Amalgamated Bank

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Amalgamated Bank
Industry Banking
Founded April 14, 1923; 94 years ago (1923-04-14)
Headquarters 275 Seventh Avenue, New York City, New York, U.S.
Key people
Keith Mestrich, President & CEO
Revenue US$ 126.67 million (2016)
US$ 10.85 million (2016)
Total assets US$ 4.055 billion (2016)
Total equity US$ 341.78 million (2016)
Number of employees
392 (2017)[1]

Founded on April 14, 1923, by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America,[2] Amalgamated Bank is the largest union-owned bank[3] and one of the only unionized banks in the United States. Amalgamated Bank is currently majority-owned by Workers United, an SEIU Affiliate. As of June 30, 2015, Amalgamated Bank has nearly $4 billion in assets.[4] Through its Institutional Asset Management and Custody Division, Amalgamated Bank is one of the leading providers of investment and trust services to Taft-Hartley plans in the United States. As of June 30, 2015, the bank oversees approximately $40 billion in investment advisory and custodial services.

Amalgamated Bank provides affordable and accessible banking to its customers, advocates for workers’ rights, and promotes high standards of environmental, social and corporate governance practices. Amalgamated Bank clients include progressive individuals and organizations like presidential campaigns, labor unions and nonprofits.


Tiffany's, Union Square (about 1887), was located earlier nextdoor

On March 16, 1923, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America chartered the Amalgamated Bank of New York. On April 14, 1923, 1923, the bank opened it doors to the public on East 14th Street, Manhattan, nextdoor to a former site of Tiffany's on Union Square. Within a short time, 2,400 people had deposited $450,000 with the bank. Within weeks, it had to expand vertically onto two floor above in the same building. In the Liberator magazine, the bank advertised its ownership and operations by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. It lists chairman Hyman Blumberg, president R. L. Redheffer, vice president Jacob S. Potofsky, cashier Leroy Peterson, and other directors: Gold, Sidney Hillman, Max Lowenthal, August Bellanca, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Abraham Miller, Joseph Schlossberg, Murray Weinstein, Max Zaritzky, and Peter Monat.[5][6][7][8][9]

In 1927, Amalgamated Bank financed the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, the first union-supported housing development in the United States, which is located in The Bronx. In 1957, it financed the construction of Park Reservoir Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, which was the first affordable housing development created under New York State's Mitchell-Lama Housing Program.[10] Amalgamated has a long history of helping union movements. It once opened its bank vaults on a Saturday in order to provide $300,000 in bail for striking workers. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) received $800,000 to post a cash bond within 24 hours. In 1973, bank employees worked all weekend to keep striking Philadelphia teachers out of jail. In 1982, Amalgamated made a $200,000 loan to the striking National Football League Players Association despite the fact that they did not even have an account at the bank.[11]

Products and services[edit]

Headquartered in New York City, Amalgamated Bank has 16 branches in four NYC boroughs, Washington D.C., and California.[12] There is also 24-hour access through online and mobile banking. Amalgamated Bank offers comprehensive financial services for individuals, small businesses and commercial clients. Products include: deposits, loans, investments, cash management, residential and commercial mortgages. Checking customers have access to over 40,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S. through the Allpoint Network. Amalgamated Bank specializes in providing loans and banking services to political and advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, labor unions and Middle Market companies. Some notable clients of the bank include:

Corporate governance[edit]

Amalgamated Bank promotes sustainable, long-term shareholder value by advocating sound environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) practices at portfolio firms. Amalgamated Bank adheres to and is a signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment. The bank engages in shareholder actions including, but not limited to regulatory advocacy, proxy voting, and litigation to improve firm performance, safeguard shareholder value and recover shareholder losses. Amalgamated Bank has a long history of shareholder activism:

  • In the 1990s the bank urged that each Board be composed in majority of independent directors, long before this standard became a regulated requirement
  • In 1994, the bank fought sweatshop abuses by urging companies to adopt and monitor Codes of Conduct
  • In 1997, the bank started advocating full public reporting of all corporate political contributions, including “soft money” donations and later trade associations and 501(c)(4) organizations
  • In 2000, the bank started challenging outsized severance packages by demanding limits to golden parachutes
  • In 2001, the bank took legal action against Enron for massive accounting fraud, eventually recovering billions of dollars in losses for investors
  • In 2004, the bank pioneered shareholder resolutions requiring companies to have clawback policies in order to recover ill-gotten executive pay
  • In 2011, the bank spearheaded an initiative to urge oil companies to integrate environmental and safety performance as a condition for executives to be paid bonuses
  • In 2013, the bank achieved the largest shareholder derivative settlement in Delaware, alleging failed board oversight in the wake of the hacking scandal at News Corp
  • In 2014, the bank sponsored a shareholder resolution to limit windfall golden parachutes for executives at Valero Energy Corp. upon a change-in-control of the company, a rare majority vote in support of tightening executive compensation standards
  • In 2015, Amalgamated announced a $137.5 million settlement of a derivative suit on behalf of shareholders in Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the Arizona-based metals and mining corporation formerly known as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.
  • Also in 2015, the bank announced a record-breaking $146.25 million settlement on behalf of shareholders in a lawsuit against Duke Energy Corporation, the largest electric power holding company in the United States.
  • Also in 2015, Amalgamated announced that five major energy companies agreed to new measures that limit potential golden parachutes for executives in the event of a merger or other change of company control.

Corporate values[edit]

Purchasing policy[edit]

Since its founding in 1923, Amalgamated Bank has been dedicated to supporting American workers and the American Labor Movement. The bank strives to purchase as many products as possible that have been made by union workers in America. In addition, the bank aims to hire union contractors for its building and construction projects and to have its outside printing produced by union printers with the union label displayed. The bank also does its best to fly on unionized airlines and stay at unionized hotels.[16]

Minimum wage[edit]

In 2015, Amalgamated Bank announced that it would become the first bank in the nation to raise all employee wages to a minimum of $15 per hour.[17]

Amalgamated announced the news on the heels of the release of a study[18] by the National Employment Law Project detailing a great discrepancy in wages in the banking industry. According to the study, while full-time bank tellers earn $25,800/year on average, a typical bank CEO makes in the tens of millions of dollars annually after full compensation packages are included. In New York, the study found that the median wage for bank tellers is $13.31 per hour leaving 39% of New York State bank tellers enrolled in public assistance programs.

Amalgamated Bank's CEO-to-worker pay ratio is 17:1.[19]

Commitment to affordable housing[edit]

Throughout its history, Amalgamated Bank has consistently funded the construction and renovation of affordable housing developments. Through its Affordable Housing Construction Loan program,[20] the bank will invest more than $100 million to rehabilitate and build thousands of affordable units in New York. As part of its commitment to affordable housing, Amalgamated Bank also helped create a new product launched in April 2016, which was the first of its kind to offer home buyers downpayment protection should they face turbulent market conditions.[21]

Accessibility in banking[edit]

In an effort to open up the benefits of the banking system to all people, Amalgamated Bank accepts 12 forms of identification for account opening, including IDNYC, New York City's municipal identification card.

Access to banking in NYC has long been an issue. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs estimates that around 1 million adult New Yorkers do not have bank accounts, but instead use fringe financial services like check cashers to pay bills, cash payroll checks, buy money orders and conduct other financial transactions.[22]

IDNYC cards can be obtained by city residents at no cost and can be used at any of Amalgamated Bank’s NYC branches across the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. The cards are now an acceptable form of government-issued photo documentation for purposes of verifying the customer’s identity when opening an account under the Customer Identification Program (“CIP”) requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.[23]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Amalgamated Bank's Linkedin Profile". Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  2. ^ Amalgamated Bank History. Retrieved 2015-06-23
  3. ^ Amalgamated CEO Eager to Grow Nation's Biggest Union Owned Bank, American Banker, Retrieved 08-16-2013
  4. ^ Bailout Recipients, ProPublica, Retrieved 2013-08-16
  5. ^ Potofsky, Jacob S. (May 1963). "The Pioneering of Workers' Banks". The Federationist: Official Monthly Magazine of the AFL-CIO. Retrieved 28 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "Amalgamated Bank of New York (advertisement)" (PDF), The Liberator, May 1923, retrieved 20 August 2017 
  7. ^ The Evolution of Banking: A Story of the Transition from the Feudal Moneylender to the Labor Bank. Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. 1926. p. 1. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Organize Amalgamated Bank of New York". Jewish Telegraph Agency. 13 February 1926. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Amalgamated, First Jewish Labor Bank, Shows Great Progress in Two Years Existence". Jewish Telegraph Agency. 25 January 1926. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  10. ^ Amalgamated Bank History, Amalgamated Bank, Retrieved 2015-06-23
  11. ^ Amalgamated Bank History, Funding Universe, Retrieved 2013-10-21
  12. ^ Amalgamated Bank Branch Locations Page, Amalgamated Bank Website, Retrieved 2015-06-23
  13. ^ Democratic National Committee To Pull Funds From Bank Of America, Huffington Post, Retrieved 2013-08-16
  14. ^ Union-Based Bank Draws Democrats, Wall Street Journal, Retrieved 2013-08-16
  15. ^ Bank owned by a union, for unions, sets its sights on Washington, Washington Post, Retrieved 2013-08-16
  16. ^ Amalgamated Bank's Mission and Values - Amalgamated Bank Website, Retrieved 06-23-2015
  17. ^ America’s Most Union-Friendly Bank Raises Minimum Wage To $15 An Hour, BuzzFeedNews, Retrieved 2015-08-14
  18. ^ A $15 Minimum Wage for Bank Workers, National Employment Law Project, Retrieved 2015-08-14
  19. ^ A $15 Minimum Wage for Bank Workers, Amalgamated Bank website, Retrieved 2015-08-14
  20. ^ Trimont and Amalgamated Bank Join Forces to Provide Capital for Affordable Housing in New York City, Amalgamated Bank website, Retrieved 2015-08-14
  21. ^ ValueInsured. "ValueInsured and Amalgamated Bank Offer First-of-its-Kind Protection for Homebuyers' Down Payments". Retrieved 2017-10-03. 
  22. ^ More Than 825,000 Adults in New York City Do Not Have Bank or Credit Union Accounts According To New Citywide Study, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs website, Retrieved 2015-08-14
  23. ^ Amalgamated Bank Joins de Blasio Administration to Expand Banking Services to Underserved Communities, Amalgamated Bank website, Retrieved 2015-08-14