, we’ll gather at Tel- lus and the Satellite Bar in Thornes Marketplace before heading up to Cedar Chest for the main event. Sponsored by Florence Bank, Thornes Mar- ketplace, and Transhealth. Cost: This is a free event,
“For the first 50 years of our
existence, it was consumers only —
individuals and their families. And
what we found is that some of those
consumers also own businesses,
and in the past, we had to turn that
business away. A number of years
ago, we committed to the local
business community, and we want to
past, we had to turn that business away. A number of years ago, we committed to the local business community, and we want to grow that side of the business.”
One segment of the commercial market that UMassFive is dominating — basically because few other institutions have considered it worthy — is solar energy.
Indeed, since 2017, the credit union has written more than $100 million in loans for residential solar projects, said Kump, adding that it has partnered with the Clean Energy Center to connect low-income households with solar air-source heat pumps.
“It’s a huge niche, and it’s mostly ignored by other financial institutions — when it comes to the true residential solar loan, I know of just one other institu- tion in Western Mass. that offers it,” Kump explained,
open to the public.
(413) 568-1618;
Dec. 7: Mayor’s Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Pot- tery Cellar, 77 Mill St., Westfield. Join Mayor Michael McCabe and hear about what’s going on in Westfield and ask questions. Cost: free. To register, visit www.
Dec. 15: Morning Brew, 8-9 a.m., hosted by Shaker Farms Country Club, 866 Shaker Road, Westfield. Introduce your business to the group and take advantage of this networking opportunity. Cost: free. To register, visit
Dec. 16: Holiday Breakfast, 7-9 a.m., hosted by East Mountain Country Club, 1458 East Mountain Road, Westfield. This is one of our most popular events, so don’t miss out on your chance to attend. Platinum sponsor: Mestek Inc. Gold sponsors: Westfield Gas & Electric and Berkshire Bank. Bronze sponsors: Unit- ed Way of Pioneer Valley and Commercial Distribut- ing Co. Inc. There will be holiday singing by West- field High School Chorus members, and we will be collecting donations for the Share the Warmth coat drive. Cost: $35 for members, $40 for non-members. To register, visit
adding that the biggest reason why is that such offer- ings amount to unsecured loans, and few banks and credit unions have an appetite for such lending.
UMassFive has the expertise — its chief commer- cial officer is certified in commercial solar lending — and a track record of success in this realm that it’s looking to build upon.
“We find that they perform as well as equity loans,” he said, adding that, while the market for such loans has softened recently because the tax credits for such installations have diminished, their eligibility requirements have expanded to include nonprofit institutions such as churches, as well as municipalities.
“We were an early adopter, we understand the industry, we know how it works, we support that industry, and it’s a big piece of who we are,” he said, adding that the clean-energy portfolio extends beyond solar and into energy-efficiency projects, both residential and commercial, such as those administered by Mass Save.
Bottom Line
As he surveys the banking and financial-services landscape, Kump sees plenty of challenges ahead — from projections of a further slowing of the economy to rising interest rates in the housing market and growing competition for customers in this sector.
But he also sees opportunities for institutions that have the ability to adapt and respond to chang- ing customer needs in a proactive, forward-thinking manner.
That has been the MO at UMassFive for more than a half-century now, and it is the pattern that will con- tinue into the future. u
George O’Brien can be reached at [email protected]
            grow that side of the business.
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