Tag Archives: bank

MCU cuts ribbon on southeast Queens facility


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy MCU

Municipal Credit Union (MCU) has expanded its footprint in Queens with the opening of its new branch in Springfield Gardens.

Congressmember Gregory Meeks, Assemblymember William Scarborough, Councilmember Leroy Comrie, and District Leader Elmer Blackburne joined MCU president/CEO Kam Wong and board chair Mark S. Brantley in cutting the ribbon on the new full-service Springfield Gardens MCU branch, which is located at 134-66 Springfield Boulevard.

The Springfield Gardens branch is MCU’s second branch in Queens and first in the southern part of the borough. MCU’s other Queens branch is in Elmhurst. It is also the credit union’s first branch system-wide to have an e-banking center. The e-banking center allows members to conduct a wide range of banking transactions, including transferring funds between accounts, checking account status and applying for loans.

“MCU is excited to open its Springfield Gardens location,” said MCU President and CEO Kam Wong.”We have many members who work and live in this part of Queens, and our new branch will finally allow us to provide them with convenient and excellent service. We look forward to continuing and growing our relationship with the community and our members here.”

The Springfield Gardens branch is a full-service branch, offering teller service, staff to help members with a wide range of financial transactions and advice, 24/7 ATMs, and the credit union’s first e-banking center. The branch is open Monday to Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

Investors Bank will stay committed to customers


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Investors Bank recently acquired Astoria-based Marathon Bank for $135 million in cash, reflecting a large accomplishment in its desire to expand.

But even though New Jersey-based Investors Bank intends to grow, it plans to treat its faithful customers with the same community-friendly attitude.

“Our mission is to maintain good employee and client relations and maintain the same level of quality and services to our clients,” said Domenick Cama, the chief operating officer (COO) of Investors Bank and a native of New York.

On track with its mission, the bank created a foundation in 2005 that has since granted more than $6 million to non-profit organizations.

In addition, when a new branch opens, the bank donates money to local charities for every customer that opens a new account.

About five years ago Investors Bank expanded its loan business from construction to multifamily in order to take advantage of the market.

Over the last few years the financial institution has purchased Brooklyn Federal Bank and Millennium Bank, Summit Bank, American Savings Bank, and some Banco Popular branches.

Currently Investors is the third largest commercial bank headquartered in New Jersey, with more than 85 branches scattered throughout the state.

Investors made a significant step with the purchase of Marathon, which will give them 22 branches in the city, but the bank aims to continue to make a difference in the communities Marathon serves.

“We will be able to enhance the services that Marathon customers received, because we have the ability to finance larger projects,” Cama said.

 

Foreclosures down, Queens still hit hard


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alexa Altman

While foreclosures across New York City continue along the downward trend that started in 2010, Queens was the borough with the highest share of first-time foreclosures in the first quarter of 2012.

According to a spokesperson from Property Shark, the 82 newly-scheduled foreclosure auctions in Queens account for 39 percent of New York City’s total foreclosure activity.

Foreclosures across New York City have gone down 18 percent from the first quarter in 2011 to the same time this year.

According to Laura Gatea of Property Shark, when an owner fails to make three consecutive mortgage payments, he or she receives a pre-foreclosure document, called a lis pendens. This informs the owner that the home is in danger of being foreclosed. In New York City, it takes at least one year for a property to go from the lis pendens stage to the foreclosure auction stage, during which time the owner can either make payments or sell the home.
If the owner does nothing, the home is sold at auction or repossessed by the bank.

The Sixth Congressional District, spanning southeastern Queens, remains the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis.

Silvan Scarlett, a Jamaica resident, lives in a home that is listed for foreclosure. Scarlett, who rents the place with his wife and 17-year-old daughter, said he knew the owner had stopped making payments when a bank representative showed up at their home and told him the payments were delinquent.

Soon after, a real estate company representative visited their home to explain the process of foreclosure, telling Scarlett that he and his family either needed to vacate the premises immediately or purchase or rent the home from the bank.
Scarlett has begun searching for a new place to live.

A representative from Congressmember Gregory Meeks’ office stated that in 2008, while the housing crisis was in full force, they found that their constituents would let their homes go all the way to auction without speaking to the bank, claiming it was a matter of fear, pride and a feeling of failure.
According to Meeks’ office, southeast Queens was hit particularly hard because of the area’s nice homes and working-class families.
Hurt by predatory lending, the buyers, many of whom were first-time homeowners, were put into subprime product. As payments on the homes began to escalate, owners could not afford to make them.

Meeks opened his office to those facing foreclosure, expanding his hours and allowing mortgage foreclosure counselors to come in to assist constituents while negotiating with banks. The office was able to successfully assist many area families in crisis, realizing that they needed to spread their services even further.

Meeks, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, is urging homeowners in distress to consult the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of American (NACA) and attend the Save The Dream event.

At the Save the Dream event, to be held at the Javits convention center in Manhattan on April 26, bank representatives from various locations will spend five days considering whether or not to modify applicants loans.

In Queens alone, 36,590 homes are listed as pre-foreclosures, according to the representative. Throughout New York City, 94,890 properties are at risk.

 

Jackson Heights bank robbed


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jackson Heights bank robbed

A gunman dressed in a brown UPS uniform took a female bank employee hostage as he held up a Queens branch yesterday, authorities said. The man walked into the Sovereign branch on 31st Avenue in Jackson Heights at 9:40 a.m., pressed the barrel a silver revolver into the back of the bank employee, and demanded $20,000 in large bills, said the FBI. The bandit received cash from multiple bank tellers and fled on foot with several thousand dollars. The man is in his early 30s, stands about 5-foot-7 and has a beard and dark skin, according to the FBI. Read More: New York Post

 

LaGuardia trash-smash tussle in court

Government lawyers yesterday tried to convince a federal appeals court that the city’s plan to build a trash transfer station near La Guardia Airport follows aviation-safety rules. The building will be sealed so as not to attract plane-endangering birds, said Justice Department lawyer Abby Wright. “All the trash processing occurs inside the building,” said Wright, and opponents’ claims that the building isn’t enclosed are “baseless.” A bird-plane collision was blamed for the Hudson River ditching of US Airways Flight 1547 two years ago. Read More: New York Post

 

Challenges Persist As Liu Continues Down The Campaign Trail

City Comptroller John Liu is working nonstop lately, moving from Brooklyn Borough Hall through Sunset Park and Sunnyside to a Democratic club in Flushing. On Friday, he visited the Three Kings Day Parade in East Harlem. Despite a federal investigation into his campaign account, Liu is not quitting the campaign trail.  “My primary focus as comptroller has been rooting out waste, find money that has been improperly kept or spent,” said Liu. But in November, a Liu fundraiser was accused of setting up straw donors to get over-the-limit contributions to the comptroller.  Read More: NY1

 

 

NYPD cop suspended after getting hauled off bus for alleged drunkenness

An NYPD sergeant who was hauled off a Greyhound bus in Philadelphia for alleged drunkenness has now been suspended, the Daily News has learned. Sgt. Carlos Fabara became an accidental YouTube star Dec. 27 when he refused the driver’s orders to get off the bus. Philadelphia police came to assist in removing the off-duty sergeant, who was lead away in handcuffs. A fellow passenger caught the altercation on tape and posted it to YouTube. Read More: Daily News

 

Cop’s legs crushed

A plainclothes cop’s legs were mangled last night in a horrific accident that left him pinned at the knees between two vehicles during a traffic stop in Brooklyn. The unidentified detective had pulled over a black vehicle with four men inside and was standing behind the car when a white van rammed into him, crushing his legs and leaving pools of blood in the street. “It looked real bad,” said Manny Mora, 42, owner of John Deli on the corner of Dorchester Road and Coney Island Avenue in Flatbush. Mora said he heard a loud sound from outside around 10:30 p.m. When he looked out, he saw the officer pinned between the bumper of a white van and the car the cop pulled over. Read More: New York Post

 

Day-care outrage

A high-ranking FDNY safety inspector ignored safety violations at buildings housing day-care centers in exchange for bribes, the feds said yesterday. Carlos Montoya — who formerly oversaw inspections of all city day-care centers — was arrested yesterday for the alleged misconduct, which included repeatedly certifying use of a Brooklyn warehouse for the temporary care of infants and children younger than 2. He allegedly got at least $12,000 in payments from the center’s owner, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and is cooperating with the feds. Read More: New York Post

 

Granny horror retrial

Her first jury found her guilty of homicide. But now Lynette Caban, a lead-footed driver with a suspended license who struck and killed a grandmother in 2003, is getting a chance to beat the rap, thanks to a momentary mistake six years ago by a now-retired Manhattan judge. Caban is once again facing charges of criminal negligence for driving backward against a light through a Third Avenue crosswalk, catapulting sweet, 82-year-old Francesca Maytin to her death. Her case has bounced between two appeals courts, ultimately being set down for retrial due to errors committed by former Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Budd Goodman during the original deliberations. Read More: New York Post

Message from the President of Flushing Bank


| jburan@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Flushing Bank

John Buran

President and CEO of Flushing Bank

Over the past year, there has been a growing negative sentiment towards the banking industry. The latest headlines have been focused on the fees being charged for debit card usage. Community banks, like Flushing Bank, offer the consumer more economical choices.

Bank of America announced at the end of September that it would soon begin charging customers $5 a month if they use their debit cards for purchases, according to media reports. J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are also testing $3 monthly debit card fees in some states.

With these new fees adding to an already challenging economic climate, Flushing Bank President and CEO John Buran said there are alternatives for growingly frustrated card holders.

“To avoid these fees, consumers are being asked to carry larger balances which for some may not be an option,” he said. “Community banks like ours have a different way of looking at this. At Flushing Bank, we believe it’s important to connect with the needs of the community that we serve.”

Buran said that as a community bank, Flushing Bank is efficient in its operations and diligent in managing expenses, which enables it to deliver low-cost banking services to its customers.

Along with not charging fees for debit card purchases, Buran said the bank has a variety of products and services geared to support and motivate consumers to keep using their debit cards, instead of having to hand over more money to the bank.

“Debit cards provide value and convenience to consumers and offer an alternative to credit cards,” he said. “We encourage our customers to use their debit card wherever and whenever it is convenient for them.”

For both businesses and consumers, Flushing Bank offers “Totally Free Checking,” in which there is no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees. The bank also offers “BestRate Checking,” which allows customers who carry larger balances to earn competitive checking account interest rates. Customers can also use this as a savings account and a checking account, without the hassle of maintaining two accounts.

Additionally, according to Buran, as part of the bank’s marketing campaign, Flushing Bank will pay new checking customers up to $75 if they make five debit card transactions of $25 or more. For business checking customers, the offer is $50 for five debit card transactions of $25 or more.

“We think this is a tremendous value for our customers,” Buran said. “I think it’s important for people to know there are alternatives and that community banks are genuinely interested in establishing a relationship with their customers. At Flushing Bank, we believe that we are small enough to know you and large enough to help you.”

Flushing Bank has been helping families, business owners and communities grow and prosper for over 80 years. With 16 locations in the New York metropolitan area, including nine locations in Queens, the bank looks to continue in its tradition of following a community-based approach to banking relationships.

Maspeth Federal Savings reopens two locations


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Maspeth Federal Savings reopened two branches – Fresh Meadows and Forest Hills – with ribbon cutting ceremonies on Wednesday, October 5.

Cake, live music and prizes helped reopen the Metropolitan Avenue bank that takes serving the community seriously.

“We hold a lot of community events,” said Victoria Grappone, Forest Hills Branch manager. “Maspeth federal is a very strong bank; we’ve been in this community for 37 years.”

The Maspeth Federal location on Metropolitan Avenue first opened its doors in 1974, next door to its current location, and its dedication to community involvement is ingrained in its history.

“We feel we have a real presence in the community,” said the bank’s President and CEO Kenneth Rudzewick. “We’ve been doing this for 65 years.”

Founded in 1947 by local citizens and business leaders, the bank opened to benefit its customers and the community. The bank takes its slogan, “We treat you like family,” to heart. Besides organizing community events, the bank visits local schools to teach students how to save and assists at senior centers.

The bank’s community events include free summer concerts, a 5-Mile Fun Run and Smile on Maspeth Day.