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Evans Bank backs United Way program to help workers with unexpected expenses

When workers run into unexpected expenses — like car repairs or emergency medical costs — the impact can affect their job performance or even prevent them from getting to work, putting their employment at risk.

A newly launched program, called Work/Life Solutions, at the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County aims to prevent employees' non-work issues from creating obstacles for them. Hamburg-based Evans Bank is providing a $200,000 grant to get the program off the ground, covering the cost of the project director and the initial resource coordinator.

The program, modeled on similar versions in Ohio and Vermont, aims to bolster employees' job performance and retention at participating employers. Evans will participate in the program, as well as manufacturer SoPark Corp. and a Kaleida Health unit.

The resource coordinator will visit participating companies each week, to meet with employees and connect them with resources they might need.

Employees on the job for at least a year and in good standing can access a loan of up to $1,000 and pay it back monthly through payroll deduction. Each month, a portion of repayment will remain in a savings account, to help the employee build an emergency fund.

Participating companies in Work/Life Solutions will also support quarterly financial education training provided by Belmont Housing Resources, to support employees' financial literacy, credit scores and financial standings.

David J. Nasca, Evans' president and CEO, said the bank was looking for a "signature community investment" that would have an impact, involve its own employees, be sustainable and have a connection to financial services. When the bank approached the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Michael Weiner, the president and CEO, told Nasca the Work/Life Solutions was a program the organization had long sought to offer.

Evans recently said it would spend a total of $500,000 on community initiatives.

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