February is a time to come together in celebration of the contributions that Black Americans have made throughout American history and a time to pause and reflect on the ongoing struggle for equality and social justice. The theme of Black History Month this year is, The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. As we take into consideration all that Black History Month represents, I cannot help but think about how timely and appropriate this theme is given all that our country, and specifically our Black neighbors, endured in 2020. While the year has ended, the work for racial justice continues.
History is full of examples of leaders in business, science, and other fields who, through their ability to inspire and guide people, have made the world a better place. We celebrate our nation’s highest elected office on Presidents’ Day, this year on February 15. With this upcoming celebration, especially in the midst of a challenging environment, we thought it a good opportunity to ask Tompkins VIST Bank President and CEO Scott Gruber for his thoughts on the subject.
To our valued customers,
As we begin a new year, I’d like to start by thanking you for your support in what was the most difficult year most of us have ever experienced. I’d also like to briefly recap how we tried to support you - our customers and communities - in 2020.
Tap. Sign Up. Make a Difference - an easy request that benefited so many. In early fall, Tompkins donated $5 dollars to our local United Way chapters for every new user that signed up for our digital banking service. The donation directly benefitted the United Way’s COVID Relief Fund to help our communities during this trying time.
Tompkins VIST Bank is pleased to welcome to its board of directors Helen Eaton, CEO of Settlement Music School of Philadelphia, one of the largest non-profit community schools of the arts in the United States.
We know a lot about small businesses and have always admired their ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Those qualities have especially been evident since March, when many companies have had to modify their operations to remain viable. And as their partners, we’ve been checking in with them more frequently than usual to let them know we have services that can help them through this difficult time.
As a community bank, we’re dedicated to supporting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing loan programs, we can help businesses hold on to the resources they have through services that help prevent fraud. This is especially important now, when companies are operating with reduced staff, many of whom are working remotely. It’s a time when businesses are especially vulnerable to fraud. In fact, industry experts predict there will be an “explosion” of business and consumer fraud in the coming years.
COVID-19 has impacted all businesses, and farming – Pennsylvania’s #1 industry - is no exception. I own a farm myself, so I know how tough it is to be profitable even in good times. But the pandemic has added to the many difficulties farmers always face, especially during Spring - their most active season. That’s why I and my colleague, Lynette Gelsinger, an agricultural relationship manager also a farm owner, are in constant communication with our customers to offer support.