Bronx, NY – The fight for southern Riverdale’s only bank was ratcheted up a notch as Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Council Member Andrew Cohen, representatives of Community Board 8 and Congressman Eliot Engel, and numerous community residents rallied outside of the Chase branch at Knolls Crescent. Chase has announced that this branch is scheduled to close after December 30, 2020.
The closure of the Chase branch at 13B Knolls Crescent would mean that local residents have to travel by bus, car, or traverse large hills to use banking services. The closest Chase locations to Knolls Crescent are at least 20 minutes away by foot, assuming that is a viable option. However, the southern Riverdale area has a much higher than average percentage of residents that are likely to have limited mobility – seniors and families with strollers. 28% of residents are over the age of 65 (10% over the age of 80) and 7% of residents have children under 4 years old.[i] Approximately 10% of local residents require the use of special equipment to walk.[ii]
Chase, a multinational corporation that generated $115 billion in revenue in 2019, has not provided any rationalization for their decision to close this bank branch except for the presence of other branches one mile away. In a recent phone call between Assemblyman Dinowitz and representatives from Chase, Chase did not cite branch underperformance or lease issues as part of their decision.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said: “This is the hallmark of a decision made in a boardroom and not in the community where its impact will be felt. Far be it for me to tell a private business how to conduct their operations, but when a multinational corporation makes $115 billion in a single year – largely on the backs of people like those in our community and sanctioned by our government regulators – we need to start talking about what civic responsibility these massive banks have. If any executives from Chase want to join me on a tour of the neighborhood, I would be happy to show them exactly what they are asking our community to do. There’s still time for Chase to be the hero here, and I urge them to reconsider this ill-advised decision.”
Congressman Eliot Engel said: “In the middle of a pandemic, Chase Bank has decided to make a callous business decision that will make life far more difficult for people in Riverdale, especially seniors. Folks who live in the Knolls Crescent area have enough to worry about without wondering whether or not they’ll need to find a new place to do their banking. Assemblyman Dinowitz, Council Member Cohen and I are demanding that Chase reverse course immediately and keep this branch open.”
Council Member Andrew Cohen said: “At a time when our residents and businesses are relying on the essential services and resources provided by local banks more than ever and when we desperately need greater investment in our local economies, it is devastating that Chase is choosing to go in the exact opposite direction by closing down the only accessible branch location for many in the community. The loss of this community resource will cause tremendous hardship for elderly patrons, people with disabilities, those who are mobility-limited and cannot easily access nearby branches, particularly in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and economic downturn. We are asking Chase reverse this decision for the sake of all of the patrons that will lose critical banking services and continue to invest in a community that has supported and trusted the branch to be there in times of need.”
Community Board 8 Chair Laura Spalter said: “This branch is an Integral part of our community. Its loss will be an extreme hardship for the merchants, residents, and most especially our senior citizens.”
The full rally video can be viewed here.