Coney Island looks to financially healthier future with new Chase Bank location

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CONEY ISLAND, BROOKLYN – Coney Island welcomed the return of a major bank to the community on Tuesday.

It’s been almost six years since Coney Island residents have seen the blue octagon logo famously belonging to Chase Bank and the community is happy to see its return, according to branch manager Lorraine Kelly-Fowler. The neighborhood only had one full-service bank, making the Chase a “notable addition,” according to the Alliance for Coney Island.

Supporters say it will help improve the financial wellbeing of the people who live there.

“I’m excited,” Kelly-Fowler said. “I sit here and they’re hitting on the windows, they’re blowing me kisses, high-fives. It’s an amazing day.”

Easier access to banks means better financial health for the residents.

According to the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, 33 percent of New York City residents are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they have no bank account or do not utilize the banking system and rely on cash more than checks and credit cards.

Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, was at the ribbon-cutting on Monday in support.

“A lot of people do banking online, but if you think about communities, particularly communities of color where people don’t always have access to online resources, having a retail branch in their community where they can access everyday banking services is really, really important,” Peers said.

The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012 marked the beginning of the end for Chase in the neighborhood.

Councilmember Mark Treyger took office in 2014 when the area was still recovering.

“I remember Chase was working out of a temporary trailer and those conditions were not good for the residents,” Treyger said. “They’re not good for the staff here at Chase as well.”

Residents say having this back in their community is beneficial, especially for one man named James, who only rides a bike and used to travel to the branch in Brighton Beach.

“This is very convenient because I only live right down the block,” James said.

With this warmly-welcomed new addition to the neighborhood, supporters believe this is a new chapter for the community and the beginning of a financially healthy future.

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