Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) met yesterday with vice-presidents, branch managers, personal bankers, and human resources personnel from nearly a dozen banks based in Boro Park, and secured commitments from them to conduct better outreach efforts to alert the community about vacancies and training opportunities. Astoria Federal Savings, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Dime, HSBC, Sovereign Bank, and TD Bank are just some of the institutions which were represented.
This meeting was the culmination of a month-long survey of 22 local banks in Boro Park conducted by Hikind’s staff, which revealed that the Orthodox Jewish community is underrepresented in the existing workforce of local banks. Hikind’s staff had also surveyed a dozen local banks located in Chinatown and half-dozen banks in Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights as a means of comparison. Surveyors found that more than a dozen banks serving the Boro Park community had not made a concerted effort to recruit, train or hire local people, which was not the case in the other neighborhoods.
“We want to work with you to put more people in the community to work at your banks,” Hikind said in his introductory remarks. “We have been successful in putting 67 people back to work as a result of a job fair we recently held with the Orthodox Union.”
Hikind noted the overwhelming presence of banks in Boro Park, particularly along 13th Avenue, and remarked, “Your banks do very well in our community – which is great – we give you a lot of business. . . but it’s important to give back to the community as well.” Hikind also stressed that Boro Park is home to some of the “best and brightest” individuals who would prove to be a great asset to these banks.
Managers responded that although they post vacancies online, few, if any people from the community actually apply. Hikind explained that the internet is not widely used in the community, and suggested banks should advertise in Jewish and Yiddish publications instead.
Mr. Zisha Novoseller, Executive Director of the Emergency Parnossa Initiative (EPI), also brought greetings at the meeting, and highlighted EPI’s ongoing efforts to find people suitable employment. In addressing those assembled, Novoseller said, “My organization will work with your recruiters to ensure that we send you candidates who have already been interviewed and vetted by us, so you don’t have to sift through hundreds of résumés. You know the people we send you will be appropriate.”
Those who are interested in being considered for positions at local banks should e-mail a résumé and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org .