By Ginger DeShaney
Alba Shaba knows the neighborhood. A resident of South Boston since 2007, she’s proud to call Southie her home and raise her children here.
“I love South Boston,” she said. “It’s my community.”
Because of that, she knew that Southie would be a great fit for HarborOne Bank, where she is the Assistant Vice President of the new branch on 14 West Broadway, which opened in May. “South Boston is all about community,” she said. And so is HarborOne.
“Giving back is important to HarborOne,” said Alba, who personally volunteers at the Pine Street Inn and with Cradles to Crayons. For more than a century, HarborOne has been committed to its customers, its communities, and its colleagues. As an organization, HarborOne typically contributes more than $1.5 million a year in local community support and scholarships.
“It’s all about the community,” Alba said. “It’s about helping and being a true partner.”
To that end, the newest branch of HarborOne made a $10,000 “Community Promise” to South Boston. For the first 100 new deposit accounts opened at the Southie branch, HarborOne donated $100 (up to $10,000) to “About Fresh,” an organization that operates retrofitted school buses as mobile markets to bring fresh food to neighborhoods across Boston.
“It’s a great feeling to give back and help those in need,” Alba said.
HarborOne recently signed on as a $5,000 sponsor of the South Boston Street Festival.
“We want to let people know that we’re here to help them,” Alba said. “We want to help them grow and meet their financial goals.”
HarborOne is holding its “6th Annual Small Business Pitch Contest,” where small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to launch a new product or service, or expand an existing product or service, can pitch their idea for a chance to win $10,000. The first-place winners of the 2020 Pitch Contest were the owners of LuLu Green on West Broadway.
The bank also runs “HarborOne U,” a division of the bank devoted to financial education that provides a variety of programs, including classes for first-time business owners with topics such as credit, lending, how to start a business, how to build your business. After completing the recorded classes, business owners can apply for a $5,000 line of credit.
“Most big banks can’t do what we do, unless you’re an established business,” said Alba, noting this mid-sized bank offers all the services as large banks. “I’ve worked in many different banks and the programs and classes we offer truly make us unique. It’s one of the top reasons new customers choose to bank and stay with us.”
The HarborOne Foundation invests in nonprofit organizations that create positive and lasting change in local communities. The HarborOne Caring Crew donates thousands of volunteer hours each year in every market where the bank serves customers. The bank also offers individual $5,000 college scholarships to graduating high school seniors through its OneCommunity Scholarship program.
The South Boston location is the 27th branch of the bank that serves Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The HarborOne team lives and works by its corporate values: accountability, integrity, respect, trust, and teamwork. HarborOne has been recognized by Forbes for three years as best bank in Massachusetts.
“I encourage our local residents to check us out,” Alba said. “Give us a chance to serve you and assist you with anything you need.”
The new South Boston Branch features state-of-the-art ITM machines, which are like an ATM with additional benefits such as the ability to connect via video screen with a live banker.
“I’ve been in banking for 16 years,” said Alba, who graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in business management and has worked at other banks on Broadway. “It’s amazing to be part of this unique bank and this community.”