Page 8 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
P. 8

the building, and the office, he was sitting in.
This is the inverted-triangle-shaped office tower off I-91, across the
street from the Holyoke Mall. It was once the headquarters to Heritage Bank, which famously failed amid excess and scandal in 1992, a time when many institutions were failing and the banking industry was in a state of turmoil.
“The top floor here, the eighth floor, is much larger than the second floor, because of the shape of the building,” he explained. “Heritage had four offices on the eighth floor; we have maybe 30 on the second floor now. The eighth floor was extremely opulent. Joe Lobello, our president at the time, was pretty adamant that he did want the negative associa- tion of a failed bank; we were looking to move our headquarters, but he did not want to buy this building because of that negative association.
“Joe realized how inexpensive it would be to buy this building as opposed to building something new, so he finally acquiesced,” Senecal went on. “But my office is on the second floor because Joe did not want to be associated with the opulence of the eighth floor. Twenty-five or so years ago, Joe’s office was on the second floor, and today, my office is still here.”
Perhaps, but very little else about this sector is the same as it was a few decades ago. As noted earlier, institutions have disappeared, and many others have changed their name, in many cases dropping the word ‘Savings’ from the sign over the door because that word did not accurately reflect all that an institution could provide for its clients.
“There’s not necessarily that loyalty now, especially when people can go online and see what others are pay- ing on accounts or charging for fees or charging for loan rates. So you have to be more competitive.”
“When I started working in credit unions almost 20 years ago, our financial services were fairly simple,” said Duffy, speaking for other credit unions and banks as well. “It was a savings account, a checking account, and, most commonly, a car loan, a mortgage, or a personal loan. We’ve evolved with the economy and with the region, and it’s so complex now, the many things that we can offer — all the many things that we can do with cards and mobile apps, and all the ways we’re try- ing to be more accessible to people and really innovating around the idea of financial wellness.
“That’s what credit unions were founded to address all those years ago,” she went on. “But we were addressing it in a more simple way 40 years ago than we are today.”
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts/Connecticut border, which wasn’t crossed by institutions based on either side years ago, is now readily crossed, with PeoplesBank advancing south, for example, and Liberty marching north.
The biggest change, though, has come in how people bank and the technology they use. It brings convenience, obviously, with people able to do almost everything by phone now.
This convenience brings expectations, on the part of consumers and commercial clients alike, Glidden said. “Everyone is trying to deliver that Amazon experience, and it’s of great importance today for a bank to stay up with what the consumer’s expectations are — and that’s high- er, probably, than what banks have historically delivered.”
But this convenience also brings the ability to change banks quite easily, said Welch, which is forcing institutions of all sizes to pay even more attention to what the competition is doing and adjust to remain competitive.
“At the touch of a button, people can move their money anywhere, within seconds or minutes,” he said. “It used to be that you would have to go into the bank and have them draw up a cashier’s check, go down the street, sit down with someone to open a deposit account, and then move money over. Now, it can be done in an instant.
“So there’s not necessarily that loyalty now, especially when people can go online and see what others are paying on accounts or charging for fees or charging for loan rates,” Welch went on. “So you have to be
 We’ve Got Business Lending
 Commercial Lenders VP Darlene Mark & SVP Rob Chateauneuf, with Commercial Loan Officer Catherine Rioux.
Projects We’ve Recently Financed
Commercial Real Estate
Real Estate Purchase Agawam, MA
Commercial Construction
Land Purchase & Development Somers, CT
Commercial Real Estate
Property Management Springfield & Holyoke, MA
Commercial Term Loan
Landscaping Equipment East Longmeadow, MA
  Contact our Commercial Lending Team
413-267-1254 or [email protected] MEMBER FDIC I MEMBER DIF
     8 MAY 13, 2024
<< 4OTH ANNIVERSARY >> BusinessWest

   6   7   8   9   10