New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Business of Management 2021

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

Problem Solved: Full-Service Banking: Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

Co-op and condo commercial bank accounts represent big business for banks, but these accounts are usually maintained by a building’s management company, not the board. But are there banking advantages that a board can explore for its residents?

Yes. Typically, a management company keeps hundreds of bank accounts with any given bank, and they’re given the VIP treatment by the commercial group that services them. But boards and co-ops themselves don’t realize that they deserve that treatment as well. After all, it’s not the management company’s money that’s in the bank.

 

So boards should ask for an introduction to their relationship manager, who can pair them off with a local branch manager who can extend that VIP service to them. Whether it’s better rates or a trusted adviser to help guide them, there’s a lot that the bank could do, and all they really need to do is ask for it.

 

What’s the difference between a relationship manager and a branch manager?

Their expertise is a little bit different. Our team, made up of relationship managers, focuses strictly on third-party property managers, owners and developers. We don’t really interact as much with the co-ops and the condos directly because they’re more of a consumer client, and that’s where a branch manager can add value.

 

So what we like to do is make an introduction, find out what your needs are, put you with the right person, and then they can explore things deeper and can navigate the bank for you. If you need mortgages, they could pair you up with one of our mortgage representatives, who can set up an individual deposit account with better rates or lower fees on a personal co-op mortgage. There are different financial advisers who can help you with what you need. We can get you in touch with the right person.

 

Can the board bring in the branch manager to help residents with mortgages, refinancing or any other kind of personal accounts?

Absolutely. You also have to keep in mind that a branch manager doesn’t get the opportunity to get in front of a co-op board and residents. It’s a great opportunity for the branch and for the board because you’re going to get more service and better products and better rates. So it really helps us on both sides of the equation.

 

So the bottom line is don’t ask, don’t get.

That’s it. And if you ask your board if they can introduce you to your relationship manager and the board says we don’t have one, then you should ask them to call us in early because we’ll give you that white-glove treatment. Any bank can make a loan or open an account, but if you’re not getting serviced and treated the way you deserve to be, then you’re not with the right bank.

 

Robert Mallimo is a vice president and director, property management banking, at Sterling National Bank.

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