Branches in Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Southern California recognized.
At the U.S. Bank Chicago Chinatown Square location, Branch Manager Stephanie Cheung looks forward to experiencing her second “grand opening” at the branch she has worked at for more than 28 years.
Stephanie manages the Chinatown Square branch in Chicago’s Chinatown district which will celebrate its new Chinese flagship branch designation and recent renovations on February 1, coinciding with the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The branch will become one of six flagship locations for the Chinese community – with others in San Francisco, Southern California and the Seattle area. These locations are staffed with employees who speak both English and Chinese languages, feature newly refreshed interiors and exterior designs that pay tribute to Chinese culture and are located in communities with a significant Chinese population.
Connecting with our customers
At the Chinatown Square branch, the entire branch staff is fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, with one colleague fluent in the dialect of Taishanese, the primary language of several branch customers.
“Knowing that we are here for our customers, we speak the language and we understand them….it helps the bank be less intimidating and more welcoming to these communities,” said Cheung, who immigrated to the United States from China in 1992.
At the branch in San Francisco’s Chinatown, a vibrant wall mural featuring culturally relevant colors and imagery greets customers. The location and its staff have been well-known to the local Chinese community for some time as they regularly volunteer within the Chinatown community, in particular during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which created unique challenges for vulnerable Chinatown residents.
Committed to our communities
During the spring of 2020, San Francisco-area employees organized the purchase and distribution of 1,000 meals in partnership with Chinatown Community Development Center to help safely feed Chinatown seniors, many of whom live in single room occupancy hotels with shared kitchens, making safe meal preparations and physical distancing extremely difficult during the early months of the pandemic. The effort both supported struggling legacy restaurants and at-risk residents. And when the #StopAsianHate campaign launched in response to increased violent attacks and xenophobia against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, the Chinatown branch served as the distribution hub for 3,000 personal safety kits donated by the bank and made available to communities with predominantly AAPI populations.
“My first job in banking was across the street. I love this community and I know it well,” shared Kelly Huang, branch manager at the Chinatown branch who moved to San Francisco at the age of 16 from China. “Becoming a Chinese flagship branch is a testament to our efforts and validates that we are here to serve our customers in many diverse communities.”
Financial education & local partnerships
In Southern California, three branches carry the Chinese flagship designation, including the Alhambra Albertsons branch which opened in February of 2021. Almost immediately, the branch became a lifeline for local business that were struggling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by hosting virtual calls about how to apply for funding via the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Staff at the Alhambra branch were quick to partner with the local Asian Youth Center to lead financial literacy programs and provided a $5,000 grant to the organization as part of the bank’s support of the #StopAsianHate campaign. They have also stepped up as the sponsor of this year’s Alhambra Lunar New Year festival.
“I’m from Burma, so I see and treat our customers as family members,” said Alhambra Albertsons Branch Manager Michael Win. “About 60 percent of Alhambra is foreign-born, so we continue to have a huge opportunity – and responsibility – to help the community understand how banking can help them in good times and in really challenging times.”
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