Reading Cooperative Bank’s Gladys Martinez Named Community Bank Hero by Banker & Tradesman

Reading Cooperative Bank announced recently that Assistant Vice President and Andover Branch Manager, Gladys Martinez, is a 2017 Banker & Tradesman Community Bank Hero award recipient. 

Community Bank Heroes must be respected industry professionals who consistently give their time, energy and resources to build goodwill with their neighbors and better their bank and community.

In addition to her Branch Manager duties, Gladys formed a partnership with the Lawrence Public High School to deliver an 18-week curriculum of financial literacy for sophomores. She utilized staff members from every area of the bank including the CEO, CFO, Board Members, Human Resources, Marketing, Lending and beyond to create presentations tackling real world topics like college financing, preparing for a career, learning how to budget, understanding credit and credit cards, skills for living on your own, understanding car loans, mortgages, insurance, and how to start a business. She spent countless hours pouring over the content of the presentations to ensure that it was not only relevant and informative, but would empower her students with understanding – based on who they are and where they’re at. Her passion for teaching is rooted in her wanting the students to learn the “easy way” through classroom learning, rather than the real life “hard way” by making mistakes which could ruin their credit, is commendable. As a testament to the success of this program, Gladys was asked to continue and is now 6 weeks into her second round of classes at Lawrence Public High School.

This passion for educating the students in the gateway city of Lawrence, paired with her willingness to field questions and mentor students in her spare time, has transformed Gladys from her role as a Branch Manager into a trusted banking coach. Her dedication has translated into a relationship so strong, that students (who have started calling her “Mom”) repeatedly ask for copies of the presentations to take home so they can educate their parents; many of whom do not speak fluent English, are left largely unbanked or underbanked and have traditionally not trusted the banking system or the bankers who work there. Learning this, Gladys advocated for marketing materials and webpages in her native Spanish language, insisting that other banks are not offering these products and programs that that would help her build trust in the community. This Fall the bank rolled out webpages, online & mobile banking, and collateral material, all in Spanish.

“While we are interested in educating all members of our communities, we admire Gladys’ tireless efforts to debunk myths and correctly inform students about how entering the banking system can better their lives and give them brighter futures,” said Reading Cooperative Bank, President & CEO, Julieann Thurlow. She added, “It is refreshing to see a financial professional take small steps every day to help people understand the tools in their hands which could make the system work for them, and not the other way around. In just one semester, Gladys laid the groundwork, so that the American Dream, that house, that car, and that success would not be only a dream, but a reality for these bright young kids.”

Ms. Martinez was humbled to be named a Community Bank Hero but also diplomatically stated, “I really don’t feel like a hero, I’m just trying to give these kids a solid foundation for their future.”

On Tuesday, May 23rd Gladys and her colleagues will celebrate her accomplishment at an awards ceremony and dinner at the Banker & Tradesman Community Heroes event in Boston.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email