Our COO's Response During a Crisis

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A business-as-usual approach during a crisis

A message from Michael Smith, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Over the last two years Firestone Financial has written over $300MM in loans to the amusement, carnival, FEC, vending, fitness, and video lottery industries. We’ve built countless partnerships with the franchises, manufacturers, and distributors who support those industries. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, many of these businesses are facing closures and cancellation of their events for an indeterminate period.  

Business As Usual

While the current situation is unprecedented in many ways, it’s not entirely new to us. We could say our approach is business as usual. And that's because over the last 55 years, we’ve seen our customers through record expansions and economic lows, through extraordinary events that impact their businesses and lives. And we'll see them through this one.

When we talk to prospective customers, we often share stories of challenges and hardship. It's our belief that you don’t always know the value of your lender until you’re faced with a crisis - and see how they respond.
 
From the fear and uncertainty after September 11th to relief programs in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to support during the Great Recession of 2008 and now with COVID-19 potentially crippling the global economy, Firestone prides itself on strengthening and supporting the industries that have made us who we are.

There are many institutions that can lend you money, but far fewer who understand your business. And fewer still who will stand with you and help guide you through a crisis.

COVID-19 Response Team

If you follow our communications on email and social media, you'll know that we are proactively reaching out to our current customers - all 4,000-plus of them - with offers of assistance. We want to help make this pause in business more manageable for our customers and allow them to focus on the health and safety of their employees and loved ones, not on their next payment.

And that’s where our focus will be for the next few weeks. Our staff of 45 will be working with each customer to offer customized solutions for their current situation. We ask for your patience as we work through these requests.

Ultimately we will speak to anyone who needs our help, making those customers feel as secure as possible. This may cause a slowdown in our ability to underwrite and fund new loans during this time. We appreciate your understanding as we process every request.

Financing Partner Who Cares

We’ve always said that choosing a lender is about more than rate shopping. It’s about the commitment, resources, and character of your lender and the people they choose to do business with. We take this pledge very seriously and are striving to be the best business partner we can be at this time.

It’s with the backing of Berkshire Bank, our parent company, that we’re able to bring this relief -at this scale and speed - to our customers.
 
Thank you for your business, your trust, and your patience as we navigate through the next several weeks together.
 
Sincerely,
Michael Smith
EVP, Chief Operating Officer

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