They weathered the economic storm and now Flushing Bank is ready to serve their communities with a renewed purpose focused on the future of banking.
Flushing Bank has the personal touch that the monsters of the industry cannot even approach. Their size allows them to cater exclusively to the specific needs of an individual or a small business.
At Flushing Bank, the distance between the branch managers and the top decision makers in the company is much shorter than it is at many of the large institutions. Therefore, President and CEO John R. Buran believes that Flushing Bank can make things happen more quickly.
“It tends to be simpler to deal with us,” Buran said. “We’re not stuck in a formula. We obviously use risk-based models to manage the business, but we have local knowledge at the decision-maker level, and we can appreciate the nuances of the New York marketplace.”
Patricia Tiffany, Vice President, Director of Marketing, said that Flushing Bank’s size allows them more flexibility in terms of service and also makes for a higher level of intimacy with their customers. According to Tiffany, banking decisions don’t have to go to a committee in the penthouse of some big name bank – instead, Flushing Bank can make quick decisions because they know you.
“Big banks treat you like a number, whereas we treat you like a neighbor,” said Tiffany. “We offer the same types of products and service that the big boys do, but we give it to you with a personal touch.”
Flushing Bank, which will soon have 16 branches throughout the New York metropolitan region, recently changed its name from Flushing Savings Bank in order better reflect the increase of the variety of business it does with the business community.
“We thought that the term savings bank was much more restrictive and gave the connotation of a company that really only dealt with consumers,” said Buran. “Although we have a very active consumer business and we also now have a very active business and professional clientele as well so we wanted to reflect that in the name of the bank.”
Businesses constantly need to upgrade their services in order to serve their customers better – and upgrading costs money. Flushing Bank’s Business Banking Team presents a team of bankers who evaluate the entire business of a customer to see if the loan request makes sense.
“We will spend the time to understand the business model and the financial needs of the company. Our lenders will customize a solution for each customer and will walk them through the process step-by-step so they know the financial solution of products and services is right for them,” said Theresa Kelly, Director of Business Banking.
Now, the bank is involved in all facets of commercial banking. It lends to not-for-profits, small businesses in the Metropolitan area, companies in the food business, private schools and many other types of businesses. Flushing Bank also does a lot of commercial real estate work that can run the gamut from strip malls to apartment buildings.
“We have long been in the commercial real estate business and that business has been doing quite well,” Buran said. “It’s been more challenging to make sure you are lending to the right companies, but that’s what our job is.”
In order to make sure they are lending to the right companies, Flushing has a strict Know Your Customer (KYC) policy. It involves representatives going to small businesses and reaching out on a personal level to make sure the business is as described. KYC also gives Flushing Bank the opportunity to have a far more personal relationship with their business clientele.
And it is their size that allows them to reach out on such a personal level. When it comes to banks, bigger isn’t always better – as the country found out during the economic collapse of a few years ago. In today’s economy, a more nuanced approach is needed to present banking products to customers.
One of the products that Flushing Bank offers is their new and improved Internet banking service. Their new platform is more robust than the previous one and offers different features for different types of customers. Businesses have their own platform and individual consumers have another – this system allows for much greater functionality.
“It’s been a very successful venture for us,” Buran said. “It’s just another area that we have expanded that enables us to provide services to our customers that allow them to conduct their banking where and when it is convenient for them.”
While Flushing Bank has an eye set on expansion to better serve their customers, they have every intention of remaining a community bank focused on dedicated customer service.
“As we continue to grow, we will focus on things we know – specifically, the communities we serve,” said Paul Ho, Director of Asian Banking. “One of the areas where we’ve expanded our focus is the Asian market in Flushing. The staff in those branches speaks Chinese and Korean dialects in order to better serve that particular community.”
When you bank with Flushing Bank, you get someone that knows you. They get to know you as a person and as a business. They grow to understand your business and build a personal banking relationship. They offer all of the services you can get with a bigger bank, but it is the connection they make with the customer that signals the Flushing Bank difference.