Established in 1936, cfsbank still remains an independent, community bank 86 years later.
The bank launched as Charleroi Federal Savings and Loan, and originally had only one teller window.
It has since expanded from its home in the Mon Valley to include 10 branches in Fayette, Washington, Westmoreland and Butler counties.
cfsbank operates as a mutual bank, said Danielle Maurer, the bank’s Chief Retail Officer.
“That means our account holders own us, which I think makes us special, because we’re not beholden to stockholders,” she said. “It allows us to be more community-focused.”
Customers can go to cfsbank for any of their standard banking needs, ranging from savings and checking accounts to credit cards, loans and mortgages.
But Maurer said there’s something else people get at cfsbank that not every bank offers — a team of local people who will work with customers personally.
That ideal complements the company’s new tagline: “Let’s do it together.”
“We’re really trying to get across that we are here to help you do whatever it is that you need to be successful,” Maurer said. “We can help you plan for retirement. We can help you plan for your future, vacation or car. We can help you get your first home. We have education savings accounts. We can help you with anything.
“We would do it together.”
At a time when many companies have resorted to automation, Maurer said, customers at cfsbank can always get a person to work with them, rather than a robotic voice.
“If you call us, if you stop in, you will get a person,” she said. “No automated phone messages or anything like that.”
Though people are always available, the company is also modernizing to meet the changing demands they’ve witnessed from the start of the covid-19 pandemic, as many people now prefer to do more online, Maurer said.
“We’ve really been investing in our digital platform,” she said. “We’ve been spending the last two years making sure you can do everything on your phone.”
The bank launched a Zelle payment program. It’s also preparing to release an online system that would allow people to open new accounts or go through the mortgage origination process virtually.
Plus, the bank offers a user-friendly mobile app where customers can deposit checks, transfer cash to accounts with other banks and turn their debit cards on or off.
The bank offers some unique programs, Maurer said, including owner-builder loans, which allows borrowers to act as independent contractors. They allow people to invest sweat equity, she said, meaning that people who know how to do things themselves can do so with their construction loans.
Another key piece of cfsbank, Maurer said, is giving back to the communities they serve. As a locally-managed bank, she said, the company believes in investing in the communities where they’re located.
“We like to put an emphasis on our employees being involved in community organizations,” she said. “We are definitely giving back to our communities.”
Part of that includes their annual day of giving, where all of their employees are encouraged to spend an eight-hour work day not at the bank, but working with a charity of their choice.
The bank, which has 79 employees across its locations, also tries to ensure they’re providing high-quality jobs to their neighbors, Maurer said.
“We want to give our employees a good job,” she said, explaining that includes good pay, benefits and work-life balance.
The bank partners with other community organizations for a variety of initiatives. They collaborate with the Mon Valley Alliance to provide mini-grants for projects within the local community, and they donate to support City Mission as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
The bank has also invested in local youths, Maurer said. They recently helped Belle Vernon School District purchase a new sign, and they bought Legos for students in Charleroi that will help them learn coding and robotics.
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