M&T Bank has delivered with the opening of its first branch in the borough.
Bank officials and representatives of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and the borough’s business and non-profit communities gathered recently to celebrate the branch opening.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 8 at the branch, which opened on Monday, May 1 for business and is located at 2460 Grand Concourse next to the IND D line.
Rick Reustle, M&T Bank vice-president, said that the bank is looking forward to being a part of the community and building relationships with local residents, small businesses and non-profits.
“We have had a lot of interest from the community groups as well as our customers,” said Reustle of the expansion, adding the bank is looking to build deeper relationships with those it serves.
The bank vice-president said that the retail location filled a gap because a lot of M&T customers work in Manhattan and live in the borough, and the Bronx had been the only part of New York City without a M & T branch.
The personnel working in 1,500 square foot baking center are already part of the local neighborhood, he said, adding that’s its the strategy of M&T to become a part of the neighborhood.
“All of our branch representatives live and work near the branch, which I think is great,” said Reustle. “So our employees are a part of the community; they live there and know it well.”
He said that the first month of operations at the branch had gone better than expected, with strong bank account activity that surpassed projections.
The community has been great to M&T, said Reustle.
Branch personnel will focus on customer needs, from assisting small businesses and residential mortgage lenders, to providing a variety of services from retirement planning to insurance.
The branch manager, Bhopal Sewpersaud, is already teaming up with the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, said Reustle.
The Bronx Chamber of Commerce’s president, Nunzio Del Greco, said, “M&T Bank is a new member of the Bronx Chamber and looks forward to assisting businesses and our members. The Bronx continues to receive excellent publicity in the media and major publications which results in greater interest and economic development here.”
Other speakers at the grand opening, according to attendees, were Marlene Cintron of BOEDC and Jim Buckley, director of the non-profit University Neighborhood Housing Program.
From the perspective of the history of the community, said Buckley, he recalls lean years going back to the early 1980s in the community, and said it was a pleasure to be at the opening of a banking facility looking to expand operations.
UNHP also operates the Northwest Bronx Resource Center, which helps local community file income taxes and learn about personal finance, he said.
Through this program UNHP works with ‘unbanked’ individuals, he said.
The Buffalo-headquartered M&P plans to partner with borough-based organization Arvia to provide access to financial literacy materials, according to the M&T.