The Importance of Community Banking
Apr 28, 2021
A Conversation with Thomas Rudzewick, President & CEO
To close out Community Banking Month, Kristen S. from our Marketing Department asked President & CEO, Thomas Rudzewick for his perspectives on the important role community banks play in the economy and why you should consider banking local.
Q: What are the benefits of banking with a community bank, like Maspeth Federal Savings?
A: In addition to great rates and outstanding customer service, banking with a community bank is like investing in the communities where you live and work. Community banks reinvest deposits into programs that help small businesses grow and families build financial security. Large banks regularly move personnel between branches or they close locations that are not profitable. Community banks are the backbone in their neighborhoods. Branch managers will know your first name and ask how your children are doing in school. They are members of your community. Community banks also lend money back into the neighborhood through home mortgages and support programs and charitable organizations that provide services to the community.
Q: How does MFS embody/support the community banking values?
A: Maspeth Federal carries out the traditional banking functions of lending on a local scale while ensuring our financial resources are put to work in the areas we serve. Since our inception in 1947, our attention has been focused on the needs of local families and businesses.
We respect and honor our community ties.
Community banks are local businesses too, so we understand the dynamics of the communities we serve and work hard to help them thrive. Last year, we pledged close to $1,000,000 to support various programs and initiatives and when COVID-19 hit, we worked 24/7 to help our community access monetary donations, PPE, food, and financial resources.
We also continue to offer free programs and community events that bring our communities together and enrich the lives of our children.
We are a relationship bank.
We are your neighbors, working and living right next door. Our employees grew up, live, and work in the community and look forward to serving their neighbors. We build a personal relationship with our customers to understand their financial goals and work with them to build a successful financial future.
Q: Why did you decide to work for a community bank?
A: Over the last 20 years, I have witnessed the enormous growth of Maspeth Federal including the forging of new products and technology, but the people, the friendly culture, pleasant atmosphere and community events are my favorite aspects of working at the Association. Our customers are not just an account number, they are family. MFS employees really care about the community because it’s where they grew up, live, and send their kids to school. Our staff spends countless hours preparing for events and making sure all attendees remember that our institution is so much more than dollars and cents, but about giving back to our wonderful community. I’d be remiss in not mentioning the ultimate reason why I started working for MFS and that is because of my father Ken Rudzewick, who was not only President & CEO of MFS but also my mentor and confidant. I witnessed first-hand the impact he was able to have in our community through his ties with Maspeth Federal, many of which he continues to support today.
Q: You were recently appointed to the OCC's Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee. Congratulations! Can you tell me more about this role and the importance of this committee?
A: Thank you Kristen! As a member of the advisory committee, I play a crucial role in assessing the condition of mutual banks and offering feedback on regulatory changes that will promote our financial condition and viability. Given the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s role in supervising banks of all sizes, I felt it was important to be a part of this committee to support the significant role local community banks, especially Mutuals have in providing financial services to communities across the country. Federal rules and regulatory changes can limit the flexibility of community bankers to meet the needs of our customers. If we can’t meet the needs of local families and small businesses, the economy will suffer. I hope my involvement with the OCC will provide an effective opportunity to foster enhanced communication between the federal regulators, lawmakers and community bankers.