A tradition that helps make money grow

March 10, 2009 3:10:07 PM PDT
At the corner of South 5th and Havemeyer Street sits a savings bank that's been in the neighborhood for 145 years. The Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, considered a small savings bank, but whose customer base has grown, as people look to move money from a volatile stock market to safer ground.

Dime has not stretched far beyond the New York City local community. A Long Island branch is the farthest flung from its Brooklyn base. It has kept old ways, issuing passbooks for its savings account customers. They see them as a binding ledger of their money. Transactions written by hand in the early days of the 145 year old bank are now electronically chronicled.

Many of Dime's customers are 2nd and 3rd generations of families who have banked here.

Maher says small community banks, in general are becoming more popular, because most are stable, and very light on toxic assets. Dime, like many other savings banks, refused government bailout money.

What was once considered a downside to smaller banks now looks like a pretty sweet deal. Interest earned on your deposits is at most a little more than 3-percent, but at least a passbook doesn't shrink under the weight of an unstable stock market.

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