Massachusetts Story Archive

Workers Credit Union, One Of The State’s Largest, Doubles Assets In 7 Years

December 16, 2021 —Walk into a Workers Credit Union branch, and you’ll notice the space isn’t dominated by a row of tellers’ windows behind a counter for signing deposit and withdrawal forms.

When so many people have direct deposits or can manage their portfolio through mobile banking, Workers has overhauled its branches to serve different needs.

Instead, a customer might find Olivia — a hologram that speaks 52 languages, including American Sign Language, and Pepper, a robot that can help with basic information or entertain kids.

Workers, which is more than a century old and the state’s fourth largest credit union by total assets as of June, entirely revamped how its branches to look, taking inspiration from an Apple or Tesla store. They have a more spare, modern look and help that is easier to find, said Peter Rice, the credit union’s chief banking officer.

“We threw the design out the window completely,” Rice said.

Workers has 17 branches between Worcester, Lowell and Orange, covering a broad swath of the state between the Merrimack Valley and a quiet region north of the Quabbin Reservoir. It was long based in Fitchburg, in the geographic center of its retail branches, but a year ago moved its main offices to a newly built headquarters just off I-495 in Littleton.


Massachusetts Credit Unions Donate $157,637 to Support “A Bed for Every Child”

July 2021 —  Living their philosophy of ‘people helping people’, Credit Unions in Massachusetts donated $157,637 to “A Bed for Every Child,” an initiative of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless (Coalition), at the Stephen D. Jones Credit Union Charity Golf Tournament.

Ronald McLean, President/CEO of the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA), shared his appreciation to all the credit unions and supporters who are making a difference in the lives of so many children in need of a bed, saying, “The Massachusetts Credit Unions can be proud of their efforts, specifically their leadership role, as credit unions continue to lead the charge in helping the Coalition grow ‘A Bed for Every Child’ program.” ‘A Bed for Every Child’ began in 2012 when a concerned inner-city, public school teacher reached out to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. The teacher shared that many of her students were coming to school extremely tired because they did not have a bed. Knowing that many of the students’ parents could not afford to purchase one, she wondered if the Coalition could help get beds for some of her students – that one inquiry launched
‘A Bed for Every Child.’

Robyn Frost, Executive Director, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, was touched by the generosity of the Massachusetts Credit Unions, saying, “At the start of the pandemic, we needed to shift gears. If Dominos can deliver pizza curbside and contactless, we thought why can’t we deliver beds in the same fashion? And that’s what we did. We just couldn’t have groups build the beds and so our staff was busy, building and delivering beds to more than 2,800 children throughout the state last year and through the generous support of the credit unions, we didn’t miss a beat. We thank you all.”


Division of Banks Joins Multi-State Coalition of Regulators, Inviting U.S. Secretary of Education Cardona to Join Them in Protecting Student Loan Borrowers, Urging the Reversal of Policies that Undermine States’ Oversight of Student Loan Servicers

March 9, 2021 — The Massachusetts Division of Banks joined a multi-state coalition of state financial regulators congratulating Secretary Miguel Cardona on his confirmation and inviting him to partner with states in protecting student loan borrowers across the country.  The letter calls to the Secretary’s attention two existing U.S. Department of Education policies that obstruct states’ ability to regulate the private companies that service federal student loans.  The state regulators urge Secretary Cardona to reverse these policies and join states’ efforts to ensure the student loan servicing industry is a resource for borrowers, not a barrier to relief or source of harm. The legacy policies have created unnecessary obstacles to states implementing common-sense consumer protections and investigating potential misconduct:

DOE issued guidance asserting that federal law preempts states’ regulation of the private companies that service federal student loan, including licensing requirements and other consumer protections.

DOE attempts to use the federal Privacy Act of 1974 as a shield against states’ requests for information, claiming that federal law prohibited student loan servicers from sharing certain information with states.


MA Gov. Baker Signs Credit Union Modernization Bill

Jan. 21, 2021 —  Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed S2828, An Act Modernizing Credit Union Laws, into law on January 12th, making it possible for Massachusetts credit unions to help further improve the lives of their members. The bill has long been a priority for Massachusetts credit unions and is the most important and comprehensive enhancement to the MA credit union state charter in over 30 years.

Throughout the legislative process the importance of credit unions to the Commonwealth in providing vital services to their communities was emphasized. The new law will allow credit unions to adapt to a financial landscape that has shifted dramatically over the last three decades through a more logical and organized system that will better serve the residents of Massachusetts.

The majority of provisions within the bill modernize existing credit union authorities, and address such areas as governance, credit union member authority, transactions, deposits and loans, and technology enhancements.  The new law strengthens credit unions’ ability to enhance the financial stability of their members through streamlined personal loan authority, eliminating the 100-mile radius for real estate loans and increasing partner options for participation loans. It also modernizes a number of governance requirements for credit unions, including their annual meeting processes, electronic member voting, authorizes associate director positions, and streamlines committee composition.


1st credit union to take advantage of new interstate branching law
Feb. 5, 2016 — Lowell, Mass. — Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union said it will open its 10th branch office later this year in Nashua, becoming the first state-chartered credit union to take advantage of a new law allowing for expansion outside Massachusetts (Lowell Sun).

Final amendments for Mass branching law filed
Aug. 4, 2015 – Boston, Mass. – The Division of Banks has filed final amendments to implement new legislation relative to credit union branching.

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