For Maria Alves, it’s all about the customer. Her innate consideration for and desire to help others shines through in both her professional and personal lives.
A graduate of Bay State College, Alves has also taken several accounting and management courses at Bryant College and holds a number of certificates, including a Retirement Plans Training Certification from Investors Bank & Trust. But just as important as her academic achievements is her ability to interact with both customers and fellow employees. Alves is especially devoted to customers who might be victims of elder abuse or facing extremely difficult life situations. “I try to provide them with the customer service, compassion and respect they deserve in their most difficult times,” she said.
During more than four decades at Milford Federal Savings & Loan, Alves has risen through the ranks from part-time teller to customer service manager and bank officer.
“My greatest accomplishment since becoming manager of customer service has been building a department that provides exceptional customer service,” she said. “Being manager of a department that functions as a team, working together to meet the individual needs of each customer, gives me a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment.”
Michael J. DiCicco, senior vice president of operations at Milford Federal, nominated Alves for a Community Bank Hero award based on her longevity – she has been with the institution for 42 years – and for her phenomenal customer service. “She consistently goes well above and beyond for every one of her customers,” he said, adding that she makes herself available to many of the institution’s homebound, hospitalized and nursing home customers. “She thinks nothing of sitting with them long after their business is settled and lending a caring ear.”
A cancer survivor, Alves understands the importance of sharing time and financial resources with others facing medical crises. For many years, she has actively fundraised and manned the telethon lines for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, her nonprofit of choice. “I feel innocent children need a voice and every opportunity in life,” she said. “Giving back gives me the feeling of satisfaction of trying to make the world a better place.”
The bank’s involvement in community is also key to helping the less fortunate, contributing to the common good and raising awareness, as well as providing better service for customers. “Giving back can raise our business profile and even attract new customers,” said Alves. “We are constantly working on continuing to improve and stay ahead of identity fraud, increase consistency and continue to focus on the needs of customers as well as nurture personal relationships more effectively.”
Alves is long-time member and active supporter of the Milford Area Chamber of Commerce and served a three-year term on the board of directors.
“An active, trusted, and well respected member of the Portuguese community, Maria has long been a beacon of support, advice, dedication and service,” DiCicco said. “Her bilingual skills, caring and overall willingness to help those within this branch of her Milford community have endeared her to many who would otherwise not feel comfortable within the banking environment.”
You could say that community banking is an integral part of Alves. And the community wouldn’t have it any other way.