December 27, 2022 – Union County Savings Bank may be known for great CD rates and outstanding customer service, but its commitment to low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities continues to distinguish the institution from peers.
“Our LMI customers are committed to saving and managing their money, and we try to cater to their needs,” says Bill Jones, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth and UCSB board member since 2012. “It’s important to provide as many products and services as we can to the LMI population.”
In addition to basic savings and checking accounts, Union County Savings Bank offers the ability to borrow from a savings account. The bank also remains committed to writing more mortgages for LMI customers.
All four Union County Savings branches — located in Union, Cranford and two in Elizabeth — are accessible by public transportation, and expanded hours accommodate different schedules.
The bank is proud to be headquartered in Elizabeth and hopes to be there for another 139 years, says Joseph Yewaisis, chairman and CEO.
“We are 100% committed to the city of Elizabeth,” Yewaisis says. “Other banks are closing branches in underserved LMI communities, and we’re expanding, making huge capital expenditures. We have an excellent partnership with Mayor (J. Christian) Bollwage and the City Council. We love the city and the diverse, vibrant people who live here—that’s why we have committed five million dollars to renovate our building. We will also be hiring Elizabeth-based companies and workers who reside in the town to complete the renovation.”
The bank also is steadfast in its commitment to the LMI community it serves. One of the first things Yewaisis did when taking over the bank in March 2022 was double the size of the Union County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation. The foundation works to provide financial assistance to low-to-moderate-income communities in Union and Essex counties through grants provided by the bank. The focus areas for grantmaking include education and youth development, housing and neighborhood revitalization, and health and community initiatives.
The Bank launched a multilingual website last year and, next month, will introduce online banking services with plans to expand our service offerings to include Debit Cards, Bill Pay, Zelle transfers, eStatements, and Mobile Banking in the very near future. While these digital enhancements can save customers time and increase convenience by allowing remote transactions, they will not replace the personal touch that distinguishes Union County Savings Bank from its larger competitors, Jones says.
“Many of our customers come into the bank a few days a week because they enjoy the friendly atmosphere,” Jones says. “They feel comfortable and know our staff members will take time to understand their concerns, answer questions and make recommendations. This level of service, like our commitment to Elizabeth, is here to stay.”
This commitment extends to staff members, most of whom come from the LMI neighborhoods the bank serves and reflect the diversity of the area. Bilingual employees also help break down barriers within the community.
“The whole idea of community banking is to serve the community in which your bank is headquartered,” Yewaisis says. “We are lending to the community, we are investing in the community, and we aren’t going anywhere.”
The bank presents free workshops and educational programs on topics such as financial literacy, basic money management for youth, ways to spot and avoid scams that target seniors, and tips to maximize Social Security benefits. Bank staff and leadership work with local agencies, including the United Way, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, and the city housing authority. And the bank’s financial support has helped the Urban League’s first-time homebuyer program.
“We are firmly committed to staying rooted in this community and working with people in our neighborhoods,” Jones says. “We are very low-mod conscious, and you’re going to see a lot of initiatives to do more things. I’m excited about it. Let’s go!”
Union County Savings Bank, which will celebrate its 140th anniversary next year, is FDIC insured, with $1.9 billion in total assets. To reach us, visit unioncountysavings.com or call (908) 354-4600. If you’re interested in joining our diverse and dynamic team, you can learn more by visiting our Careers page.