By Barbara Allen, Contributing Writer
Grafton – Daniel Crossin, assistant vice president of real estate lending at Homefield Credit Union, was raised in Grafton; he and his family live not far from the neighborhood where he grew up.
“Grafton is a great place to be,” Crossin said. “It’s small enough that you don’t get lost, but large enough to support a quality educational system and vibrant businesses.”
Yet, when Crossin worked as a mortgage originator with Harvard University Employees Credit Union in Cambridge, most of his customers had never heard of the town. Gradually, however, he noticed a change in his customer base: more and more of his clients were moving to small towns west of Boston, drawn there by lower housing costs. Grafton was no longer an unfamiliar name.
“Central Mass. was growing and evolving,” Crossin said.
So was Crossin’s career. Although he said that Harvard University Credit Union was “a good place to be,” and enabled him to see some complexity in the world of mortgage and lending that he might not have experienced otherwise, Crossin had a strong desire to become more involved with community outreach. But he found it difficult to make connections in Cambridge. The three-hour, round-trip by commuter rail from Grafton was also “no fun,” admitted Crossin. So when he happened to hear of an opportunity for someone with mortgage and lending experience at Grafton Suburban Credit Union (now known as Homefield Credit Union), Crossin was glad to bring his work life “home.”
One of the first things Crossin did was join the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, where he served as treasurer for four years, before ascending to his current role as first vice chair.
“I’m very happy to be part of the [Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce] vibrant, engaged Board of Directors,” he said. He chairs the Program Committee, which means he is responsible for the development, implementation and growth of the chamber’s programs through networking events and expos which allow the business community to connect with each other.
“This whole area, the Blackstone Valley, has done very well,” Crossin said.
Another community-related project of his was the development of a partnership between Homefield Credit Union and the Parent Teacher Groups (PTGs) of North and South Grafton, one which would support their mission to provide enrichment programs. Homefield is the principal presenting sponsor for their major fundraising events.
“PTGs work in the trenches to improve the schools through enrichment programs,” Crossin explained.
The partnership also aligns the credit union with the people most in need of their family friendly financial products, such as auto loans, checking accounts or small business loans.
One of Crossin’s more challenging undertakings within the Grafton community has been his involvement with the Affordable Housing Trust. The goal of the trust is to meet the 10-percent requirement for affordable housing designated by state law.
The requirement, Crossin said, assures that “people aren’t left behind: young teachers, the elderly returning veterans, all of whom need affordable housing.”
But meeting that goal can be challenging in a town with limited apartment options and condo development. The Affordable Housing Trust might look at properties that have gone into foreclosure and could be sold as low-income housing; acquire land or buildings that could possibly be established as affordable units; or meet with developers to determine how many of their proposed units would be designated as affordable.
“It is an uphill battle,” admitted Crossin, “but one that is ultimately rewarding.”
In addition to his professional involvement with the Grafton community, Crossin is involved on a personal level as well. He is on the Board of Religious Education at St. Mary’s Church in North Grafton, and will be coaching his daughter’s lacrosse team this year for the first time.
“Grafton itself is a very friendly town,” Crossin said. “There is a lot to do and a lot of opportunities to be engaged within the community. I’m fortunate to be living in this region.”