After years of struggling to find workers, the Commonwealth Cooperative Bank of New Hampshire is about to get a second job.
The bank, which has about 400 employees, is hiring a co-worker for the first time since its merger with the Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. The move is part of a broader effort by the bank to hire more than 1,000 new workers, or about 2% of its workforce.
The new job, which is part-time and requires a background check, will be a “keystone” position for the bank, said Jim Bostock, the bank’s chief financial officer.
The first job, Bostocks assistant director for finance, said, will come from a copped-out co-owner.
“We have to be in a position where we can help them with their financial needs and they can continue to make loans and do their jobs.”
That’s a key component of the banks turnaround.
In 2014, the state legislature and governor signed legislation that allowed co-ops to receive $25 million in state subsidies for new hires.
But co-op lending, or lending to other banks, has been limited since the recession, and that has limited the amount of money that can be available for hiring more employees.
Co-ops also are more expensive than other types of lending, which can cost $1,000 or more per job.
So the bank has had to work to find a way to pay for hiring new employees.
That has led to a “huge” need for new co-workers, Bastock said.
The co-operatives bank has been able to pay the salaries of the new hires with loans.
And the bank can hire more people at lower rates than other banks.
“Co-ops are one of the fastest growing industries in the country,” said David Raney, co-founder of the co-operative bank and co-director of the Center for Cooperative Business at Western New England University.
“It’s one of those industries where we are really trying to leverage our resources to do as much as we can for them as we’re able.”
The bank has not set a date for hiring a new co, but Bostons assistant director said the bank will likely hire some employees over the next few months.
“In order to get as many people in the bank as possible, we’re going to be looking at co-opening more positions,” Bostolls assistant director told POLITICO.
The next steps for the co can take several months, Bistock said, adding that co-openings are expected to happen as the bank is able to hire a “lot more employees.”
“There are always going to come downs in the cycle of hiring,” Bastocks assistant added.
But for now, the co is “making progress” in finding new workers for the job, he said.