Freedom Credit Union president announces promotions, new hire

Date: 8/6/2014

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – Barry F. Crosby, president and CEO of Freedom Credit Union, announces the promotion of three officers within the credit union and the appointment of a new mortgage loan originator.

Karen Chauvin Katsanos of Westhampton has been promoted to vice president of Human Resources at Freedom Credit Union. She will continue to manage the human resource and training activities for the credit union, which employs a staff of 130. Katsanos joined the credit union in 2012 and has 20 years of HR experience in several industries including health care and manufacturing. She has held a number of senior management positions throughout her career.

Katsanos earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and has earned two master’s degrees – one in psychology from Westfield State University and the other in business administration from Western New England University. Katsanos holds an SPHR designation that she earned from the Human Resource Certification Institute. She is a board member for the Human Resource Management Association of Western New England and the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield.

Cheryl Lynn Podgorski of Southwick has been promoted to vice president of operations. She joined the credit union in 2012 and has more than 26 years of operations experience in both the banking and credit union industries, holding several senior management positions throughout her career. In addition to her responsibilities in the credit union’s operations department, Podgorski has been managing Freedom’s loan servicing department for the past year.

She earned her master’s degree in business administration from Western New England University and holds a Six Sigma Green Belt certification. She is a past Certified Treasury Professional through the Association for Financial Professionals.

Lisa M. Astley of Granby has been promoted to branch officer of Freedom’s Ludlow branch. In her new position, she oversees the financial and lending operations of the branch, develops new business opportunities with individuals and businesses, and promotes financial literacy at area schools. Astley has been employed at Freedom for five years and has 12 years’ experience in the banking and financial services industries. Prior to joining Freedom, she was customer service supervisor at Randall’s Farm in Ludlow for 15 years. Astley is currently working toward a financial services degree with the Center for Financial Training.

Antonio L. Sanches of Ludlow has joined Freedom as a mortgage loan originator and is responsible for real estate origination throughout Hampden and Hampshire counties. As he helps expand Freedom’s mortgage services to its members in Hampden and Hampshire counties, he will offer his expertise in conventional, FHA, MassHousing, Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s One Mortgage, and USDA loans. He has 10 years of experience in the finance industry, including expertise in residential mortgage origination, first-time home buyer assistance, and secondary market sales.

Most recently, he was assistant vice president at Florence Savings Bank.

Currently, Sanches is president of the Rotary Club of Ludlow and a corporator at the Randall Ludlow Boys and Girls Club. In June, he was named “Affiliate of the Year” by the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley. Sanches is working at the Freedom branch on Center Street in Ludlow.