United Bank pledges monetary aid for tornado relief

Date: 6/13/2011

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Richard B. Collins, president and CEO of United Bank, announced last week that the bank will allocate up to $100,000 to help deal with the aftermath of Wednesday's deadly tornadoes in the greater Springfield area.

"We are very fortunate that the majority of our employees were not directly affected by this disaster," Collins said. "But we do have an obligation to help local residents and businesses whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted."

According to Collins, an immediate contribution of $25,000 will be made to the American Red Cross to support the areas affected by the disaster.

In partnership with WGGB ABC40/FOX6, United Bank has established the ABC40/FOX6 Tornado Relief Fund, and will serve as the collection point for donations from the public to support local disaster relief efforts. The bank committed $5,000 as the initial deposit to the fund. The fund will be managed by WGGB ABC40/FOX6 and will benefit the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter and the Springfield Corps of the Salvation Army, the two primary agencies providing direct relief efforts in the area. The public can make a donation to the fund by visiting any United Bank branch in the Springfield or Worcester regions.

In addition, the United Bank Foundation will devote up to $75,000 in its August funding cycle to support non-profit organizations in the area who sustained damage as a result of the tornadoes.

"We are aware of many non-profit organizations and schools in Springfield, West Springfield, and Westfield with substantial damage," Dena M. Hall, senior vice president of marketing and community relations, and president of the United Bank Foundation, said. "August may seem far away, but our response will be timely as these organizations will need time to assess the damage and determine insurance shortfalls.

"We realize there will also be several agencies providing relief efforts who will need support to re-build their emergency response reserves," Hall continued. "The foundation will work with those organizations on grant proposals, and award grant dollars up to $75,000 in total."

Collins said, "In addition to our overall community support, United Bank will be working with our customers on an individual basis to provide assistance. "We are waiting to learn more information about any state or federal disaster relief loan programs that may be available in this region; if needed we will consider our own emergency loan program to coordinate with state/federal programs."

The bank's disaster relief efforts will be posted on its Web site at BankAtUnited.com and on the bank's Facebook page at facebook.com/BankAtUnited.

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