Get personal with MyCom Federal Credit Union
Downtown institution has been helping with community banking needs since 1955
PITTSFIELD — At some banks, you're just a number.
MyCom Federal Credit Union, it's the opposite, says credit union CEO Nancy Canino of Pittsfield.
Canino ought to know, as she's worked at there for 23 years, since the same year the credit union moved from its longtime home in City Hall to 101 Fenn St.
Started in 1955 to serve city workers, the former Pittsfield Municipal Federal Credit Union now serves the greater Berkshire community, offering no-fee ATM use and speedy replies on loans for North and South County members.
Membership, as the old American Express ad goes, has its privileges, and it costs only $5 to begin.
Canino started off at the credit union as a part-time teller and worked her way up to loan officer, from there operations officer, and finally as its CEO. Born and raised in Pittsfield, Canino says that her customers are friends and neighbors.
'We know them by faces and their names'
“When people come into in our bank, we don't even need to need to see account numbers because we know them by faces and their names,” says Canino.
Lisa Laughnane, MyCom's chief financial officer, also came up humbly through the ranks, beginning as a part-time teller while in high school.
“The credit union has offered me continuous support and encouragement,” says Laughnane, who went on to complete her master's degree in accounting and finance, while working at MyCom during time off through college. Canino says Laughnane provides the same support right back to MyCom and its members.
Well-familiar with the Berkshire banking landscape, Laughnane says what sets MyCom apart from its competitors is a focus on customer service, not lip service or profit margins; it's even written into the mission of the nonprofit business.
“Providing personalized services to friends, family and neighbors of the community is what’s special about MyCom,” says Laughnane. “The credit union distinguishes itself by maintaining connections and relationships that we build with our members and community.”
Speaking of community, the credit union is democratically controlled by a board chosen by the membership; there's an annual meeting to attend, and the election of the board of directors.
“The credit union is member-owned and built around the needs of that membership,” says Canino.
What does all that mean for customer members?
It means being helped directly by Canino through the window of the Fenn Street business (the offices have been closed to the public since the coronavirus pandemic began, but banking continues online, over the phone, at the door and window); or maybe it's Laughnane giving out free ice cream on a hot day.
“Customer service is about offering advice, making a great effort and doing everything we can to assist our members and help them achieve their financial goals,” says Laughnane. “The pandemic has not put a halt to MyCom’s mission — the major focus remains on personal banking and making accommodations to assist our community.”
No exorbitant fees
Other banks require you to keep balances in your checking or savings accounts, or be hit with fees. “We don't do that,” Canino says of her community-minded credit union, which is a charitable sponsor of the Special Olympics and the benefactor behind a scholarship for Berkshire high school seniors, as well as donating throughout the year to regional groups.
There are no ATM fees for members, members of Greylock Federal and county Rite Aid shoppers, with which MyCom holds reciprocal arrangements (even if you're a nonmember now, you can skip the $6 fee at one of the other Berkshire banks and instead pay half that at MyCom's downtown cash machine). Members won't get dinged by MyCom, either, if they travel outside the county and use other ATMs.
The bank has also just started offering mobile deposits, a new service that began in late May.
Auto and personal loans
Beyond the day-to-day personal banking, MyCom is probably best known for its auto and personal loans, marked by staff responsiveness.
“Our turnover for our loans is one day. It's very fast service … people like that,” says Canino.
With the Berkshires a hotbed for water and motor sports, Canino says MyCom is the go-to place when residents decide its time to by that ATV, pontoon boat or sled; MyCom doesn't do home equity lines of credit or mortgages, but it does offer RV and motorcycle loans; home equity loans; loan life and disability insurance; money orders; car book values; and even notary services.
As nearly all modern consumers expect, MyCom has home banking for members, direct deposit and bill payer conveniences, as well.
MyCom opened in 1965 with an office in Pittsfield City Hall, with no cash on hand, only checks. Since then, the small credit union has grown, merging with other small banking institutions around the county.
Drive-up or walk-up
Since the pandemic began, all business is being conducted out of a walk-up window that has rapidly morphed into a drive-up window.
“Today, we're handing out ice cream,” says Canino, as city temps approached 90 degrees on a day last week. “We're doing full service through this whole mess.”
MyCom is open for business, but has curtailed hours slightly during the outbreak, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the week, and closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Staff — five full-time and one part-time — have been staggered across the week and days to keep the office covered and to minimize risks for customers and employees alike.
One thing the public will have to wait for at MyCom is an unveiling of its renovated offices, with work done by BBE Office Interiors, of Pittsfield; a grand re-opening will be held at some point in the future.
In-person appointments, with all recommended precautions, can be made by contacting MyCom via email through Canino at email@example.com, or via staffers Sarah Leoncini (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alicia Olson (email@example.com). You can also call the main office at 413-442-6501 or dial the automatic teller at 413-442-6607. Call ahead for any special accommodations.
Meanwhile, MyCom encourages members to use its online and ATM services for withdrawals and deposits.
To find the walk-up window, just follow the arrows from the credit union's Fenn Street lot (ice cream availability not guaranteed).
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