Friday, June 18, 2021

Banks Refuse To Open Branch On Roosevelt Island Main Street But Will Consider Area Near RI Transportation Hub In Southtown, Says RIOC - Sportspark Building Being Offered

Roosevelt Island has been without a bank since Amalgamted Bank closed it's Main Street branch last September

Since that time, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder Hudson Related, local politicians and residents have been unable to persuade any bank to open on Roosevelt Island. 

During yesterday's RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting, RIOC President Shelton Haynes and Chief Financial Officer John O'Reilly reported that banks refuse to open a branch on Main Street. 

However, there is interest in opening a bank branch near the Roosevelt Island Transportation Hubs, Tram, Subway and Ferry in Southtown near the Riverwalk Buildings, Cornell Tech and the newly opened Graduate Hotel. 

RIOC plans to offer space in the renovated Sportspark building to a bank that may be interested in the location.

Upon hearing of RIOC's plan, RIOC Directors Michael Shinozaki and David Kraut warned of expected community opposition to placing a bank in Sportspark, instead of on Main Street where most of the residents who have been asking for a bank branch live.  Mr Shinozaki said:

...The perception problem you're going to have is that this is a facility being put in for the benefit of Cornell and not for the residents of the Island...
Mr Kraut added:

... It's no good putting banks in Sportpark when the people live on Main Street... We always have to be careful who we're carrying water for. Are we carrying water for the people who live here or some other entity?...

Mr O'Reilly replied:

The issue is the banks themselves are reluctant to go to Main Street.... We're not pointing them to Sportspark....

...They see the Transportation hubs... attracting business to their brick and mortar....

Today I asked one Long Time Roosevelt Island resident who's been asking for a new Roosevelt Island bank branch about the possibility of Sportspark as a location. The reaction:

... As far as a bank — anywhere accessible by Red Bus is ok by me....

According to Mr. O'Reilly, Amalgamated Bank closed their Roosevelt Island branch with 800 customers and $9 million in deposits, needing $20 million to break even.At closing, RIOC had over $40 million in deposits at the Roosevelt Island Amalgamated Bank  branch. But, Amalgamated did not give the Roosevelt Island branch any credit in evaluating it's viability for the RIOC $40 million deposit which was credited to the Amalgamated corporate group.

Here's the RIOC Operations Advisory Committee meeting discussion about the possibility of a Sportspark Bank branch (25 minute mark).

RIOC OPS Committee - June 17 2021.m4v from Diva Communications on Vimeo.

Also, RIOC is seeking to place more ATM machines at various locations around Roosevelt Island.

Stay tune for more. 

UPDATE 8 PM - The Long Time Roosevelt Island Resident adds:

Totally agree with anyone who argues for the fact that most of the population lives between Manhattan Park and North of the Tram, and that the RIOC & Hudson Related folks as well as our newest neighbor totally disrespect the actual folks who live AND work here.  Especially the elderly, disabled and the Island businesses and non-profits that need an accessible brick & mortar bank.

Let the hotel & Cornell get some ATMs and give us a conveniently located branch of a financially stable, healthy Bank IN THE HEART OF THE ISLAND.