What do bicycles, the sun, and farm shares have to do with a local financial institution?
If that financial institution is the UMass Five College Credit Union, a lot. As a member-owned credit union, UMassFive prides itself on its suite of specialty loans that members won’t find at other places. Vice President of Marketing Craig Boivin talked about UMassFive’s unique lending products as benefits that make the community-driven, people-focused credit union stand out.
In an area with an abundance of farms, it makes sense for UMassFive to do its part to help ensure everyone has the means to access the fresh produce that is grown here, Craig said. As part of their sustainability lending, the credit union provides 0% interest loans for CSA farm shares. The credit union pays the farmer up front for the seasonal share and the credit union member pays the loan back over the summer in small interest-free monthly payments.
Another sustainability loan is for the purchase and installation of residential and commercial solar electric systems. “We’re one of the few area financial institutions making solar loans,” Craig said.
Also offered as part of UMassFive’s sustainable lending suite is a loan for energy and fuel conservation, which can be used for insulation, home heating expenses, or updating appliances.
Then there’s the bicycle loan, which Craig said is appealing to the college population in the area. “It’s a good way to build credit, and you’re using the power of your legs instead of gas to commute locally,” he added.
“Our mission,” said Craig, “is to make a positive difference in the financial lives of the people and businesses that bank with us.” UMassFive offers programs to promote financial literacy, including “How to Build a Budget,” Understanding Credit,” and a class on how to navigate the home buying process.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you have with us, at UMass Five we answer to our members – we don’t have investors to answer to,” Craig said, noting that the credit union is able to take any surplus it has and give back to members in the form of better rates and fewer fees.
UMassFive began in 1967 as a credit union serving employees of UMass. Over the years it added Amherst, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Hampshire colleges - including faculty and students.
Today, the credit union is capable of serving any person or business in the Western Massachusetts community.
Members can bank at any of six branches, including their main locations off Route 9 in Hadley, and on Route 5 in Northampton, and at branches located at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, the VA Hospital in Leeds, UMass Medical School in Worcester, and the UMass Amherst Campus Center.
With over 45,000 members and over $627 billion in assets, UMassFive offers the same technology as bigger banks do. Members can join or apply for a loan online, utilize mobile banking, control their debit cards by our app, and set fraud alerts,” Craig said.
UMassFive also offers credit cards, mortgages, checking and saving accounts, and retirement planning. “We really do have it all in terms of someone’s financial needs,” Craig noted.
UMassFive is involved in supporting various causes and Craig noted that all sponsorship dollars are spent locally. Whether it’s financial support, volunteering or promoting a cause or event, the credit union is proud to support the communities it serves.
Craig added that UMass Five is currently hiring, including at their Northampton branch location. More information can be found at www.umassfive.coop/careers.
“There are many heart-warming stories from our employees who directly help our members every day." Craig Boivin, VP of Marketing