Prior to the year 2001, Joseph Ruggiere was on the board of a bank in Woodhaven, known then by Columbia Savings. Not a huge amount of branches. I’m not certain when it became Queens County Savings Bank with all the expansions and less personal. Joseph Ruggiere wasn’t happy with that. What do you do about it? How about opening up your own bank. It was in July of 2001 that Community Federal Savings Bank became a one bank deal (expanding only to two in Queens).
It had all the amenities of the big guys when it came to mortgage, various types of accounts, and even gave just a bit more rates for your banking. More important to me was that they not only knew their customers, a signature was enough to vouch for any time you dealt with your banking. Personally, I can never remember any of my bank account numbers. No lines and if you had to go to an ATM other than these two branches, Community didn’t add a charge.
What was missing? Online banking wasn’t available nor did they have safety deposit boxes. The answer for me was to open an account in one of the biggies just for those amenities and basically enough to pay bills.
Some weeks ago, I popped into Community and was told that online banking was now available. I figured in that case I might as well just use this bank, so I proceeded to sign up. The person at the desk said that it had to get approved by “the people in the back”. I first found it odd since knowing Ruggiere for the many years that I have lived in this community.
A few days later I went online to see that there was an account listed…a CD…and it said that I could not pay bills with that…no shoot! I called and was told it would be taken care of by “the people in the back”. Nothing changed. I went to the bank and asked to speak with the manager. Only a few of the tellers, etc. looked familiar and it appeared that there was a new staff.
Ruggiere sold the bank. I never did get anything in the mail. I questioned the manager asking who owns the bank? Who is the holding company? She did not want to give me an answer but did communicate that the company itself is located in Manhattan. This situation with my account could not be corrected as “it has to be handled by a third party”. So how is this a “Community Bank?” The manager also informed me that the second bank that was located in Queens Village is closed and that they expect to expand first with a branch in Manhattan.
It still doesn’t ring right with word “Community”. Most important, why can’t they simply hand me some paper work about the holding company? What are they hiding? By the time you read this, my accounts will be closed and brought over to the other bank. I might as well.