According the New York State Banking Department, national estimates show that 9.5% of Americans, including one-quarter of the minority population, are "unbanked." Many of these individuals do not use banks when seeking loans, cashing checks, paying bills or transmitting money.
In response to these concerns, New York State Banking law provides for the establishment of Banking Development Districts that are designed to encourage the establishment of bank branches in low to moderate-income areas with a demonstrated need for banking services. Having greater access to banking services encourages New Yorkers who may not have banking relationships to become part of the financial mainstream.
Beginning in 2007, the Bank received Banking Development District designation for five new full-service branches serving "under-banked" and low and moderate-income communities in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. The designation from the NYS Banking Department provides the Bank with below market rate deposits from both the City and State that enable it to make more affordable banking products and services available to the local consumers and small businesses. Amalgamated Bank branches located in neighborhoods that have received Banking Development District designation include: Long Island City, Queens; Bedford-Stuyvesant and Sunset Park in Brooklyn; Burnside Avenue in the Morris Heights section of the South Bronx and; on Roosevelt Island.