“Whether it’s our charter year of 1871 or 2021, we put you first.”
The Sawyer Savings Bank team rallied around each other, our customers, and our communities in this unique time in our history. We addressed unexpected issues in 2020 the same way that Sawyer Savings Bank has over the past 150 years: with a vigilant eye on the financial resources and needs of our customers and communities. As Sawyer Savings marks 150 years in business, we remain united and focused on keeping people healthy and safe; personally, professionally and financially.
Every member of the Sawyer Savings team responded to the pandemic by implementing changes quickly, effectively and safely. I am proud of how our team met these challenges in the past year.
Some of our accomplishments include:
- Providing over $5 million of Payroll Protection Loans (PPP) to business customers.
- Originating 35 Central Hudson “Back to Business” loans to support local small businesses.
- Deferring mortgage payments for over 200 residential and commercial customers to help them through a crucial period.
- Quickly developing ways for employees to work from home to create a very efficient offsite workforce.
- Paying our employees their full-time wages through the entire pandemic.
- Meticulously designing a workforce made up of teams to allow the lobbies to remain open for a majority of the normal hours while keeping a healthy team at home ready to fill in if needed.
These accomplishments were achieved in the midst of a successful transition of senior management with the retirement of Gabriel Sottile and Cynthia Saporito. Both have been critical members of the Sawyer Savings Bank team for a combined 75 years. Gabe has led the bank as CEO for the past 22 years and will continue on as chairman of the Board of Trustees. Cindy was our first female COO and was elected to the board of trustees in 2019. Another long-term member of the Sawyer Savings team, Jim Whitaker will take over as president as I transition to CEO.
We remain proud and honored to be involved in exceptional and vibrant communities; not just as bankers, but as citizens and neighbors. Even with many disruptions last year, Sawyer Savings Bank maintained its dedication to local organizations, including Ulster County United Way, the Saugerties Boys and Girls Club, and “Go Red Day” for women’s heart disease. Sawyer Savings also provided scholarships for the students of Saugerties, Highland and Marlboro graduating classes of 2020.
Sawyer Savings Bank remains true to our mission of supporting local organizations and businesses through volunteerism as well as monetary support. We set up “Front Line Fridays” to recognize groups of essential workers each week with lunches or gift cards to show gratitude for local hospital emergency rooms, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, grocery stores, volunteer fire departments, police departments, local ambulance and EMS workers. Though we had to change how we provide support to local food pantries and the school backpack programs, our annual “Stuff the Truck” event was a major success. We again adopted a family as part of Christmas Wishes Ulster County. Sawyer Savings Bank participated in Sparrows Nest Community casual day—virtually—in 2020. And we partnered with the Sawyer Automotive Foundation to help provide masks to the Saugerties community.
In recognition of our 150th anniversary in 2021, Sawyer Savings Bank has committed to donating $150,000 through our Community Giving Program. Helping our communities is central to our mission. Protecting our communities in this time is especially significant.
Sawyer Savings Bank maintains its commitment to its customers and team members. We are dedicated to community banking for small businesses—that’s our bread and butter. “Think local, shop local, bank local”; remains a common mantra at Sawyer Savings Bank. Please consider using a community bank—We are the heartbeat of your neighborhood.
For 150 years our goal has been to provide you with a long-lasting financial relationship. Sawyer Savings will continue to build that trust and be here to help you achieve your financial goals. Whether it’s our charter year of 1871 or 2021, we put you first.
Douglas P. Sturges