Magazine article American Banker

Bank, Brooklyn Residents Debate Pledge of Services

Magazine article American Banker

Bank, Brooklyn Residents Debate Pledge of Services

Article excerpt

What started out as a good-natured pledge to increase banking services in a poor section of New York City has led to some unintended consequences for a Brooklyn banker.

Charles J. Hamm, president and chief executive officer of Brooklyn's Independence Savings Bank, said he pledged $1 million worth of banking services in Brooklyn's Red Hook section if 3,000 signatures could be collected in favor of the plan.

Residents took that to mean a full-service branch, the first for Red Hook in years. Wednesday, after collecting the signatures, they sought to collect.

But Mr. Hamm says he never promised a branch, and isn't quite prepared to open one in Red Hook. The thrift and residents are still cooperating to come up with a solution, but continue to debate exactly what Mr. Hamm offered last spring.

The episode illustrates the pitfalls of community reinvestment commitments by financial institutions. Often, a commitment to increase banking services can mean different things to different people, and in the often politicized world of community reinvestment, defining exactly what it means can be all-important.

"I'm not even sure Red Hook could support a profitable branch," Mr. Hamm said this week. " ... You don't want to put a branch in one month and close it six months later."

But residents who mustered the signatures beg to differ. They say Mr. Hamm promised them a branch, and they're out to get it.

The Red Hook Banking Committee, which presented Mr. Hamm with the signatures Wednesday night, said it still insists on a branch. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.