Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Banker Who Can't Stop Giving

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

The Banker Who Can't Stop Giving

Article excerpt

The banker who can't stop giving Richard Gelman loves giving money away, just don't tell anyone about it.

"I'm a little embarrassed if I get in the papers too much," says the president and chairman of National Bank, a $125 million-assets, family-owned bank in Flushing, a New York City neighborhood. "I don't want anyone to think I'm doing this because of my ego."

At the rate he's handing money out, however, he'll be smiling for the camera more than he'd like to. When several churches burned down in the South, Gelman was the first to contribute to a fund to help rebuild the churches. His donation of $10,000 out of his own pocket started the fund which has since grown to a whopping $18 million.

In October Gelman made the front section of Newsday after giving a Long Island woman $20,000 to help her buy a home for her and her six children. Gelman saw Christine Williams, who works as a customer service representative at Chase Bank, on a local TV program. Williams was renting a house from a real estate agent with the option to buy. After putting $12,000 into monthly rent payments and repairs for the house, Williams discovered the agent did not have permission to rent the house, much less sell it.

Williams was in danger of being thrown out of the house until Gelman stepped in--negotiating the price from $120,000 to about $80,000 and providing Williams with $20,000 towards a downpayment and new appliances for her home. …

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