Long Island City, NY October 16, 2012 -
Insight and innovation drives everything in business....including banks.
ALMA is a local community bank that is setting a new standard. It has been growing, even during the Great Recession. Learn how, why, and what is coming next.
If you have a small business, you will want to view this OurLIC VIDEO CONVERSATION: with Kirk Karabelas, Chairman; and Charles Koehler, Executive Vice President of ALMA Bank.
OurLIC is making this video available while this NEWS article is still work-in-progress because these two bank executives have an important message that we do not want to hold back.
Fifth Anniversary of Alma Bank was October 12, 2012.
Started from the ground floor. Now one of the leaders in community banking. Investors put $50.0 million in capital to get the bank started. The bank shareholders, approximately 100 people, are primarily local business owners.
The plan behind the start of Alma, was to really institute community banking back into the public. It is easy for anyone to say that they are a community bank, but Karabela says "We really put in a platform for it.".
The platform that they used was to take people that live in the community area, to work in the branch. That way, "when people walk into their branch, they know their bankers. We are proud of that. We are of going back to a day of old, when my parents used to walk into a branch and everyone knew my father and my mother by their first name...and they knew everybody from the beginning of the branch to the end." He continues that "This is something that was lost in banking for many years."
The President and the Chief Lending Officer sit on the main floor of the main branch.
So far in 2012, Alma Bank has closed more than $600 million lending closed...most of it in small business lending.
The bank has assets of almost a $1.0 billion. It is $850 million in assets today.
Portfolio is 60% Commercial Real Estate (Office building and Multi Family). 40% is Commercial Business (Small Business) loans..."the main stay of the country."
Pointed out as a leading lender by Treasurer as a provider of loans to small business. On the strength of its record, the Federal Government gave Alma Bank $19.0 million worth of preferred stock capital at the lowest rate possible. In banking, lending can be at a rate of 15X capital. This meant the Alma Bank has been able to lend $285.million. At the end of the first year, Alma has become the best in the US for efforts in small business lending.
"If you want a 42 Regular suit, you go to Macy's. If you want a 42 Jacket and a 32 pants, you go to the tailor." says Charles Koehler, Chief Lending Officer.
Involved in loans for everything from taxi medallions to contruction and manufacturing. Alma has become a key lender to supermarkets and bodegas.
The key is satisfactory reviews from regulators and a low deliquency rate (.25% ie. one quarter of a percent).
The team of lenders know the community. "CHARACTER is the number one asset. The application does not come in on paper alone."
Very happy to be part of the Long Island City / Astoria Chamber of Commerce
Watch here for HIGHLIGHTS and our additional review of the ALMA Bank and its growing role in the Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, and Dutch Kills community as well as the greater region of NYC and NJ.
Kirk Karabelas, Chairman; ALMA Bank
Charles Koehler, Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer; ALMA Bank