Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (MHV) is working to be as inclusive as possible. With that goal in mind, the $1.4 billion asset credit union in Kingston, N.Y., sent every employee in its Rhinebeck Branch through the Anderson Center for Autism’s Autism Supportive Environment℠ (ASE) program.
The center created the ASE program to assist Dutchess County businesses in understanding, serving, and supporting people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.
MHV is the first area credit union to be designated as an autism supportive environment, says Michael Mattone, vice president of community impact.
The process began with an assessment to gauge the credit union’s processes and environment. Each staff member completed training to “provide awareness of ASD characteristics and recommended support to those serving and interacting with customers with autism and their families/caregivers in community settings,” Mattone explains.
MHV participated in the program to understand what could potentially create a negative trigger and to ensure employees are supportive and can appropriately respond to individuals’ needs when they’re inside the branch.
Mattone says many aspects of the credit union’s branches are sensory friendly. The branch colors are common, and on-site tellers have volume control. MHV also drive-thru tellers and interactive teller machines that allow employees to speak with members via video.
“We try to create a good environment,” Mattone says. “We want to make sure folks caring for family members with autism could feel comfortable and confident that they can do their banking without finding some alternative care option or worrying about some sort of trigger inside the branch.”
The credit union may roll out the ASE program at its other branches.
“Our mission is guiding our members through their life's financial journey, wherever it may take them,” Mattone says. “Part of that is being present whenever and wherever they need.”