Region’s premier mutual community bank offering superior customer service and commitment to giving back
By Bonnie Adams
Region – UniBank’s roots as a premier mutual community bank go back more than 150 years, offering a multitude of services for customers throughout the Blackstone Valley. And although their business model has changed since those early days, one important thing has not – a commitment to superior customer service based on their core principles of teamwork, excellence, and integrity.
The bank’s origins started as the Uxbridge Savings Bank, incorporated in 1870 and the Whitinsville Savings Bank, incorporated in 1872. In 1988, the two banks merged to form UniBank. With its headquarters now in Whitinsville, the bank has 13 branches, serving individuals, businesses, and municipalities, and over 22,600 households across Massachusetts and in surrounding New England states.
Although it has grown, the bank’s motto continues to be ‘We are big enough to handle all your banking needs but small enough to know you by name,” according to Michael Welch, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer.
Traditional services as well as a commitment to giving back
UniBank offers an array of services including checking, savings, loans and mortgages, and online banking for individuals and businesses. As of Dec. 2020, it had assets of $2.1 billion.
“What makes UniBank different from other financial institutions is that it is a community mutual bank,” Welch said.
“We serve the community, which is different from just servicing transactions,” he said. “More and more banks nowadays are stock banks, where revenues go to shareholders. Engagement with UniBank is more than just assisting you with your banking needs. Our mission is to give back to the communities we live in. And the more money we can make, the more we can give away.”
Indeed, last year the bank donated $1.7 million in funds to charitable giving, including local organizations dedicated to youth development, community development, affordable housing, and environmental concerns.
The bank also offers the Invest Worcester Statement Savings Account, a socially responsible banking program “that leverages the money deposited to provide much needed loans in Worcester at favorable terms to help advance home ownership, community development and to help small businesses prosper.”
Support for businesses
For businesses, UniBank offers full banking services, including deposits, loans, and cash management services. UniBank’s Bank at Work program offers a financial suite of products for a company’s employees including free online banking and bill pay, free mobile banking and mobile deposit, and a free VISA ® debit card, among others.
The bank has received numerous accolades including being voted “Best Bank for Business” by Worcester Business Journal Readers in 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014 and 2013.
Adjusting to a new way of doing business
Welch joined the bank in June of 2019 after 15 years of serving as Headmaster at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury.
It was in early March of last year, he recalled, that the bank completed the implementation of a “huge investment in technology.” A week later, the pandemic struck, forcing many businesses, including UniBank to quickly change their way of doing everyday business.
“It was challenging but we are blessed with an incredible team here,” he said. “Our employees really leaned into the mission. Ninety five percent of them switched to working from home, yet there was no lapse in serving our customers. Customers would say ‘I can’t believe I got through to a live person.’ UniBank has a personal touch.”
Earlier this year the bank announced that they processed over $130 million in paycheck protection program loans from first and second draws to date.
“We’re a community bank and this is why we are here, to support our neighbors when they need us the most,” Welch said.
Connecting with UniBank
UniBank has locations in Whitinsville (headquarters and Plaza Branch), Blackstone, Douglas, Hopkinton, Milford, North Grafton, Sutton North, Sutton South, Upton, Uxbridge, Shrewsbury, and Worcester (Commercial Lending and Retail Banking).