Investors Bank recently opened up its newest branch in Greenpoint, marking the 15th location they have in Brooklyn. Leading the branch is Debbie Hootam, who was born in Guyana and raised in East Flatbush.
“This is a great time to come into the community and see how well it’s developed and grown,” she said. “Growing up in Brooklyn, when you hear Greenpoint, you’re thinking industrial, you’re not thinking residential. To see the diverse community that it is now, I’m amazed and so energized and passionate.”
Hootam comes into the position with 19 years of banking experience, including a stint at TD Bank. Although she can call herself a Brooklynite, she’s spent most of her professional career in Manhattan.
“In Manhattan, it’s more business-oriented. Being in Brooklyn, it’s more residential, so you’re dealing with smaller businesses,” Hootam said. “For me, to see them grow is going to be key.
“It’s not just a transaction,” she added. “It’s getting to know your customers and getting to educate them on different products and services we offer that they can benefit from to save money and make money.”
With the new branch, Hootam really wants to make Investors a community-focused bank. The strategy is to be involved in local community events and reach out to community partners.
“So following up and making people feel important is what’s needed here, not just walking into a bank like a Chase or a TD, where you’re just a number,” Hootam said. “Here, it’s not a number. It’s about knowing your customer and understanding what their needs are, not just product pushing.
“The culture I’m establishing today is one that anyone can walk into the branch and be called by their name,” she added. “Everyone knows who they are, that’s the culture I want to build.”