Four Generations of Service at Brotherhood Credit Union

The Sherman Family Legacy

For four generations, the Sherman family has served the members of Brotherhood Credit Union in Lynn, Mass. Joseph Sherman served on the credit union’s original board, followed by his son, Samuel. When he was in second grade, James ‘Jim’ Sherman began his credit union career fetching coffee and helping clean the credit union. More than 50 years later, he is retiring as President/CEO, but will continue to serve on Brotherhood’s board.

Like family before him, Adam H. Sherman has always helped out at the credit union, including working as a loan clerk and teller. After he earned his Executive MBA from Suffolk University, he served credit unions as an Audit Manager for Anderson & French P.C. His heart, however, led him back to his Brotherhood family more than 20 years ago, first as Operations Assistant. He next advanced to Supervisor of Finance & Development, followed by CFO. In August, Adam Sherman became the fourth generation to lead the credit union as President/CEO.  

As you can imagine, the Sherman family has navigated many changes at the credit union. When Jim ‘officially’ started at the credit union in 1970, the staff of four were truly multifunctional – everybody did a little bit of everything – and the credit union had not yet converted to computer processing. Now there are 18 employees and Brotherhood competes in a financial landscape dominated by the Internet and electronic access.

 

James Sherman, left, and Adam Sherman (Photo: Olivia Falcigno)

Despite the technological growth, the Shermans both believe in the power of personal connection. “People work with me, not for me,” the basis of Jim’s management style, has resulted in employee longevities of 20 – to 30-years. Adam agrees, adding “a leader must trust the people he/she surrounds themselves with.”

Member loyalty is key to the credit union’s success. Jim recalled how credit union employees helped a woman rebuild her finances following her divorce. She eventually bought a condominium, and she sends the credit union a photograph every year of the ocean view from her home. “I keep the card on my desk. It’s seeing lives changed that I enjoy,” he noted.

The Coronavirus pandemic has added social distancing restrictions to Brotherhood’s operations, but Adam feels that members will accept COVID-related changes as a ‘new norm’. He notes that “becoming more empathetic to our co-workers’ and members’ needs is what the credit union movement is all about.” He added that the pandemic has “brought management and employees together to be able to think on the fly, implementing best practices and supporting each other during this time of heightened anxiety and stress.”

Although Brotherhood has moved around Lynn throughout the decades, from Blossom Street to Summer Street, then Mount Vernon Street, and, finally, to Market Street in 1979, the credit union has stayed loyal to helping generations of new Americans seeking to establish a financial footing. “We are here for our members and should give the ability to utilize our products/services that will help them achieve their financial dream,” said Adam Sherman.

Founded by the Beth Jacob Synagogue brotherhood with $100 in 1934, Brotherhood Credit today has $110 million in assets and 6,000 members. James Sherman recalled that the very first check the credit union wrote was join the trade association. He said that credit unions “need to band together as a group. There is more power with more representation.” He added, “I’ve never considered doing away with our membership.”

Adam Sherman agreed, saying, “Whether we need assistance on a new policy, are taking advantage of the many webinars on topics that are germane to what we are trying to accomplish, or networking with our peers, membership with CCUA is invaluable and more especially during the pandemic.”

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