New Queens College bank branch offers path to finance

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The opening of Queens County Savings Bank, a division of New York Community Bank, at Queens College could be good news for students hoping to land jobs in a souring economy, bank and college representatives said last week.

The bank kicked off its 150th anniversary by hosting a ribbon−cutting Friday at the branch in the Student Union that opened the previous week, and officials touted it as a place students will be able to work, learn about finances and, of course, save their money.

“Our students will have easy access to banking, the opportunity to learn more about making educated decisions about their finances, and the ability to apply for part−time and full−time banking jobs throughout Queens and Long Island,” said Queens College President James Muyskens.

The bank’s 178th branch boasts a job recruitment center, at which students may apply for jobs at the Queens College site, as well as at New York Community Bank locations throughout the borough.

NYCB President and CEO Joseph Ficalora said this will make it easier for students to work at sites closer to where they live.

“I once had a part−time job here 44 years ago, so students see where they can go when they begin a job with us,” Ficalora said. “Students can work here during college, and they could go on to have a career with us.”

New York Community Bank Senior Executive Vice President Robert Wann said the bank will provide a solid career path in a world rocked by the financial crisis.

“We have positions in finance, lending, [information technology],” Wann said. “Students will be happy with that, especially now.”

Queens College sophomores Jarell Bannister and Rosa Padilla praised the branch opening, citing its accessibility to students, staff and teachers.

“You walk into the Student Union, and it’s right there,” said Bannister, who was opening up his first checking account at the bank Friday. “I was telling my friends they’ve got to get jobs here.”

Student Association President at Queens College Adjani Papillon, a senior, said she was pleased the branch creates jobs for students struggling to stay afloat amid tuition raises and fewer available part−time jobs in industries that once used to offer an abundance of part−time jobs, like retail.

“And it will help provide revenue to the Student Union, which we want to make better,” Papillon said.

Papillon said the more traffic the bank brings to the union, the better it will be for merchants at the building that is home to 80 college clubs, a cafeteria and student government offices.

Ficalora and Wann said students do not need to worry about entering the financial world at New York Community Bank because the company is on solid economic footing.

“Our bank just had its best year of the last four years,” Ficalora said. “We had double−digit growth in lending and earnings.”

Wann added that the bank had not involved itself in subprime mortgage lending or any other risky investments.

New York Community Bank announced in mid−January that on Dec. 31 it turned down $596.1 million in capital infusion from the U.S. Treasury Department after the firm’s board of directors determined they could remain fiscally solvent without federal help.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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