Greylock Federal honored with recognitions for commitment to Hispanic and immigrant communities
PITTSFIELD, MA (October 30, 2023) — In recognition of its continued commitment and service to Hispanic and immigrant communities, Greylock Federal Credit Union now has two additional branches, Kellogg Street in Pittsfield and Greenport-Hudson in Columbia County, NY, that are designated as Juntos Avanzamos through its affiliation with Inclusiv.
A member-based credit union organization, Inclusiv empowers credit unions to advance financial inclusion through advocacy, education, technology, and impact investment.
Juntos Avanzamos, which means “Together We Advance,” is a national designation for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic and immigrant consumers – helping them navigate the U.S. financial system and providing safe, affordable and relevant financial services. Juntos Avanzamos credit unions employ bilingual, culturally-competent staff and leadership, accept alternative forms of ID and treat all of their members with respect, regardless of immigration status.
The new designations bring Greylock’s total to four Juntos Avanzamos-designated branches, which include West Street and Lee branches, which received distinctions in 2019. The Credit Union celebrated the distinctions with Juntos Avanzamos flag ceremonies at both its Kellogg Street branch on Friday, Oct. 20 and at Greenport-Hudson on Monday, Oct. 23. Each ceremony included performances from the musical group, Yo Soy Arte.
Greylock CEO and President John Bissell explained the roots of Greylock’s commitment.
“The whole team at Greylock, and the Board, is committed to a program we call IDEA. This stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility. For Greylock, it means that our Credit Union is dedicated to helping anyone and everyone in the communities we serve, regardless of where they come from, how they worship, who they choose to love, their physical abilities, or even how much money they have.
To that end, we are so honored to receive the Juntos Avanzamos designations for our Kellogg and Greenport-Hudson branches from our friends at Inclusiv. It’s a prestigious recognition that reflects a tremendous amount of passion, dedication, and hard work by so many on our Greylock Team.”
At the Kellogg Street ceremony, Cindy Shogry-Raimer, vice president, director of Community Development, reflected on the significance and history of this work. She especially praised her colleague, Gloria Escobar, Senior Community Relations and Financial Wellness Latinx Coach, for her efforts.
“Banking in the U.S. can be challenging for anybody, but it’s especially challenging if English isn’t your first language or you aren’t familiar with our banking processes. Our goal is to make banking easier for everyone, no matter what language you speak, and Juntos Avanzamos is a wonderful recognition of our efforts within the Hispanic and Latinx communities,” said Shogry-Raimer.
“The Community Development department was created in Q4 of 2016, and we have been very committed to developing and enhancing products and services that can assist our New Americans. Gloria has been a strong ally and a great liaison in the community and I would be remiss if I did not thank her for her advocacy, and also thank our CEO John Bissell who actively supports our ideas and efforts,” said Shogry-Raimer.
In 2019, Greylock opened its first-ever Community Empowerment Center (CEC) at Kellogg. Financial education classes are available in Spanish and English. Additionally, at Kellogg, there are two certified IRS ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) agents who submit the ITIN applications – at no charge – for persons who need to pay taxes, build credit and access lending products. This service is often offered by other organizations for a fee that can range anywhere from $200 to $700.
Since the service was introduced in 2019, Greylock has helped just over 1,200 individuals obtain this number.
Escobar shared reflections from a recent conference which affirmed her pride in Greylock’s work.
“I had the opportunity to attend a credit union conference in El Paso, Texas, and more than 100 credit unions from different states gathered there. I was very proud to talk about the programs, principles, and partnerships that we, at Greylock, have developed as we open our arms to welcome immigrants to our community here,” said Escobar. “I am very grateful to be part of this community and to partner with so many caring people who continue to help us and our families succeed in this country. Gracias to all my colleagues at Greylock for helping me to build a stronger community.”
At the Greenport-Hudson ceremony, Branch Manager Shanatia Bygrave, reiterated these sentiments and highlighted the impact of good collaboration.
“What a day it has been. From the reflections to the beautiful music, my heart is full and I hope that you are filled as well. My ask is that we continue to do the good work that we have been doing. How? Well, being an ally, become more inclusive to our new incoming immigrants, showing them that we are here for them to help them navigate their new surroundings in this place that they will now call home,” said Bygrave. “Greylock has allowed us and has given us the resources to give these many wonderful services. I want you all to ask yourselves this question, ‘What can I do to help others advance?’”
For more information on Juntos Avanzamos, please visit inclusiv.org.
The Juntos Avanzamos Flag is raised during a ceremony at Greylock Federal Credit Union’s
branch in Greenport-Hudson, New York on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023.
Greylock President and CEO John Bissell and Branch Manager Shanatia Bygrave at the flag
raising ceremony at the Greylock branch in Greenport-Hudson, New York.
Juntos Avanzamos flag presentation ceremony at Greylock Federal Credit Union’s Kellogg
Street branch in Pittsfield, Mass. Pictured are Greylock’s Senior Community Relations & Latinx
Financial Wellness Coach Gloria Escobar; President and CEO John Bissell; Vice President,
Director of Community Development Cindy Shogry-Raimer; and Financial Wellness Coach II
About Greylock Federal Credit Union
Greylock Federal Credit Union’s vision is to be the face of financial equity and inclusion in the communities we serve by offering personal and business accounts; mobile, online, and phone access to your finances; free financial education for the community as a whole; unique lending products to suit the specific needs of our Members; investment services through Greylock Investment Group; and insurance products through Greylock Insurance Agency.
Greylock is wholly owned by its Members and offers full-service branches in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Lee, Adams, North Adams, Williamstown, Lanesborough, and Lenox, Mass., and Greenport/Hudson, N.Y. Greylock has a Low-Income Designation (LID) from the National Credit Union Administration (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. More information is available at www.greylock.org. Insured by NCUA.