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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Amalgamated Bank Branch Grand Opening On Roosevelt Island - Cause Of Celebration For Banking Deprived Residents

Photo by Catherine Gibbons

Last Friday's Grand Opening of the new Roosevelt Island Amalgamated Bank branch drew some divergent responses from readers. One wrote:
Only on Roosevelt Island do bank branches have grand openings. Amazing. I wish Starbucks did that when they opened. But they just opened without fanfare.
I think it's AWESOME that Amagamated Bank took over the vacated lease of the old bank. They have the support and resources to last here on the island and their rates are better. Welcome to R.I. Amalgamated!
Amalgamated's Public Relations representative forwarded this recap of the Roosevelt Island Grand Opening festivities.
Students, residents, local leaders and elected officials helped as Amalgamated Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer Derrick D. Cephas and Branch Manager Kathy Lasri cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Bank’s Roosevelt Island branch. Later this month, Amalgamated and P.S. / I.S. 217 will start a project that lets third and fifth grade students open savings accounts and deposit small amounts of money. The project will include classroom sessions about saving money and spending it wisely. Shown in the photo in the front row (from the left) are: Kartan Afif, Jessica McNamara, N.Y.C. Deputy Comptroller Denise Pease, Mr. Cephas, Ms. Lasri as well as students Alpha Bah, Julia Nam and Andrea Reyes. Back row (left to right): P.S. / I.S. 217 Principal Mandana Beckman, Father Peter A Miqueli, R.I.O.C. President and CEO Stephen Shane, Bank V.P. Lona Gill, New York State Assemblyman Micah Kellner, N.Y.C. Department of Finance Commissioner David Frankel, State Comptroller’s Deputy Press Secretary Vanessa Lockel and State Banking Department Director of the Consumer Affairs Unit Akua Soadwa.
Assembly Member Micah Kellner was there and on his blog reports:
On October 1st, I was proud to join Amalgamated Bank President and CEO Derrick Cephas, as well as Borough President Scott Stringer and a number of other distinguished guests, to mark the grand opening of Amalgamated’s new branch on Roosevelt Island. The opening marks the beginning of a new era of community banking for island residents — a secure replacement for the New York National Bank branch that closed this summer.

In July, I posted about how I worked with Assembly Banking Committee Chair Darryl Towns to ensure that the State Banking Department designated the island’s new Amalgamated branch as a Banking Development District (BDD) branch. This means that $10 million in public funds have been deposited with the new branch, providing the security it needs to serve as a reliable long-term bank for Roosevelt Islanders. Thanks to the BDD designation, as well as support from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, and other stakeholders, island residents will continue to have a convenient location to do their banking for many years to come....

Let's hope that Amalgamated can stay in business on Roosevelt Island longer than their predecessors.