By Carlotta Mohamed
The National Bank of New York City in downtown Flushing is a small private commercial bank serving the community since 1963 by providing the highest level of customer service in a friendly environment, according to Richard Gelman, chairman of the board and CEO.
“We’re just a little bank in a big city acting like a little country community bank,” said Gelman.
Situated in a populated area filled with the branches of banking titans, National Bank of New York City — located at 136-29 38th Ave. — is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free accessible parking nearby. And instead of coming in to do a transaction, customers can pull up to the drive-up window or walk-up window, bank by mail or access online banking where their bills can be viewed and paid, Gelman said.
“We’re not Chase Bank, we’re not Citi Bank…we’re not like these other giant banks. We know our customers and our customers know our staff. We’re talking 20, 30, 40 years here knowing each person’s name,” Gelman said.
National Bank of New York City’s main business is providing real estate loans for commercial, industrial, condominiums, and co-op buildings throughout the five boroughs in New York City and in Long Island, Gelman said. The company offers savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts as well as ATM service access.
When customers enter the bank, they can expect to be greeted with a warm welcome, express service, and a diverse staff ready to answer their questions and to assist with their banking needs.
Formerly known as Flushing National Bank of New York City in 1982, the branch in Queens was featured in the New Yorker in 1986 as a “Nice Little Bank.” They take pride in being the first bank that was opened on Saturdays, began paying interest, and winning a class action lawsuit against the city to save bondholders from having to declare bankruptcy.
During the fiscal crisis in New York City during the mid-1970s, when the state passed a moratorium law saying the city did not have to repay the principal on its short term borrowing and that noteholders had to accept a lower rate of interest to prevent the city from being forced to declare bankruptcy, National Bank of New York City thought it was unfair and sued the city, Mayor Abraham Beame, and City Comptroller Harrison Goldin.
“We sued New York City because we had a lot of these bonds and we brought in a class action lawsuit,” said Gelman. “We lost in the courts…the lower court, in another court, and finally won in the highest court in the appellate division.”
Gelman said National Bank of New York City saved people who had bonds from bankruptcy. “They either got paid in full right after we won, or had a choice of getting a MAC bond — a replacement bond to pay a higher rate of interest.”
Today, with one office in Queens and a staff of 25 people, Gelman said they have everything at their fingertips to help customers.
“Two years ago we were rated the safest commercial bank in the country,” Gelman said.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha