Founded on April 14, 1923, by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank is the largest union-owned bank and one of the only unionized banks in the United States. Amalgamated Bank is currently majority-owned by Workers United, an SEIU Affiliate. As of June 30, 2015, Amalgamated Bank has nearly $4 billion in assets. Through its Institutional Asset Management and Custody Division, Amalgamated Bank is one of the leading providers of investment and trust services to Taft-Hartley plans in the United States. As of June 30, 2015, the bank oversees approximately $40 billion in investment advisory and custodial services.
Amalgamated Bank provides affordable and accessible banking to its customers, advocates for workers’ rights, and promotes high standards of environmental, social and corporate governance practices. Amalgamated Bank clients include progressive individuals and organizations like presidential campaigns, labor unions and nonprofits.
In 1927, Amalgamated Bank financed the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative, the first union-supported housing development in the United States, which is located in The Bronx. In 1957, it financed the construction of Park Reservoir Housing Cooperative in the Bronx, which was the first affordable housing development created under New York State's Mitchell-Lama Housing Program. Amalgamated has a long history of helping union movements. It once opened its bank vaults on a Saturday in order to provide $300,000 in bail for striking workers. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) received $800,000 to post a cash bond within 24 hours. In 1973, bank employees worked all weekend to keep striking Philadelphia teachers out of jail. In 1982, Amalgamated made a $200,000 loan to the striking National Football League Players Association despite the fact that they did not even have an account at the bank.
Headquartered in New York City, Amalgamated Bank has 16 branches in four NYC boroughs, Washington D.C., and California. There is also 24-hour access through online and mobile banking. Amalgamated Bank offers comprehensive financial services for individuals, small businesses and commercial clients. Products include: deposits, loans, investments, cash management, residential and commercial mortgages. Checking customers have access to over 40,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S. through the Allpoint Network. Amalgamated Bank specializes in providing loans and banking services to political and advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, labor unions and Middle Market companies. Some notable clients of the bank include:American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Democratic National Committee
Democratic Governors Association
DC Employment Justice Center
Economic Policy Institute
International Association of Firefighters
League of Conservation Voters
National Coalition of Black Civil Participation
Organizing for Action
Presidential Inauguration Committee
United We Dream
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
United Federation of Teachers
Amalgamated Bank promotes sustainable, long-term shareholder value by advocating sound environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) practices at portfolio firms. Amalgamated Bank adheres to and is a signatory of the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment. The bank engages in shareholder actions including, but not limited to regulatory advocacy, proxy voting, and litigation to improve firm performance, safeguard shareholder value and recover shareholder losses. Amalgamated Bank has a long history of shareholder activism:In the 1990s the bank urged that each Board be composed in majority of independent directors, long before this standard became a regulated requirement
In 1994, the bank fought sweatshop abuses by urging companies to adopt and monitor Codes of Conduct
In 1997, the bank started advocating full public reporting of all corporate political contributions, including “soft money” donations and later trade associations and 501(c)(4) organizations
In 2000, the bank started challenging outsized severance packages by demanding limits to golden parachutes
In 2001, the bank took legal action against Enron for massive accounting fraud, eventually recovering billions of dollars in losses for investors
In 2004, the bank pioneered shareholder resolutions requiring companies to have clawback policies in order to recover ill-gotten executive pay
In 2011, the bank spearheaded an initiative to urge oil companies to integrate environmental and safety performance as a condition for executives to be paid bonuses
In 2013, the bank achieved the largest shareholder derivative settlement in Delaware, alleging failed board oversight in the wake of the hacking scandal at News Corp
In 2014, the bank sponsored a shareholder resolution to limit windfall golden parachutes for executives at Valero Energy Corp. upon a change-in-control of the company, a rare majority vote in support of tightening executive compensation standards
In 2015, Amalgamated announced a $137.5 million settlement of a derivative suit on behalf of shareholders in Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the Arizona-based metals and mining corporation formerly known as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.
Also in 2015, the bank announced a record-breaking $146.25 million settlement on behalf of shareholders in a lawsuit against Duke Energy Corporation, the largest electric power holding company in the United States.
Also in 2015, Amalgamated announced that five major energy companies agreed to new measures that limit potential golden parachutes for executives in the event of a merger or other change of company control.
Since its founding in 1923, Amalgamated Bank has been dedicated to supporting American workers and the American Labor Movement. The bank strives to purchase as many products as possible that have been made by union workers in America. In addition, the bank aims to hire union contractors for its building and construction projects and to have its outside printing produced by union printers with the union label displayed. The bank also does its best to fly on unionized airlines and stay at unionized hotels.
In 2015, Amalgamated Bank announced that it would become the first bank in the nation to raise all employee wages to a minimum of $15 per hour.
Amalgamated announced the news on the heels of the release of a study by the National Employment Law Project detailing a great discrepancy in wages in the banking industry. According to the study, while full-time bank tellers earn $25,800/year on average, a typical bank CEO makes in the tens of millions of dollars annually after full compensation packages are included. In New York, the study found that the median wage for bank tellers is $13.31 per hour leaving 39% of New York State bank tellers enrolled in public assistance programs.
Amalgamated Bank's CEO-to-worker pay ratio is 17:1.
Throughout its history, Amalgamated Bank has consistently funded the construction and renovation of affordable housing developments. Through its Affordable Housing Construction Loan program, the bank will invest more than $100 million to rehabilitate and build thousands of affordable units in New York.
In an effort to open up the benefits of the banking system to all people, Amalgamated Bank accepts 12 forms of identification for account opening, including IDNYC, New York City's municipal identification card.
Access to banking in NYC has long been an issue. The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs estimates that around 1 million adult New Yorkers do not have bank accounts, but instead use fringe financial services like check cashers to pay bills, cash payroll checks, buy money orders and conduct other financial transactions.
IDNYC cards can be obtained by city residents at no cost and can be used at any of Amalgamated Bank’s NYC branches across the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. The cards are now an acceptable form of government-issued photo documentation for purposes of verifying the customer’s identity when opening an account under the Customer Identification Program (“CIP”) requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act.