Amalgamated in N.Y. Creates Public Finance Unit

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Amalgamated Bank in New York has snagged a veteran executive to lead its new public finance unit.

The $3.8 billion-asset bank said Wednesday that Robert O'Brien had previously worked at Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, where he led the German bank's public finance group. He has also held posts in municipal finance at BluePoint Re and Fitch Ratings.

"In addition to tax anticipation and revenue anticipation financing, we will also be looking at providing lines of credit and term financing to municipal entities," O'Brien said in a press release. "We would also consider other creative solutions such as collateralized lending or even deficit financing if these are properly authorized and are part of a comprehensive solution for a municipality."

O'Brien said Amalgamated would offer floating-rate "direct purchase" loans to public finance entities. He said the bank would also lend to municipalities nationwide, including those that lack a credit rating.

Amalgamated's public finance push follows the bank's  lending to Scranton, Pa., which in August borrowed $6.25 million from Amalgamated to pay workers.

O'Brien "will build upon our experience with Scranton as we look to increase our presence in the distressed municipal sector," Ed Grebow, Amalgamated's chief executive, said in the release.

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