Embracing the diversity that makes Jackson Heights a vibrant and growing neighborhood, Amalgamated Bank recently hosted a reception to present its new branch at 78-01 37th Avenue to the community. Amalgamated’s Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking George Maloney, Branch Manager Ismail Ahmed and the staff greeted over 100 guests, who included small business owners, civic leaders, elected officials, and many area residents.
During the evening, the branch staff and honored guests cut the ribbon that marked the opening of Amalgamated’s fifth branch in Queens and its first in Jackson Heights. The Bank also honored Queens Community Board # 3’s Chair Grace V. Lawrence, Public School 69Q, and Queens Community House. The reception concluded with a show arranged by P.S. 69Q’s music teacher Ken Hughes. He assembled an “amalgam” of students from chorus and band that performed songs for the community.
Earlier in the program, Amalgamated was officially welcomed to the neighborhood by New York State Senator José R. Peralta, 13th Senate District, and New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm, 25th Council district. Council Member Dromm, who taught in New York City public schools for 25 years and served as a union leader, said, “Amalgamated has always been the bank for hardworking men and women. We thank you for reaching out to the community and recognizing the leaders, schools, and organizations serving our family, friends, and neighbors in many important ways.”
The Jackson Heights branch will provide an array of affordable banking services to individuals, families, and small businesses. Customers can also take advantage of Amalgamated’s personal investing and insurance programs that are available from licensed representatives at the branch. In addition, the branch manager plans to work with local community organizations to make Amalgamated’s free MoneySense financial literacy workshops available to residents. The branch’s small business experts will also present programs about securing financing for an existing business or a start-up firm.
Moreover, Amalgamated will support community development projects, especially programs focused on creating more affordable housing units. In addition to the retail banking network, Amalgamated also has a Commercial Banking Division that serves middle market companies and a Commercial Real Estate Finance Division, which provides construction financing and permanent mortgages for multifamily housing.
“Our retail branches and commercial banking operations are focused on serving people and businesses in neighborhoods around New York City,” said Mr. Maloney. “We have come to Jackson Heights to serve working people and their families as well as the businesses that help this community thrive.”
Honoring Local People, Schools and Community Organizations
Months before the opening, Amalgamated began building relationships with local civic leaders, business groups, elected officials, and community organizations. Following these meetings, the Bank worked with a group of local advisers to prepare the following list of people and organizations honored during the opening reception:
- Grace V. Lawrence, Chair of Queens Community Board #3, which serves the needs of over 200,000 local constituents. Ms. Lawrence, known as “Amazing Grace,” is an award-winning community activist who has chaired or served on the board of a number of neighborhood organizations.
- Martha Vazquez, Principal of P.S. 69Q, The Jackson Heights School, which is one of New York City’s “A” rated magnet elementary schools for cultural and performing arts. Ms. Vazquez received the plaque that recognized all the past and present principals, teachers, and staff who guided students, as they built the literacy, math, and technological skills needed to succeed in life.
- Mary Abbate, Associate Executive Director for Community Services, received the plaque honoring Queens Community House. The organization’s facility on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights runs daily English language classes for more than 500 adults. In addition, the staff provides free citizenship classes, immigration assistance, housing and employment programs, and many other important services to neighborhood residents including families, students, seniors, and young adults.
After receiving the plaque, Ms. Abbate, said, “I love this neighborhood and its people. This is my home, and I enjoy spending all my time here. Also, the work we are doing for the men, women, and children of Queens is very fulfilling.”
The program concluded with remarks by Stefan Hench of The Financial Clinic. Mr. Hench works as a financial coach and is part of the staff at New York City’s Financial Empowerment Center that recently opened at the Queens Community House’s Jackson Heights offices. The coaches guide adults who are working through a variety of personal finance issues or seeking advice about credit, debt, and money related issues.
About Amalgamated Bank
Established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank continues the progressive traditions of its founders as the only union-owned bank in the United States. Chartered by New York State, Amalgamated Bank is a FDIC insured commercial bank with $4.5 billion in assets.
The Bank’s corporate divisions include Commercial Banking, Commercial Real Estate Finance, Institutional Asset Management and Custody, Amalgamated Capital™, and Amalgamated Business Credit, which, as part of the Commercial Banking Division, provides asset-based financing.
Amalgamated has 27 retail branches including 20 in New York City as well as branches in: Las Vegas, Nevada; Lyndhurst, New Jersey; Pasadena, California, and Washington, D.C. The Bank’s website is www.amalgamatedbank.com.
Amalgamated Bank’s Director of Retail Banking George Maloney, Principal Martha Vazquez of Public School 69Q in Jackson Heights, CB#3’s Ms. Lawrence, Branch Manager Ismail Ahmed, Associate Executive Director for Community Services Mary Abbate of Queens Community House, and Stefan Hench of The Financial Clinic, which helps run New York City’s new Financial Empowerment Center on 37th Avenue. Photo by Ken Browne