"We've never had an in-college branch, and as best as I understand, there are no other banks that have in-college branches," said Joseph Ficalora, president and CEO of New York Community Bancorp, Inc., which operates QCSB.
The student body alone isn't sufficient for supporting a full-service branch, says Ficalora, but the student body coupled with the faculty makes it more plausible. Local bank customers can also utilize the bank's services so long as the student union building is open.
The idea of an on-campus branch is the result of a successful onsite relationship between the bank and the college. For years, QCSB has sent representatives to open accounts and provide financial services.
The Queens College branch offers all the usual services, but it also offers a part-time employment program designed exclusively for students. Students get perks such as paid training, paid time-off to study, and performance-based "end of semester" bonuses. Upon graduation, they get priority to be hired for bank positions in departments from IT to accounting to mortgage lending.
Queens College President James Muyskens praised QCSB for its commitment to the college.
"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 Muyskens.
The new branch is a welcome addition that comes in the midst of a momentous occasion for the bank.
"This bank, actually, this year, celebrated 150 years, and hopefully we get another 150 years," said senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Robert Wann.
It's not improbable if the bank's figures are any indicator of fiscal health. The bank's most recent financial records show double-digit growth in their principal assets, which are multi-family loans. The bank was worth $968 million when it went public in 1993; today it is valued at $32.5 billion.
According to Ficalora, the bank's success can be attributed to, as he puts it, "our risk-averse nature."
The bank primarily does multi-family lending, steering clear of housing loans. It lends on rent-stabilized buildings. Since those rents are below market-rate, the buildings are fully occupied even when the market isn't doing so well.
"We choose to earn less in the best of times so as to lose less in the worst of times," explained Ficalora.