Founded by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) in 1923, The Amalgamated Bank of New York becomes New York City’s first labor bank.
Sidney Hillman led the ACWA and the bank until his untimely death. Sidney assisted in drafting the National Labor Relations Act and in winning enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was an outspoken proponent for social justice and public policy for the common good.
Fiorello LaGuardia, Congressman and NYC Mayor, served as a director.
Amalgamated introduces the first unsecured personal loans for working families.
The bank introduces the first foreign-exchange transfer service allowing immigrants to send remittances safely to relatives in Europe, payable in dollars rather than local currency.
Demand for Amalgamated products is high; the bank opens a bigger office in Union Square.
In 1942 Adolph Held, President of Amalgamated Bank (and later General Manager of the Jewish Daily Forward), meets with Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the White House with a small delegation of American Jewish leaders to appeal to the President for immediate action against the extermination of Jews.
Amalgamated became the bank for the Special Labor Aid Project which supported elderly Jewish cultural figures in Poland and Israel.
Amalgamated provides financial assistance for the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, the first union-supported housing development in the United States.
By 1947, the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative houses 700 wage-earning families and later expands to double its size.
Amalgamated expands geographically in cooperation with the U.S. Farm Home Administration, making loans to help farmers across the country. These loans were intended for rural communities to develop water systems, establish outdoor recreational areas, and assist in community development. An example of such a loan is to Greensburg, Kentucky, where Amalgamated helped to provide running water. Special recognition was accorded to the bank in 1965-1966 for its contribution to public welfare.
In 1957, Amalgamated provides home loans to the cooperative shareholders in the Park Reservoir Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, the first affordable housing development created under New York State’s Mitchell-Lama Housing Program. Over the years, Amalgamated financed debt on the property. Today the development serves thousands of families.
In the early 1960’s, Amalgamated starts managing trust funds for unions.
In 1973, bank officials came up with bail checks so that striking Philadelphia teachers could stay out of jail. In the 1980’s, Amalgamated gave the striking NFL Players Association a loan. The bank advertised lines of credit to Eastern Airlines and NYNEX strikers.
After a Citicorp officer was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “A person with $200 or $300 in savings shouldn’t be in a bank,” Amalgamated took out an ad decrying the quote.
In 1973, Amalgamated offers the first totally free checking accounts in New York.
In 1980, as Japanese-made automobiles were flooding the U.S. market, Amalgamated offered purchasers of domestic cars a half-percentage-point discount on 24- to 36-month auto loans.
In 1992, the bank introduces the LongView Equity Index Fund. Focused on shareholder value, it fought sweatshop abuses, urging companies to adopt and monitor codes of conduct.
By 2000, the bank challenges outsized severance and advocates for transparency around corporate political contributions. Its legal action against Enron results in the recovery of billions of dollars for investors.
The bank becomes a founding signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment.
Amalgamated begins the Housing Loan Program, which provides unsecured loans to affordable housing developments.
The bank expands the size of its branch network in New York City and opens offices in Washington, D.C., Pasadena, CA, and Lyndhurst, NJ.
Amalgamated supports Occupy Wall Street and becomes the bank for the movement.
The bank advances its quest for enhanced shareholder value, achieving the largest settlement of a derivative lawsuit for News Corp’s failed board oversight from its hacking scandal.
In 2013, the bank worked with the UAW Retiree Medial Benefits Trust to pass a resolution urging McKesson to strengthen its clawback policy.
The bank expands into political banking, gaining clients like the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Governors’ Association.
The bank offers credit to qualified workers who have been impacted by the government shutdown.
Amalgamated is the first U.S. bank to offer bridge loans to boost the earning potential of skilled immigrants.