M&T Bank has designated eight bank branches in Delaware as multicultural banking centers and contributing $100,000 to a loan program and other resources intended to help Latino and Black small-businesses owners in Sussex County.
The newly designated multicultural banking centers will offer banking and other financial services in customers’ preferred languages and employ bankers from the community who understand the cultural nuances of the individuals and communities they serve, a release stated.
The eight branches are among the 36 branches M&T has in Delaware and the 118 multicultural banking centers the bank maintains throughout its Northeast and mid-Atlantic footprint.
In Sussex County, M&T is supporting the work of La Plaza, a nonprofit partnership designed to increase the economic stability, prosperity and financial assets of Latinos through business and leadership development and personal financial coaching.
La Plaza coordinates the expertise of its nonprofit partners in business and financial coaching, business plan development, micro-lending and leadership development into a comprehensive bilingual package for the Latino community. To support the work of La Plaza, M&T is represented on its advisory board and contributed $100,000 toward:
- Helping to fund the employment of La Plaza’s business/financial coach, who is based at La Esperanza Community Center in Georgetown, Del.;
- Providing entrepreneurs access to a 12-week technical assistance and business plan program — developed by West End Neighborhood House — in English and Spanish; and,
- Starting a loan pool administered by True Access Capital that will make loans of $2,500 to $10,000 to small businesses, the first of which will be to recent graduates of the entrepreneur assistance program.
The expansion of M&T’s multicultural banking centers and support of La Plaza service collaborative are part of the bank’s mission to be culturally fluent for all communities, especially as the state becomes more diverse, the release noted.
The number of Delawareans who identified as Hispanic or Latino increased from 8.2% in 2010 to 10.5% in 2020, according to the latest U.S. Census. That growth was especially strong in Sussex County, which saw a 58% increase in respondents identifying as Hispanic or Latino, according to census data.
“As this demographic shift accelerates throughout Delaware, our multicultural banking initiative allows us to continuously meet the changing needs of our communities,” said Nick Lambrow, M&T’s regional president for Delaware. “With our recent designation of new multicultural banking centers and support of services for the Latino and Black communities in Sussex County, we are demonstrating our clear intention to be the bank for all communities.”
Mary Dupont, Project Director for La Plaza, said: “La Plaza helps Sussex County Latinos achieve their vision for self-sufficiency by integrating their passion for family, faith, and community with the resources, information and support they need to thrive. The financial and volunteer support from M&T has been instrumental in making this initiative accessible to the county’s aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.”
M&T’s multicultural banking center locations were identified based on iinput from community partners, M&T’s local bankers and neighborhood-level census data on non-English speakers. The branches must employ at least one multilingual banker and be in a community with a population of at least 10% Asian American, Polish or Russian or 20% Hispanic/Latino or Black.
In Delaware, M&T will convert the following branch locations into multicultural banking centers:
- 10th and Market Street, Wilmington
- North Union Street, Wilmington
- North James Street, Wilmington
- Fox Valley, Wilmington
- Elsmere, New Castle County
- Community Plaza, New Castle County
- Georgetown Center, Sussex County
- Dover Main, Kent County
The 10th and Market, North Union, North James, Fox Valley and Elsmere branches are in communities where a majority of the population is Hispanic or Black.
“This designation has led to several actions locally to empower branch staff with new capabilities to serve our neighborhoods,” said Matt Calhoun, M&T’s retail banking regional manager for Delaware. “Determined to fulfill our purpose of making a difference in people’s lives, our goal is to ensure our neighbors have more opportunities to connect with local bankers who understand their language, their culture and their needs.”
For example, Spanish-speaking bank staff at M&T’s Georgetown Center branch already are working with entrepreneurs participating in the Launcher program offered as part of La Plaza’s initiative.
To make its digital banking tools easier to navigate for non-English speakers, the bank launched a Spanish-language website — available at mtb.com/es — providing access to financial information and resources, including educational tools and online branch-appointment setting.
Also M&T updated its ATM network to provide services in Chinese and Korean. At over 1,600 ATMs, customers are now able to complete cash transactions in Chinese, Korean, Spanish and English. M&T also offers phone assistance in 240 languages at 1-800-724-2440