volume 6 ••• Winter 2010
INsider Interview: Carlos Sanchez, Regional Manager of Amalgamated Bank’s branches in New York and New Jersey
In this issue’s interview, Mr. Sanchez outlines the investment products and financial advisory services being made available to our retail customers through the newly formed Amalgamated Investment Services.
Why did Amalgamated decide to provide investment services to its retail banking customers?
CS: Working people know that Amalgamated Bank is their trusted financial partner. For this
reason, many of our customers look to us first to provide solutions for their longer term savings and investment needs.
We recognized the long term value of offering customers options beyond traditional, FDIC insured deposit products. So, we looked for a partner who could help us provide a broad range of investment services. Our goal was to build a program that provided a full range of products and gave us flexibility to create personalized investment programs that supported each customer’s financial goals.
How did you select Essex National Securities, Inc. (ENSI) as your broker-dealer partner?
CS: The company has years of experience working with more than 30 banks. The firm also has a significant presence in the New York metropolitan area and their investment representatives have been advising working people in many New York City neighborhoods and communities.
ENSI is a “High Touch, High Tech” organization with a broad range of capabilities. ENSI assisted us in hiring and training qualified investment representatives who are also Amalgamated Bank employees. These professionals are deployed throughout our branch network.
Because the representatives work alongside the Branch Managers and the rest of the staff, they will work as a team to provide
the most appropriate products and support to each customer.
What type of training are you providing to people who represent Amalgamated Investment Services?
CS: Together with ENSI, we are focused on teaching and training Amalgamated’s current and future branch staff. Our goal is to build a solid team that includes experienced investment representatives and licensed branch personnel. Each member of Amalgamated Investment Services will have the skills to analyze a customer’s financial needs, investment timeframe and risk tolerance.
What are some of the ways customers will get started working with an investment services representative in their branch?
CS: Usually, the process begins with a conversation that occurs between a customer and their banker. These conversations help us uncover a customer’s needs, and identify how we can best help them. The discussion can happen during an account opening session, or when a customer visits the branch with a question or even during a routine transaction.
For example, a customer may come to the branch to make a deposit and during the transaction the teller may notice they have a large amount of money in their savings account. The teller asks if the customer has specific plans for this money and if they would like to speak to the Branch Manager or a licensed investment consultant about other options to help them achieve their goal. “Life events” also trigger these conversations. Perhaps a customer has recently left a job and needs information on how to roll over their 401K from their former employer. Or they have come into an inheritance and want to structure an investment plan for the money. Once we get an understanding of their goals, then we can recommend appropriate solutions that are grounded in a solid understanding of what the customer wants to achieve.
Which customers are the most likely to benefit from the services offered through Amalgamated Investment Services?
CS: We believe that expanding our array of investment options will benefit almost all of our customers. People at different stages of life have different needs, but the key to successful saving and investing is taking a broad and diversified approach.
Whether you are saving for a new home, a college education for your children or your retirement, you want to have a wide range of investment options built into your plan.
How much will it cost for a customer to meet with the investment services representative and get a detailed overview of his or her investing options?
CS: Amalgamated’s investment advisory services are available to our customers free of charge. All you need to do is visit a branch or make an appointment. Your only obligation is to come prepared to have a serious conversation about your financial goals, listen to what we can offer and then ask all your questions. For most people, this will be time well spent.
Of course, there may be fees associated with the products or options you select. Your licensed investment consultant will make sure you have a full and complete understanding of any and all costs before you make a commitment.
When will the Bank start offering Amalgamated Investment Services in its bank branches?
CS: We introduced the program officially on May 1. Many members of our branch staff now have the necessary licenses to provide insurance services. They are supported by more experienced and licensed investment consultants who can offer mutual funds and other products over and above basic insurance.
Introducing Amalgamated Investment Services
Amalgamated Bank has formed an alliance with Essex National Securities, Inc., (ENSI) an independent broker dealer. Together, we will assist hard working people who are interested in exploring their investment options beyond traditional banking products.
The range of investment products offered at your local branch now includes mutual funds, tax-deferred annuities, stocks and bonds. Also, our investment representatives will provide useful guidance on retirement planning and wealth management and recommend a range of insurance policies that includes life, disability and long-term care.