WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. Jonathan Grant fought to keep his automobile dealerships afloat during the worst financial crisis of his lifetime in 2008. He said the nation’s biggest banks ran when he asked for capital.
“I find the big banks very impersonal,’’ said Grant, who owns Central Avenue Nissan and Central Avenue Chrysler Jeep along with Hyundai of White Plains. “They love you one day, and the next day they want nothing to do with you.”
Grant solved his banking dilemma by turning to John Tolomer and The Westchester Bank. Grant had previous experience with Tolomer, the Bank’s President and CEO, and knew he wanted to solve his financing challenges with a local bank.
“John came in and said he’d help us,’’ Grant said. “He was much more attuned to our business. I think we’re a big business, but we’re often overlooked by the big banks. Other banks would always find a reason to say no. John and his team find a reason to say yes.”
Grant said responsiveness sets The Westchester Bank apart from peers. “If I need anything, they’re very flexible with their terms in order to make things happen,’’ Grant said. “And it’s not just John. It’s that culture throughout the Bank. They’re very responsive to their customers and a pleasure to do business with.”
Grant worked previously with another community bank, which was eventually swallowed up by a larger competitor. “It was never the same after that,’’ Grant said. “I felt like The Westchester Bank was a community bank that was great to deal with. The Westchester Bank came in and took over that community niche. I see a lot of similarities between them and the previous community bank I had used.”
Grant’s father started in 1954 with a Chrysler and DeSoto dealership in Yonkers. The business moved from South Broadway to Central Avenue in 1963, and Jonathan took over in 1990. His father, Herbert, died in August.
“He founded the first dealership and was a source of great inspiration and knowledge,’’ Grant said. “The one thing he always felt was if you have a good bank, stick with them because they are hard to come by. I take his advice seriously and he’s absolutely correct. I feel like our business has partnered with a good bank.”