FHLB Boston Reviews

Updated February 13, 2015
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1.7
14 Reviews
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Ed Hjerpe III
12 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. Good employer offering great benefits

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at FHLB Boston

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The bank's mission makes many employees feel good about going to work. The bank really plays an important role in economic development of the New England area. 10% of income set aside each year to supports many development projects including homes for veterans, seniors, and lower income households.

    Given what I know about other places, the work life balance here is a dream. You might check email once or twice but there is almost never work on weekends. Most of the employees take the commuter rail so the place empties out around 5 pm.

    Plus some of the people here are GREAT to work with--professionals who know their stuff and are genuinely kind and caring. It’s not the kind of competitive environment you see in some other places. People genuinely care about the place and in my experience love to help when asked.

    For its huge financial size ($50 billion plus in total assets), it’s amazing how small the place is in terms of staffing – just over 200 people to support all of the finance, operations, IT, risk management, regulatory, customer-facing, and other needs. This means lots of potential opportunities to interact with senior management on high level issues.

    The benefits are among the best I've seen/heard of. This place offers a defined benefit pension plan based on years of service (does that even exist anymore?) This is above and beyond 401k savings programs where they match contributions. Vacation days are comparable to generous. Insurance benefits are comparable to elsewhere. My manager has said yes to every educational opportunity/seminar I've wanted to attend, which was fully paid for by the Bank.

    To be sure, no one gets Wall Street level salaries here. Salaries are maybe slightly lower than financial institutions our size that are completely private? But this partly reflects a work life balance tradeoff. If you convert everything to an hourly wage, I would not be surprised if FHLB came out comparable to other companies. (That said, I think larger salary increases would help improve morale.)

    Overall a good, family-friendly place to work where the self-starting, driven, and detail-oriented person can take on significant levels of responsibility fairly quickly.

    Cons

    A difficulty for FHLB is its size. With only 200 people, it is difficult to have a clear career path for some positions. The management is aware of this and is trying to improve. I’m not sure what they’ll come up with given that career progression is inherently challenging for a small company. If the company wants to retain talent over the long haul, this has to get addressed somehow.

    There seem to be a couple of departments with higher turnover where employee morale is an issue. This does seem to be something the management should really put resources into improving.

    This place has to deal with an amazing amount of regulations. I don’t know if anyone really enjoys this part of their job but it’s something everyone learns to live with, given what FHLB is, as a quasi-government, quasi-private entity. This does create a somewhat conservative, slow-moving culture.

  2. Once good employer, now not so much

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at FHLB Boston full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Like others I believe the bank's mission is important to the regional economy. Also, ten% of profit goes to affordable housing. You would think this would be a great place to work, you would be wrong.

    Cons

    Upper management trusts or respects no one, including each other. Everyone is micro managed including them. Staff with advanced training and degrees have to deal with officers sticking their noses into technical subjects they know little about. Toxic atmosphere is made worse by salaries and bonuses heavily weighted to corporate officers,
    To make things worse HR is clueless about how to treat professionals. They cant even retain their own department staff. They treat everyone like children and are deceptive when it comes to things like announcing benefit reductions. Worse, they think no one will notice. (Note to management: everyone knows). Things got so bad that HR & management made a big deal about an employee engagement survey last year. Very negative results, but the only change they made was to allow jeans on Friday starting in 2015 as long as the board is not meeting. Wow.
    This used to be a good place to work. It hired smart people and promoted up the ranks. For the last 5+ years corporate officer positions have been filled from the outside, usually by those who know somebody in management. Once here, all they do is what they are told. Other opinions are not welcome. You are expected to leave after a few years because there's no career paths here. That is why more than 50 of the 185 employees have left in the last 2 years and why there are always openings.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your employees. Treat them with respect.

  3. Don't stay long

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at FHLB Boston full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    great education benefits. Pay more towards education than I've seen most companies do as well as pay up front. Also have a pension, which not many places have left.

    Cons

    Management doesn't get to know you or even care. They only seem to want to talk to people in their committees.
    No work from home on days where the weather is bad. If you can't come in, take a vacation day. What company in this day and age does not have remote access?????

    Advice to Management

    Learn who the people are below a VP level. It isn't a big place and won't take that long. The tone from the bottom is that all management cares about is their bonuses.

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  5. Disgusted

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at FHLB Boston full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Most of the people are cool, there are a few difficult ones. The job isn't that bad if you are allowed to do it properly.

    Cons

    Management will not let you forget something you've done or said once months/years ago. No reward for a job well done. Questionable hires over the last year or so. A lot of in-fighting over minor crap. Major babying to the staff. Good people have left or they make some excuse to let them go.

    Advice to Management

    Get off your high horse and get a clue as to what goes on the "trenches".

  6. Depressing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at FHLB Boston

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Like other reviews have said, there are a handful of very good people left. If you happen to report to them, it can be OK.

    Cons

    The other reviews are spot on. This place has become a sweatshop without any upward potential or legitimate raises while working around a growing concentration of difficult personalities and recent hires who know nothing.

    Advice to Management

    You won't listen so why bother. Only a catastrophe or regulatory order will wake you up.

  7. Miserable Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at FHLB Boston full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Better than being jobless. Some friendly people are left even though the work environment has become hostile.

    Cons

    All non senior employees are viewed as easily replaceable but when good,mid and lower staff leave, many errors occur, most of which senior management hides from the president. No upward promotion - all senior hires are external. Once good benefits are now completely lowered to the point where they are consistent with other financial services companies, without the high cash and noncash compensation potential of those companies. Raises are at or lower than the inflation rate so each year you earn less - forget about market rate. Workforce is demoralized across the board. Demoralized workforce has resulted in some departments, like IT, being outright hostile to each other and other departments. IT is especially bad with some very bad recent upper level hires creating a hostile work environment. Year over year turnover at the CIO level has really made for a disaster in IT. All quality IT employees are looking for different jobs especially because there is never internal promotion even though IT employees are working harder than ever. There is no good reason to come work in IT here when elite tech companies are in the area. Senior management really screwed up twice now in failing to retain the last 2 CIOs.

    Advice to Management

    Read the cons and adjust. Promote internally. Retain employees by improving morale through market rate compensation. Stop always low balling your employees. Share Bank success with employees, not just members of senior management. Remember we are human. Your treatment of us during the marathon bombing was horrible in every way - both the day of the event and on the day of the manhunt when you demanded we report to work at the bankup facility even though there was a lockdown order from the governor. Also you made us report on the day of Hurricane Sandy - that was unsafe and awful. We are human and should be treated as such.

  8. Helpful (1)

    Deskilled, demotivated, overworked and underappreciated

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I have been working at FHLB Boston full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some good people to work with.

    Cons

    As you can judge from the comments of other reviewers, the FHLB Boston is one of the most boring and depressing (the environment, the culture, and upper management), deskilling and demotivating (if you are coming from a place where you are used to being intellectually challenged and learning more things and acquiring more skills as you go, beware this is definitely not for you. You would be robotized, demotivated, and depressed by the time you leave this place) and corrupt (almost most senior management, the CEO and Board members have known each other for over 20 years and hook each other and their friends’ kids on a regular basis. I know an individual who was on the chopping board but was saved due to his relationship with the FORMER CEO and some similar examples). I don’t want to be redundant but I want to emphasize again that it is one of the most depressing places I have ever worked. More three fourth of the 250 employees here genuinely hate it for all the reasons I mentioned and maybe more.

  9. High job security, good/work-life balance, slow advancement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Manager in Boston, MA

    I have been working at FHLB Boston full-time (More than 8 years)

    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits include a pension and good health plan

    Cons

    Slow advancement, northeast version of good ole boys network among management

    Advice to Management

    Consider the level of turnover and what quality of people leave versus the quality who stay.

  10. Worst decision I ever made

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Manager Level
    Current Employee - Manager Level

    I have been working at FHLB Boston full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Some people are nice, but they are usually new employees that quickly get a sense of things then leave.

    Cons

    Dear God, where to begin? First off, if you're reading these reviews to help you decide on whether you should apply or accept a job here, then PLEASE take my advice and DO NOT WORK HERE! Working at this place was the worst decision I ever made in my life, period. I've worked in the same field at different companies and the experience was so much better than here. First, the commute to the building is atrocious; expect an hour drive no matter where you're coming from. Public transit is orange or green line both of which are nasty but preference should be given to the orange line. If you choose to park here on a daily basis, be prepared to pay almost $500 per month for that "honor". Since there are a half dozen hotels, sport venues, countless of over priced stores, and the Hynes Convention Center here, finding a parking spot at 8 in the morning is a nightmare. They do have free valet which is nice, but expect to wait ten to fifteen minutes for your car when you try to leave. Also, there is a disgusting white and yellow sticky fluid dripping from the ceiling in the garage that you need to be cautious not to park under. Some of it dripped on my car and ate away the paint but of course the building wouldn't pay or even acknowledge it. What do you expect for a measly $500 a month? Now you can now begin your day at the "bank", and I use that term loosely. This place thinks they're a bank and the uptight senior management loves to pretend it is. Even though there are no customers to serve on a daily basis, you're still expected to dress up for work. Don't even get me started on when the board members arrive once a month for two days; this place bends over backwards for them no matter what. I've seen management tell employees to get on the floor and wipe down the walls so the board can see a nice clean wall when they arrive. Not like they would anyway, they usually sit in all day meetings and eat food cooked by a personal chef they bring in for those two days and serve them on real plates with a gold leaf lined brim. Are you serious? Give me a freaking break. I hear this monthly event was an even bigger fiasco in the last building they occupied because they had a full kitchen the chef could utilize whereas now they setup a little burner to cook on, but I came to the bank after they moved so lucky for me I never saw that. Management here is pitiful, expect no recognition unless something goes wrong, then everyone is up in arms and you'll be drowning in paperwork hell filling out reports of what happened, when, where, why, how, etc. Such a waste of time and something I've never seen before at companies with tens of thousands more employees than this place. Since this place is so small (less than 200 people) meetings take up your entire day. One after another after another. Then management looks at you asking why whatever it is your working on is late. There is no time because of all the meetings! People would make fake meetings just to get some time so they can work on their actual work, but that doesn't stop people from calling you anyway asking if you're really busy at that time or not. My manager actually said to me on more than one occasion that I didn't have to leave right at 5, I could work late to get what I need done finished on time. Yeah right, like I'd spend anymore time here than I have to. People here are drones and can never relax, unless you get that one day every few months where you can wear jeans... For a donation fee. This place made billions last year and did extremely well, but just slightly missed their over ambitious goal, so what did they do? No bonuses this year and minimum raises. As long as the C-level staff gets their bonuses and raises on their minimum base pay of $350k thats all that matters. I work for one of the biggest departments at the bank and we're still highly overworked, I can't imagine how the smaller departments (1-4 people) get it done. Yes, there is an entire department with just one person in it and they refuse to hire any help. Also, something odd i was told when I first started was that it seemed like women were treated poorly here since the majority of people here are men. I can say that this is true, we are simply eye candy to these guys and we need to shut up and work. I have a higher degree than my manager yet I'm the stupid one?! I recently accepted a job offer for less pay just so I can get out of this place, that should tell you something! I could go on and on but there is a word limit here. The point is, stay far away from this place unless you want to take your work home with you and be miserable like everyone else here. Turn around and don't look back!

    Advice to Management

    Hire more help and treat your employees with respect! A stupid "Thank You" email sent out by your secretary after months of hard work and long hours is a slap in the face!

  11. Helpful (1)

    Highly reactionary culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA

    I worked at FHLB Boston

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    An EXCELLENT place for the self starter, new gradate or those looking to change careers. In most departments, there is no territorial atmosphere- if you want to create or improve something, even if its outside of your job sphere- have at it. You can "write your own resume", because the opportunities for learning and expanding are very good. Compared to most financial institutions today, the place offer relatively stable job security.

    Cons

    For such a small company (<200) with a business model that, by design, will not change, its astounding to me the lack of strategic planning and interest in process improvement. Job security namely comes from the very lean staffing model. Talented, responsible (usually new) employees quickly become disillusioned and leave; long-timers hang for the pension and/or fear of leaving for a much less secure position elsewhere.
    Almost all C-Level execs have turned over in the last two years- good, but staff turnover steadily continues. Once GREAT benefits have been greatly reduced in the last two years, at the same time large projects have been pushed out without resource planning or collaboration. Projects that most companies 10 times bigger would not attempt to do in the time allotted - and would never think of without adding (at least temporary) staff. The majority are burnt out and under-appreciated, without much evidence of a light at the end of the tunnel- this is all new in the last few years. Part of that is from the financial crisis we are all in- but a lot is from old-school type bankers that don't believe in open door policies and the abilities of capable staff.

    Advice to Management

    Dear Management Committee:
    Email "thank yous" are not enough for the amount of work and personal sacrifice that's been expected. Company earnings, assets critical services supplied are that of a very large company. But the champagne expectations to compete with the big boys in the industry (especially in technology) can't be done on a beer budget and bare bones staff.
    Most staff is highly conscientious and eager to contribute to the betterment of the company, yet major decisions have been made by the top few and passed down as marching orders to the rest.

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