While bigger banks can be filled with bureaucracy and red tape when it comes to mortgage lending, personal banking, commercial, small business and student loans, the freshest face in banking is working to make the ultimate customer experience.
Quontic Bank – who has an open branch in Great Neck and a forthcoming branch in Astoria at the end of March – is a full-service, federally chartered community bank owned by Quontic Bank Holdings Corp., a holding company controlled by CEO and Chairman of the Board Steven Schnall. Schnall was integral in the acquisition and recapitalization of Golden First Bank in Great Neck – which was troubled by the economic turndown – and took on the challenge of building a community-based ground level bank highly focused on personalized service.
“When you are a little bank run by entrepreneurs who have invested interest in the profitability of the business, you got a good shot at making a difference with the customer,” said Schnall, who has been involved in the mortgage industry for nearly 20 years. “As we grow, that philosophy does not get lost. It becomes an important part of our strategy. We care and respect what you are trying to accomplish.”
This simplifying and common sense business model for Quontic has succeeded in making a financial about-face where in only five quarters after acquisition they expect to be profitable; a feat Schnall calls “quite an accomplishment.”
Located at 3 Grace Avenue in Great Neck and 31-05 Broadway in Astoria, Quontic Bank boasts a strong background in mortgage lending where fast-decisions and quick thinking is paramount. Schnall – who was the founder and principal owner of The New York Mortgage Company, LLC – along with George Lazaridis – Quontic Bank’s President and Director of Holdings and President of Mortgage Lending – and Donald M. Frain – director President and Chief Financial Officer of Holdings – believes that proficiency is priority number one.
“Because we are so efficient in getting people the answers they need and their money on time, we are able to charge a good market rate and make customers happy while still building a portfolio that makes money. It’s all about personal service,” said Schnall.
According to Schnall, Quontic’s 1.36 percent annual percentage yield (APY) is amongst the top 10 percent in terms of the money market rate.
“When people need to finance real estate, there’s nobody better than us,” said Schnall. “In business lending, it’s a small but an important part of our business because we are able to support the community.”
Quontic Bank has a history of supporting the local neighborhoods mainly due to the community service of Vice President Michael Serao. As the board director for the Astoria LIC Kiwanis Club, president of the Ditmars Merchants Association, chair for the Astoria Park Relay for Life, board director for the Boys and Girls Club of Queens, and an active member of Community Board 1, among other organizations, to say Serao is a busy man would be quite an understatement.
“Quontic Bank is giving back through all of these organizations,” said Serao.
In order to be successful, Quontic Bank will have to navigate through what has been a wearisome marketplace and the threat of inflation; two of their biggest challenges that Schnall recognizes.
“We have to figure out how to land safely while taking those risks into consideration. It’s exciting to be building a new kind of bank without a toxic loan portfolio. We are basically coming to the table and saying, ‘what would we want in a bank and let’s make that happen.’ That’s the fun part and we are getting great feedback from our customers,” said Schnall.
Part of that positive feedback has to be partly due to the 37,000 nationwide, surcharge-free ATMs, part of the Allpoint® network. These ATMs, found in Duane Reade, CVS, Rite Aid, Target, 7-11, Walgreens and many more, are just part of the common sense initiatives that focus on customer service.
While a grand opening with special guests from around the borough is still in the works, customers will be able to access the two news branches starting at the end of March. For more information regarding the many services Quontic Bank can provide your family, small business or personal banking, visit www.quonticbank.com or call 516-686-0707.
For those that were wondering how they came up with the name Quontic, the root – ontic – has Greek origins meaning real.
“It seemed to be a good strong word especially with the back drop of all the synthetic and derivatives and instruments that caused the credit crisis in the first place. The ‘Qu’ can stand for our quality, qualitative or quantitative approach to keeping it real,” said Schnall.