Kathryn C., a resident of Jamestown, NY, and one of our Assistive Technology Loan Program clients, reached out to her online community for support when she was looking for help purchasing an accessible van for her wheelchair. After several knee surgeries, Kathyrn realized she needed to use a wheelchair more regularly.

“When my husband passed six years ago, I couldn’t go up and down the stairs anymore. I knew I needed to use a wheelchair, and to find an [accessible] van, too,” shares Kathyrn.

After discovering Mobility Works, one of the leading dealers of wheelchair vans, Kathryn picked out a 2015 Town & Country, five-passenger van. With a side ramp that deploys, she can come into the van and drive securely with her wheelchair stabilized by a custom lockdown system; the van also has a second lockdown system for passengers. Kathryn wasn’t certain, however, that she could afford it. Thankfully, a family member led her to our partner, National Disability Institute (NDI), and our Assistive Technology Loan Program.

Through the partnership with NDI and the Assistive Technology Loan Program, individuals can purchase assistive technology devices they need without incurring high-interest debt. Kathryn was approved for a loan of $37,000 to cover the cost of the modified van.  After being denied by her bank, she was surprised to be approved for a 10-year loan at a 4% interest rate.

“Spring Bank was wonderful. The Assistive Technology Loan Program is the only way I could have purchased the van. I was even able to purchase the extended warranty, and all of it was done online,” explains Kathryn. “I got my independence back. I really don’t know what I would have done without this opportunity.”

With an accessible van to support her day-to-day mobility, Kathryn is grateful to no longer rely on transportation buses, which often require long waiting times, and to relieve her daughter of caretaking, too.

“My daughter was my aide and working for me, and it was great to spend time with her. But now she can spend time with me as my daughter,” shares Kathryn. “It’s so great to take myself to therapy once a week and do my own shopping.”

Kathryn feels ready to move back to her hometown to be closer to her family.

“My parents are aging, and I really miss the water. I grew up on the water,” she says. “Now I can go anytime I want.”

Learn more about the details of the Assistive Technology Loan Program and our partnership with National Disability Institute. If you or a loved one are in need of assistive technology products or devices that can improve your independence and quality of life, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Primary Information: A Spring Bank Nonprofit Feature

A Brooklyn-based organization and one of our nonprofit clients, Primary Information, works to “advance the often-intertwined relationship between artists’ books and arts’ activism,” by publishing artists’ books and writings at affordable rates to the public and creating a platform for historically marginalized artistic communities. Building on the tradition of the artist book medium dating back to the 1960s, Primary Information is committed to democratizing the distribution of artists’ books.

“Executive Editor and Artistic Director James Hoff started the press with Miriam Katzeff back in 2006 with the idea of bringing long out-of-print, inaccessible publications back into circulation at affordable prices by creating facsimile editions, working to reproduce the original publications as closely as possible to their original form— including matching the original paper stocks as closely as possible,” says Matthew Walker, Executive Director of Primary Information.

They also work with contemporary artists to commission new publications, facilitating intergenerational dialogue with historical publications that remain of critical relevance to contemporary conversations and welcoming the next era of readers.

“Part of our mission is to foster diverse conversation between these historical publications and newer generations of artists working at the vanguard of contemporary practice,” explains Matthew.

The artist list at Primary Information is extensive and includes Pippa Garner, author of the 1982 Better Living Catalog, who has had a recent Renaissance in her career and whose book is already in its third printing since being published in facsimile form in June 2023. The organization’s most recent title, On and Off-Screen Imaginaries by contemporary artist Tiffany Sia, is a collection of six essays written in the wake of the 2019-2020 Hong Kong Protests. Check out their complete catalog here.

The Primary Information team continually reflects on how they can create a more inclusive experience for readers, starting with affordable prices. For example, the price range for a publication is $10 to $40. And $40 gets you a lot for your money: a 600-page, full-color book. Their subscription program, priced at just $125 for the year, is a deal, shipping every book they produce to subscribers for a calendar year.

“We price our books at cost with the aim of breaking even on the production costs of the books, so we have to supplement our sales revenue with grants and donations. We have a generous community who supports our mission to make artists’ books affordable and accessible,” says Matthew.

Primary Information has been a nonprofit customer since 2018, and we are proud to be part of their community.  As a community bank in Bronx, NY, they knew we prioritized the needs of the city’s hardworking small business owners and nonprofits.

“Spring Bank is very supportive of small businesses, and they give lines of credit to organizations that might not otherwise be able to get one, including nonprofit organizations like us,” says Matthew. “Our line of credit was invaluable to helping us navigate cash flow, especially when our budget was smaller.”

It was also our pleasure to support Primary Information through the pandemic with PPP lending and to offer them one-to-one support when they need it. Despite the distance between their offices and our branches in the Bronx, they have never found an issue with accessing the services they need.

“It is so rare to have a personal relationship with your banker these days,” says Matthew. “We use the app and online mobile banking platform daily and have never had an issue doing business in different boroughs than the branch.”

We hope you will take the time to learn more about Primary Information. You can also read more about how we can help your nonprofit manage cash flow through a line of credit or nonprofit checking account. Our nonprofit checking account benefits include no maintenance fees, remote deposit capture, mobile deposit, and personalized service. And if you’re a small business owner, we have what you need via our business checking account or another one of our small business accounts.

Mother helping her son with his Hearing Aid

 

“Where else can you get a 4% loan? I would not have been able to purchase the equipment at all. I have three more years of payments, and it’s manageable. The assistive vision technology has made all the difference for me.” — Karen Bezem, Assistive Technology Loan Program Recipient 

Are you or a loved one having challenges affording the medical devices and assistive technology you need? Hearing and vision aids, communication devices, environmental adaptations, wheelchairs, and home or vehicle modifications – can be expensive. We know that often, these types of expenses are unexpected.

That’s why we are happy to share that through our partnership with National Disability Institute (NDI)— the first national nonprofit committed exclusively to financial inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities—individuals can purchase devices they need without getting caught in high-interest debt. Spring Bank and National Disability Institute can help you find and afford assistive technology through the Assistive Technology Loan Program.

The NDI Assistive Technology Loan Program includes a loan of up to $45,000 with competitive interest rates and no credit score requirements for residents of New York and New Jersey. Built into the program is also the opportunity to build credit with every timely loan payment reported to credit bureaus.

Assistive technology products or devices that can improve your independence and quality of life may include:

  • Computer equipment
  • Hearing aids
  • Vision aids
  • Modified vehicles
  • Scooters/wheelchairs 
  • Accessible bathrooms
  • Smart home technology

“Spring Bank is very generous. We found out together that a credit score and debt-to-income ratio aren’t as important as being able to verify that a person can afford their monthly expenses, that they are addressing their outstanding credit, and that they can afford the costs of these loans, too,” says Laurie Schaller, Manager Financial Empowerment at National Disability Institute.

Additionally, Laurie and her team at NDI will work as your financial guides, ensuring you can afford the technology you need before you take out the loan. They can help you create a spending plan and understand any benefits you may be eligible for to help people afford their monthly expenses. NDI may even be able to help you find additional funding to help reduce the size of the needed loan; this may be helpful for people who need to hire a contractor for home adjustments for a wheelchair or need a modified vehicle with hand controls, for example.

“For the majority of people who call us, we can usually find a grant or other line of funding to help them purchase the assistive technology and maybe reduce the amount of loan they need,” explains Laurie.

The Assistive Technology Loan Program provides affordable loans of up to $45,000 for the purchase or refinance of assistive technology to residents of New Jersey and New York. Learn more about this opportunity or contact NDI at 202.449.9521

 

After a historical hiatus throughout the pandemic, borrowers now face federal student loan repayment. Evaluating your full financial picture and making a repayment plan can go a long way toward reducing stress and uncertainty. Unsure where to start? Here are a few tips from our nonprofit partner, GreenPath Financial Wellness. 

Verify servicer(s). 

As an outcome of contract transfers and terminations mid-pandemic, your servicer(s) may have changed since 2020. You may need to confirm who will receive future payments and ensure they have your updated contact information. 

If you have private loans, review any correspondence you’ve received from your original loan servicer, reach out to your school’s financial aid office for help tracking that information, or visit AnnualCreditReport.com for a free weekly report that lists loans in your name.  

If you have federal loans, visiting the Federal Student Aid website is the simplest, most efficient way to access your federal loan information and verify current servicers. You’ll first need to log in with your FSA ID (create one here if you don’t have one already.) Once logged in, you can view your original principal amount, current balance, and interest rate as well.

Evaluate repayment. 

A lot can change in three years. Is your student loan payment still affordable? Check out the Department of Education’s Loan Simulator to help decide what repayment strategy fits your priorities—for example, do you value a lower monthly payment or a faster payoff? Look into an income-driven repayment plan that considers your current earnings and can lower your monthly payment. 

Set aside savings.

Once you know your monthly loan payment, transfer that amount to a separate savings account, starting immediately. By accounting for this reduction in your budget sooner rather than later, you’ll lessen the initial impact of repayment (since you’ll now have money set aside), and you’ll be back in the habit of making this a monthly routine. With one of the best savings accounts online, we offer competitive interest rates to help you save while you repay. 

Consider consolidation.

Depending on whether you have federal loans, private loans, or a combination, loan consolidation could potentially reduce your payment burden. For federal loans, you can apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, which allows you to combine education loans with zero application costs, and most people complete the process in 30 minutes or less. 

Seek support.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of repayment, you don’t have to figure it all out on your own! AS a community bank in Bronx, NY, we partner with GreenPath Financial Wellness, which offers free student loan counseling. GreenPath counselors help you look at your total financial picture to develop a personalized repayment plan, including how to simultaneously contribute to your personal savings account as you get out of debt. 

Learn more about our partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness and how you can access free financial counseling.  

This article is shared by our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness, a trusted national non-profit.

A Small Business Feature

Imagine what it would be like to feed the entire city of New York. Great Performances considers every community they touch in the course of their business. Founded in 1980 as a catering and event staffing agency, their mission was to offer a flexible source of income for women in the arts. Forty years later, Great Performances is one of the city’s most highly regarded catering companies, serving delicious food and providing impeccable service while maintaining a deep commitment to giving back to their communities.

From the Apollo Theatre to the Wollman Rink and parties for every occasion, Great Performances offers dining and wait staffing for private events, nonprofit galas and fundraisers, and corporate engagements. As a leader in the hospitality, catering, and events industry, they set the bar for industry best practices in food security, education, sustainable agriculture, and community development, and they constantly innovate to improve their environmental and social impact. For example, in 2006, founder Liz Neumark established Katchkie Farm in Hudson Valley, becoming the nation’s first caterer to own and operate a NOFA-certified organic farm. The nutritious fresh produce grown at Katchkie is a source of inspiration and ingredients for Great Performances chefs.

“It is always a great privilege as a chef to be able to collaborate with a farmer. Once a vegetable has been put into the ground, I feel it’s my responsibility to think about how to utilize it best. This not only goes for the main part of the plant but the whole plant. A good example of this is basil: I won’t just use the perfect leaves but also use the buds and flowers that have a huge amount of flavor and dry very well. These can be incorporated into pesto in the fall,” shares Andrew Smith, Culinary Director at Great Performances.

Almost all resources from the farm are intentionally utilized. For example, edible blossoms grown through the warmer months are dried for autumn meals. Great Performances collaborates with its partners to distribute CSA shares at local food pantries and community refrigerators. Upcycling, fermentation, and pickling are the cornerstone of all products that come into the Great Performances kitchen,” says Chris Harkness, Chief Operations Officer at Great Performances.

During the pandemic, Great Performances provided emergency food services for first responders and frontline healthcare workers and meal services for homebound seniors. They also actively support initiatives such as Grow NYC and City Harvest that are nourishing the city.

With an eye always on impact, Great Performance Catering supports healthy nutrition. They offer Embrace: Wellness at their corporate dining locations, providing tips, recipes, and menus that support healthy eating. In 2007, Liz Neumark founded The Sylvia Center to help teach youth and their families about the connection between food and health. And in 2022, the company also re-established Mae Mae Café as a vegan cafe and plant store on the first floor of their Bronx commissary in Mott Haven.

At Spring Bank, we value Great Performances’ business model rooted in partnership, arts, and sustainability, and civic responsibility. With over 1,000 employees, Great Performances is an essential NY institution, and we are proud to support them with their banking and financial needs as a local bank in the Bronx, New York.

Learn more about the impact of Great Performances in their communities. Follow them on social media. And if you’re looking to join an exceptional team, they are hiring now, especially in wait staffing.

No matter the size of your business, we have the resources and personnel to support your business. When you have a small business account with a small bank in NY, you’ll get the same offerings that you can get from a big conventional bank but with the personal customer service that you just can’t get anywhere else. And if you’re a small business looking to open a new business bank account or curious about our services, contact us.

Did you know that you can earn rewards just by using your Spring Bank debit card?

In today’s economy, we understand you are looking for ways to maximize every dollar. Our  ScoreCard® Rewards Program does just that. When you enroll your debit card linked to your personal checking account or business checking account, you’ll be able to earn points on every dollar you spend, which you can redeem for unique rewards. For example, you can cash in your points for new technology, home goods, travel, entertainment, and more.

And we are happy to announce that we’ve recently made some upgrades to get you even more perks!

You can now save money on your purchases at select Walmart and CVS stores by redeeming your points as cashback on the spot. You automatically accrue points when you open a personal checking account or business checking account with us.  With our new cashback option available at select Walmart and CVS locations, you can save money on your transaction using your Spring Bank debit card at the register or self-checkout.

Here’s how to earn and start redeeming your ScoreCard® Rewards:

  1. First, create a ScoreCard® account so you can access the points you accumulate with your Spring Bank debit card.
  2. Make purchases with your Spring Bank debit card from your personal checking account or business checking account as you usually would – both are eligible to earn and redeem points.
  3. Redeem your points for travel, merchandise (i.e., electronics, appliances, and more), or experiences such as concerts and special events.

Remember, you can earn points even faster if you hold multiple debit cards by accruing points from all your cards into one rewards account. In addition, households who have multiple Spring Bank debit cards can join their accounts to build points and earn rewards faster.

Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of two great promotions with our ScoreCard® Rewards Program today:

  1. Receive 2,500 bonus points when you enroll in ScoreCard® Rewards and complete your first eligible purchase with your Spring Bank debit card.
  2. Our annual birthday gift to you! When you enroll in ScoreCard®, you automatically receive 500 bonus points on your birthday every year — on us.

Get the most out of your spending by signing up for ScoreCard Rewards today! You deserve the perks. Receive 2,500 bonus points when you enroll and make a purchase. Learn more.

Long gone are the days of receiving documents about your financial information as a hard copy in the mail. Physical copies come with risks and inconveniences. For example, if you live in a multi-unit apartment complex, your mail might get sent to the wrong recipient. Also, accumulating documents can take up extra space in your apartment. Take the easy, efficient, and environmentally friendly route with E-Statements: paperless financial records you can access through your mobile and desktop devices.

With E-Statements, you can access your personal checking account or business checking account activity with just the click of a button. Enrolling is extremely simple. All you need is an email address, and you’ll have 24/7 access to your monthly statements through the Spring Bank mobile app. You’ll never have to print or recycle your statements ever again. Plus, enrolling in e-Statements is completely free and eliminates the monthly service charges that mailed statements incur.

As a bank in New York, we know how busy life can get in the city. So, save yourself time, money, and stress by taking the easier route with E-Statements. This feature grants you access to your financial information whenever you need it and supports our climate goals as a B Corp and member of the Global Alliance for Banking On Values.

Join Us, The Equitable Commute Project, & Propel Bikes on July 31st at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Are you a delivery worker interested in upgrading your e-bike?

In case you haven’t yet heard, New York law requires that by September 2023, all e-bikes sold in New York City must be UL-2849 certified. Because of recent fires caused by lithium batteries, this legislation is intended to keep New Yorker bikers safer with the highest safety certification available today.

As a proud member of the Equitable Commute Project, we are excited to invite you to join us for our first Bike Trade-In Event on July 31st at the Brooklyn Navy Yard [134 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205] along with Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, and other officials. Our partner, Propel Bikes, will provide the new Tern Quick Haul e-bike, UL2849 certified, with two Bosch batteries. They will also offer test rides on July 12th and July 19th.

To be eligible, participants must own the e-bike and bring in their bike and at least one battery for recycling. All trade-in vehicles will be safely and sustainably recycled by My Battery Recyclers.

Take Advantage of our GoGreen Cycle Loan

At our first trade-in event, selected delivery workers can trade their e-bike for discounted UL-certified e-bike. The first 25 participants will be eligible to purchase a Tern Quick Haul e-bike with two Bosch batteries for $1,900 (plus tax). This represents a 40 percent discount from the retail price of $3,775 (plus tax). Old vehicles and batteries will be safely recycled. To cover the balance of $1,900, drivers selected for the trade-in event can apply for our GoGreen Cycle Loan.
The loan has no credit score minimum requirement, and loan applicants can use IDNYC as their primary form of identification. While no prior relationship with us at Spring Bank is required, we hope you’ll consider opening a personal checking or savings account as the most efficient way to process and make payments on a loan. As a mission-based bank, we will be happy to have you as a customer.

Learn more about the great work of the Equitable Commute Project, the E-Bike Trade-In Program, and how our GoGreen Cycle Loan works.

Questions about the Equitable Commute Project? Contact [email protected]
Questions about our GoGreen Cycle Loan Program? Contact Katherine Martinez at [email protected]

In Partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness 

Congratulations to the Class of ’23! For all of you donning caps and gowns (or for those who have a graduating family member), we’ve compiled some money management action items that can pave the path to future financial success. While everyone’s financial circumstances are unique, it helps everyone to know where to start.

Build a budget. 

Creating a budget is the foundation of effective money management. Start by tracking your income and expenses in a personal checking account for 30 days. Most budgeting apps provide a visual breakdown of spending trends with suggestions on where to save. One standard budgeting method is to allocate 50-70% of your income towards necessities like rent, groceries, and transportation, 10-20% towards discretionary spending, and 20% to a personal savings account. Consider your financial picture and determine how you might include personal savings as a regular part of your budget.

Spend mindfully. 

While graduation is a reason to celebrate (and you should!), this is also a great time to practice mindful spending, especially if college — and the accompanying costs — are going to be part of your financial future. Differentiate between wants and needs and try only to buy items you can afford. This will help you avoid the accumulation of credit card debt.

Set up a personal checking account & personal savings account.

If you haven’t already crossed this one off your financial bucket list, graduation season is the perfect excuse to do so. Opening a personal savings account and a personal checking account is the first big step toward financial independence. If you’re ready to start your financial journey with one of just a few, mission-driven community banks in NY, we would love to support you.

To open an account, you’ll just need a few things on hand:

  • Proof of mailing address
  • Your social security number or an ITIN
  • Government-issued ID (like a passport or driver’s license)

Establish healthy credit. 

Building a positive credit history early in life lays the essential groundwork for solid financial health. Building good credit will benefit you when applying for loans, renting an apartment, buying a car, or securing specific job roles.

If your credit is not where you want it to be, we can help you get there. Our Credit Builder Loan was designed to help establish a healthy credit score and savings, a great tool to help people build credit for the first time. To start, the loan proceeds are placed in a personal savings account to secure the loan. Then, each month we report your payments to the credit bureaus. When you make the final payment, the loan proceeds are available, or you may continue to build your savings. Learn more about building credit through our Credit Builder Loan. You can also check out this article for easy-to-implement credit-boosting tips: 6 Factors That Affect Your Credit Score (And Simple Ways to Boost It).

Empire Tool Rental, A Small Business Feature

“I know Spring Bank has my back. My business is built on relationships, and I can’t speak more highly of the caring, quality relationship I have with Spring Bank.” — Terry Fuhrman, CEO of Empire Tool Rental.

Born in Jackson Heights, Queens, native New Yorker & CEO of Empire Tool Rental, Terry Fuhrman, describes his entrepreneurial journey as an adventure.

“Business can feel like a merry-go-round. I didn’t know how to start one, and I did. I didn’t know how to sell one, and I did. You’re always figuring out the next step,” he explains.

What Terry is most certain of in his business journey is the invaluable importance of maintaining healthy, collaborative relationships. At the top of 2023, Terry expanded Empire Tool Rentals by purchasing a building in the Bronx from a landlord he worked with in his twenties. We are proud to have provided Terry with a commercial real estate loan for the purchase.

“In my much younger years,” Terry laughs, “I was in the conference room of the property I just purchased, selling Gary Mahoney, the owner, rental tool packages.”

Today, Terry is the proud owner of Empire Tool Rental, formerly known as Air Tools Sales & Repair, a one-hundred-year-old Bronx tool repair company. Located in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx, Empire Tool Rental rents, sells, and services tools and equipment for a wide range of customers – including contractors, municipalities, special events, and facility managers.

When Terry acquired the business from the owner and his friend in 2019, he brought his tool rental expertise as a secondary revenue stream.

We met Terry years ago through a mutual contractor friend, so when Terry needed guidance with a commercial real estate loan, he knew he could turn to Akbar Rizvi, our Chief Lending Officer. Like Empire Rental Tools, we are also a relationship-based business, and it was our privilege to be part of the growth of the century-old Bronx business.

“Not only did I expand my business, but the loan with Spring Bank also helped me purchase a real estate property which I can rent out no matter what happens with the market or the business,” explains Terry.

For the next three to five years, Terry is focused on growth. With a new location in Florida and the expansion in the Bronx, he will continue to explore consolidation and acquisition opportunities. We look forward to supporting Empire Tool Rental along the way.

“The commercial real estate loan gave me capital to get going, and now I have a foundation. If you own a small business in the Bronx, Spring Bank is there to help you. Demetris saw the big picture for Empire Tool Rental. I can’t talk more fondly about Spring Bank,” says Terry.

We proudly support hundreds of small businesses like Empire Rental Tool across New York City with affordable loan products. We offer commercial, mixed-use, and multi-family real estate loans between $100,000 and $6,000,000. Our dedicated lending team will walk you through every step of the process and help you set up your new business bank account with access to all the great features of our business checking account, like Autobooks.

Learn more about small business accounts and how you can take advantage of our personalized approach to banking as one of the only community banks in Bronx, NY.