Financial Profile 2016 – Salem Co-operative Bank
Salem Co-operative Bank Pays It Forward
pay it forward /pã/ /it/ /’fôrwrd/
Colloquial phrase. Share your fortune with others and in doing so the health, wealth and kindness in the world will exponentially increase.
The team at Salem Co-operative Bank believes in the value of paying it forward in all ways, great and small. The financial institution sponsors local little league teams, and hosts events such as the Hidden Jewel Gala, an annual celebration that honors the unsung heroes who quietly work to make the southern New Hampshire community stronger and more vibrant. Salem Co-op also recognizes that paying it forward is a daily endeavor. It’s one of the reasons customers are welcomed with a warm greeting and a hot cup of coffee when they come into the bank. Sharing a positive attitude sets the tone for people’s banking experience, and sometimes their entire day.
Salem Co-op is a mutual bank, which means their customers are their stakeholders. When those you answer to could include your own grandmother, a close friend or a neighbor, giving back to the community has a deeper, more significant meaning.
Supporting charities is another way to put a human face on a sometimes indifferent exterior for many larger banking institutions. Salem Co-op’s “paying it forward” culture comes from its employees, many of whom volunteer at local organizations. Oftentimes, the bank adopts charities and groups as the result of an individual staff member’s involvement.
Take the charitable efforts of Sarah H. Rastello, Salem Co-op’s senior vice president of retail banking & business development. In addition to the multitude of responsibilities her title suggests, Rastello is involved in several community-based organizations, and has a particular soft spot for charities that address the needs of underprivileged children. Her typical day might include attending charitable event committee meetings, meeting with the staff at the Methuen and Salem, N.H., bank branches, ensuring a seamless experience for the bank’s customers, and possibly doing a little D.I.Y. furnace repair (you’ve got to make do when the plumber is out of town) somehow, amazingly, she finds the energy to give back.
One of the many charitable organizations Rastello supports is the Lawrence-area board for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The area board is comprised of DCF staff, and teachers and staff from the Lawrence Public Schools and county court systems. The group recruits foster parents and empowers social workers. Rastello has a personal connection to this cause: Both her mother and her grandmother took in children from the foster care system. Over the course of 25 years, more than 125 children were placed in Rastello’s mother’s home. They didn’t always stay for long, but they left a lasting impression on her.
Another of the programs Salem Co-op and Rastello provide financial support and assistance for is the ABA Camp at Merrimack College. ABA is a weeklong, intensive basketball summer camp for youths ages 8 to 16. The college’s basketball coach, Burt Hamel, runs the program. Students who are active in the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club with good grades, a history of polite behavior, and good citizenship skills are eligible for the program. The kids are coached and mentored by Merrimack College student volunteers, many of whom are former campers themselves. With any luck, each graduating class of campers will continue the tradition of helping the next generation, living the bank’s goal of paying it forward.
Rastello commends the bank’s commitment to the community. Programs like the Lawrence DCF board and the ABA Basketball Camp need financial support to survive. They also need people. Rastello is able to leave the branches she manages in order to reach out to possible centers of influence for foster parent recruitment seminars and deliver popsicles and treats to aspiring young athletes
While helping children is a major focus of the Salem Co-op crew, it’s only a sampling of the bank’s charitable efforts. They and their employees contribute money and service to dozens of groups including the Methuen Festival of Trees and the Relay for Life. The bank’s varied and extensive commitment to the Merrimack Valley community is a point of pride for Rastello. Although, she is quick to mention, her work is the culmination of a group effort. She says, “There are so many people here that give. I couldn’t do what I do without their support. They make me look good. When I’m doing community events to represent the bank, I don’t worry about it [the bank] because I’ve got very bright people that work with me. It makes it easy for me to do what I do. The dedicated people working with me make it possible.”
Salem Co-operative Bank: Methuen and Salem, N.H.
(978) 682-1010 / (603) 893-3333 / SalemCoop.com