Lawrence, Massachusetts-based Merrimack Valley Credit Union, which has branches in Seabrook and Plaistow, has created a multicultural team with new hires and key promotions, bolstering its language capabilities and offerings to better serve its members and communities.
The effort is first launching with Spanish, as nearly 80 percent of residents in Lawrence, where the organization is headquartered, identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2017 American Community Survey. As the organization's new Community Liaison Manager, Digna Jhonson, who has been with the credit union for 12 years, will work find ways to engage with and serve Spanish-speaking community members.
“Many of our members and those in the community speak a first language other than English, and the creation of this team is the culmination of our efforts to ensure all of their financial needs are being met,” said John Howard, president and CEO.
Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s commitment to its Spanish-speaking members and the larger community has grown from five bilingual employees in 2001 to approximately 30 and almost every department or branch has someone who can work with members in Spanish.
Johnson says Spanish-speaking members will have access to all the credit union's products and services in a language that’s comfortable for them. "They can feel confident they won’t run into any language barriers when applying for a mortgage or loan, depositing checks, withdrawing funds, or working with our call center,” he says.
In the coming months, Merrimack Valley Credit Union will develop partnerships with local organizations that serve the Latino community, host financial seminars in Spanish and translate financial materials into Spanish.
Pictured above: Merrimack Valley Credit Union Multicultural Team, from left, Yariel Alvarez, North Andover branch manager; Digna Jhonson, community liaison manager; Delia Gautreaux, mortgage loan officer; and Stephanie Castellanos, Lawrence branch manager.