Some men are born community bankers, some men are called to it, and some have it thrust upon them – David Chase, vice president of Commercial Lending for Hampden Bank, falls into the latter group.
“I was selling life insurance to a banker, and he said, ‘You’ve got to come work for me.’ It was as simple as that,” laughed Chase.
A self-confessed “Western Mass. guy,” Chase has been involved in civic life at all levels, first nabbing a seat on the finance committee in West Springfield and then throwing his hat in the ring as one of the city’s first councilors after the town changed its charter and shifted to a new mode of government.
“That was a great experience – you were writing all the new bylaws, kind of laying the foundation for all the new councils, too,” Chase said. “I enjoyed doing it. I wish more people would get involved with local politics, because that’s the only way they’re going to institute change. You hear a lot of people complain about government, but unless you get involved you can’t change things.”
He now sits on the planning board of his hometown of Agawam. But perhaps his most rewarding activity is his involvement with the Grey House, a local nonprofit that runs after-school programs for at-risk youth, adult education for new immigrants and a food pantry.
“To see the kids get a gift at Christmastime, or a turkey at Thanksgiving, it’s just great. You really see the results of your efforts,” he said. Having that kind of hands-on involvement is what Chase really craves – when he first began helping out there, he was offered a role on the finance committee.
“I told them I’d rather be on the facilities committee – I’d rather be out there raking leaves and building porches, whatever they need me to do,” he said.
It’s constant push for progress that has drawn other’s admiration. “David is always working to help other get to a better place,” explained Michelle Crosby, when nominating him for a Community Bank Hero award. “If he isn’t forwarding on resumes, he is mentoring other financial professionals … his knowledge and skill have been tremendous assets to myself as well as others.”