New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




Problem Solved: Getting White-Glove Treatment From Your Bank

New York City

Co-op and condo banks, branch manager, relationship manager, underlying mortgage.
Dec. 14, 2021

As part of our Problem Solved series, Habitat spoke with Robert Mallimo, a director at Sterling National Bank.

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. 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; it's the board's.

So they 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, financial advice, a trusted advisor to help guide them — there's a lot the bank could do for them, 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 focuses strictly on third-party property managers, owners and developers. We don't really interact as much with the co-ops and condos directly because they're more of a consumer client. 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 freedom 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 advisors who can help you with what you need. We can get you in touch with the right person.

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Let's say you did that, and you want to let shareholders know that you have a person who can help with mortgages, refinancing or any kind of personal accounts. Should I send out that person's name to everybody?

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.

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

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