2020 Awards of Excellence-Tina Sbrega



Tina Sbrega's Nomination Letter reads:

“If you dream it and believe it, then you can do it. But don't expect that it will all be handed to you and be ready to make some sacrifices along the way.”
– Tina M. Sbrega, President & CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union.

"The Gardner Franco American Federal Credit Union was founded in 1938 by 20 members — with only $775 in assets — to meet the banking needs of French Canadians who had come to Gardner to work in the furniture industry. Today, 82 years later, GFA’s President & CEO, Tina M. Sbrega is still focused on the mission to improve the quality of life for those communities we serve.

Tina was appointed President & CEO in 2009. Under her leadership, GFA Federal Credit Union has doubled their number of branch locations from 5 to 10 and more than doubled their asset size to $590 million. The list of accomplishments for Tina is extensive - her tenure, experience, and growth alone with GFA earn her a well-deserved nomination in the CCUA’s Awards of Excellence – Hall of Fame.

2020 marks the celebration of forty years at GFA Federal Credit Union for Tina M. Sbrega. A lot has changed at GFA, and in the financial industry in the past forty years. However, year after year, you can always find Tina’s accomplishments highlighted, whether it be for her service to the community, her expertise within the financial industry, or her desire to be innovative.

Let’s begin with Tina’s commitment to the communities she serves. Tina has served as the trustee for Mount Wachusett Community college and Heywood Hospital for the past twenty years. where she has assisted with strategic decisions such as the Heywood Hospital’s partnership with Athol Hospital and the Quabbin Retreat, as well as the nomination process for the new MWCC president after Daniel Asquino retired. Tina is a current Director for COCC (Connecticut Online Computer Center) and a past Director for the House of Peace & Education, MSIC (Massachusetts Share Insurance Company), The Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, Gardner Area Mental Health, Massachusetts Credit Union League, and Oak Hill Country Club.

Tina is a Co-Founder of the Women’s Circle of Giving, established in 2014 to bring together the resources of women to support efforts to improve the lives of women, children, and families in the communities of Gardner, Templeton, Winchendon, Ashburnham, Westminster, Barre and Hubbardston. WCG has 150 members and raised over $120,000.00 in its first five years. Her commitment runs deep; under her leadership, GFA ran community campaigns such as Buy Greater Gardner Now to assist with the aftermath of the 2008 economic downturn as well as a community giving program called People Helping People.

'Because it’s never been done before is no reason to ignore the possibilities' – Tina M. Sbrega, President & CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union.

Under Tina’s leadership, GFA Federal Credit Union had a few of its own 'firsts' – GFA became the first credit union in the nation to purchase a stock owned bank, Monadnock Community Bank which is known today as our Peterborough branch location.

Tina partnered with David Brown, the Founder of CU Auto Advisors to be the first credit union to offer a hassle-free car buying service to our members.

GFA opened their Leominster location in 2013 - the first new concept branch utilizing open concept and emerging technology.

And, more recently, GFA was the first financial institution in MA to provide banking services to the cannabis industry. Part of our mission is to improve the quality of life for those communities we serve, so Tina sat back and said, ‘You know, whether we agree with allowing recreational marijuana or not, they’re legitimate licensed businesses, highly regulated with probably more oversight than any other retail establishment, and yet they’re going to be confined to doing business primarily in cash, with nowhere to put that cash. How does that make a safe community?' For GFA, this endeavor was really about the safety of our communities.

Like everything else Tina has accomplished in the financial industry, the expansion into servicing the Marijuana industry was no different.  She has become an expert in the field of marijuana related banking. Tina has spoken at countless public forums on the importance of integrating the financial industry and the legal marijuana industry. She is an advocate for the importance of providing MRB industry access to the mainstream banking services that other industries have access to. Allowing the financial institutions to treat marijuana clients the same as any other business member allows for the business to be successful and secure, in addition to adding revenue to the communities and keeping large sums of cash safe.

Tina personally works with each and every MRB business owner to introduce and expose them to the numerous support partnerships that serve as resources and have been created to provide a turnkey banking solution for clients. Tina and her MRB team do extensive research on each client to ensure that GFA remains compliant throughout the process within an ever-changing regulated industry. In 1938, GFA began their mission to provide financial options to those who were underserved and overlooked. Today, under Tina’s leadership, GFA still has that mission at the forefront of everything we do.

Tina’s leadership does not go unrecognized by her team or the community in which she serves. Please see the extensive list of well-deserved awards Tina has acquired:

  • MWCC Service Above Self
  • Citizen of the Year
  • Wings of HOPE
  • Worcester Business journal Outstanding Women in Business Award
  • MVOC Ally Award
  • Heywood Healthcare Community Leader Award
  • Worcester Business Journal Top 50 Power Players
  • Worcester Business Journal Innovator of the Year

From the entire team at GFA Federal Credit Union, we nominate our President & CEO with the highest honor to the CCUA’s 2020 Awards of Excellence as a candidate for the CEO Hall of Fame."