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Cornerstone Bank


The COVID-19 crisis has been difficult for everyone; the anxieties it’s caused cannot be overstated.

Yet, amid these uncertainties, the crisis has reminded me that nothing’s stronger than the ties between family members—whether immediate or extended.

As Cornerstone Bank’s President, I know our employees consider themselves family; one whose members look after one another. During the last three months, this sense of connection hasn’t just endured; it’s flourished through words and actions.

I’ve never been prouder to be part of that family than now.

Since the pandemic began, my overriding priority has been the safety and well-being of our staff. It’s been my responsibility to sustain a healthy mindset, reassuring employees that: (1) jobs, paychecks and health insurance are secure; (2) work environments are safe; and (3) they’re not alone in coping with COVID. In exercising this responsibility, I’m merely following a long-established tradition: Taking care of people and community first.

Above anything else, Cornerstone focuses on ensuring the welfare of our staff and customers, while fostering mutual respect and trust.

As events unfolded, it became a balancing act between the desire to continue serving our communities and the need to ensure everyone’s safety. Our employees have stepped up to look out for one another. For instance, our Southbridge grocery-store branch lacks a drive-thru. During week one of the statewide response, employees there pointed out the difficulty of social distancing, given space confinements. In their eagerness to provide uninterrupted service, those employees suggested physically relocating to the Southbridge main office—where the existing team willingly adjusted schedules to accommodate their colleagues, thereby assuring everyone’s peace of mind and safety.

I give Cornerstone employees all the credit for taking these sorts of initiatives, proactively bringing issues to light and facilitating quick resolutions—not just occasionally, but every day.

There is no group more deserving and committed than this one.

Simple acts of recognition and consideration take on added meaning during unsettling times. The Cornerstone family quickly responded to COVID, making suggestions on how to keep everyone’s attitude positive. Our Human Resources department, for example, suggested Dinner On Us—whereby the Bank purchases takeout dinners for all employees and their families once a week. It’s a great way to stay connected and keep morale high, while supporting local restaurants and our community. Our Marketing department took it from there, encouraging employees to submit photos of family gatherings, so that even for a few moments we could feel together again. It’s a little thing, but it provides the fun and engagement of a shared experience.

Despite the crisis, life goes on—just differently.

The Cornerstone family has changed in exciting ways. We’ve celebrated several births with home delivery of baby blankets, and birthdays and retirements with congratulatory Zooming, IMing and emailing. We certainly miss being physically together, but we don’t miss any opportunity to celebrate together.

Part of “life going on” is meeting people’s banking needs. As an essential business, Cornerstone has remained open—always in compliance with CDC guidelines, of course—to serve our customers and businesses. April marked a record number of residential mortgage closings for us. Our Customer Information Center is helping twice the usual number of people learn and adopt our online services. We processed almost 700 Paycheck Protection Program loans. And we’ve been in constant contact with consumers and businesses—working to navigate a financially precarious period by implementing customized strategies, from loan modifications to deferrals and forbearances.

As for their commitment to serving their communities’ banking needs, I couldn’t be more impressed and (sorry, I have to use that word again) proud.

It’s my privilege to work with individuals who aren’t only genuinely good, dedicated people, but wonderfully compassionate human beings. I take heart knowing that, whatever the “new normal” may entail, those attributes will always characterize the Cornerstone family.

Todd M. Tallman