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First S Asian bank in Long Island

Habib American Bank (HAB) has opened its sixth branch in Hicksville, which has a sizeable South Asian community.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2007 12:00 IST

The first South Asian bank serving the ethnic community has opened in Long Island, an upscale suburb of New York.

Habib American Bank (HAB) opened its sixth branch on Saturday in Hicksville, which has a sizeable South Asian community.

"The South Asian community - our special focus - in the area is palpably excited about the opening of our branch," Saleem Iqbal, chief operating officer of HAB, told IANS.

"Three hundred people turned up for the inauguration. The number of accounts opened in one day here equalled what we got in three months of starting operations elsewhere," Iqbal said.

HAB - unrelated to Pakistan's Habib Bank but owned by the Habib family - was incorporated in 1983 in the US with its headquarters in New York, making it the oldest commercial bank serving the South Asian community. It has branches in New York, New Jersey and California.

Besides the usual retail services, HAB caters to small businesses ranging from retail stores to import and export trading/manufacturing companies. It takes care of home mortgages and commercial real estate financing also.

Knowing South Asian women's predilection for jewellery, the Hicksville branch has provided for lockers also.

The branch manager is Sabiha Mithaiwala, of Indian origin.