pictured left to right, Kelly Dockery, M&T Bank branch manager; Danielle Roberts, YMCA Buffalo Niagara executive director; Anne Reif, YMCA Buffalo Niagara senior vice president of operations / chief operating officer; and Tameka Brooks, M&T Bank relationship banker
Community’s feedback into how the bank could best serve them shaped the design of new branch embedded inside neighborhood YMCA
M&T Bank will launch a new branch inside the William-Emslie Family YMCA at 585 William Street in Buffalo. Scheduled to open in October, the branch will focus on providing personalized financial guidance and education to help individuals manage their money and empower underserved communities to build wealth.
A new ATM will be installed outside the YMCA, which will provide convenient access for cash and transactional needs. With the new ATM managing cash transactions, the branch itself will be fully dedicated to building relationships with customers and providing personalized advice. M&T employees will also hold ongoing financial education seminars, and they’ll work closely with community groups to reach more people, especially those who don’t currently have access to banking services. M&T will also partner with the YMCA to integrate financial empowerment into their programming.
“We listened to our community and designed the branch based on their feedback to best serve their needs. This new branch will help eliminate barriers and make financial guidance and banking services more accessible,” said Mallory Boron, Western New York Retail Market Manager at M&T Bank. “Embedding M&T Bank inside the neighborhood’s YMCA will create new paths to financial empowerment and allow us to provide financial education in a welcoming place that already brings our community together. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to listen to our communities and work together to develop long-term solutions to meet real needs.”
The new branch at the YMCA will replace the Towne Garden branch, which M&T recently decided to move to better meet community needs. Once the new branch is open in October, customers will be able to make appointments or walk in at their convenience to discuss their financial situation and any assistance they may need. Until then, the Towne Garden location will remain open to customers.
Evolution Informed by Community Input
M&T has worked with the community over the last several months to gather insights into the banking needs and experiences of the neighborhoods near its Towne Garden branch. It sought input through surveys and focus groups to explore new and different ways to serve Buffalo’s East Side.
M&T learned not only which branch services are most important, but it also discovered significant demand for new ways to access to financial guidance. Community members cited a need for education and advice into how to build or rebuild credit, buy homes, improve money management and grow small businesses or careers. This input motivated M&T’s decision to launch its guidance-focused banking center inside the YMCA, which includes space for one-on-one meetings and group seminars.
“I’m very excited to start serving our customers at the new space because, in so many ways, it was built by and for our community. It was developed based on their input and designed to serve their diverse needs,” said Kelly Dockery, branch manager for M&T Bank’s new YMCA location. “This new branch is a perfect example of what it means to be a bank for communities.”
“Working with M&T Bank on this new branch will deepen our focus on financial health and advance our mission to help all people build a healthy spirit, mind and body,” said Danielle Roberts, Executive Director at YMCA Buffalo Niagara. “We’re excited about the potential for this community center-bank partnership to serve as a new solution to help people achieve financial empowerment, access economic opportunities and build community wealth.”
Customer Support During the Transition
As M&T transitions to the new branch at the YMCA, the bank is offering training into how to use its ATMs and mobile and online banking tools. It is encouraging customers who frequently use the Towne Garden branch for cash transactions to stop by for assistance. The forthcoming ATM at the YMCA will offer an extensive range of cash services, and there are five M&T locations within two miles that provide customers with traditional branch experiences.
M&T’s work to support Buffalo’s East Side neighborhoods includes partnerships with community organizations, local hiring and providing charitable grants. It recently invested $2 million to renovate its East Side branches and launched a secured credit card based on community feedback. It is also collaborating with Buffalo city council members to support local small businesses and provide community workshops. M&T’s Buffalo Promise Neighborhood initiative is a long-term collaboration with the upper East Side community to empower schools, students and families. In 2020, M&T contributed over $9.6 million to over 250 nonprofits across Western New York.