Amalgamated Bank of New York (known as Amalgamated Bank) is a prominent labor union-aligned and formerly labor union-owned bank. Created by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA), until its initial public offering in 2018 the bank was owned by labor unions, most recently the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Workers United division. As of 2019, Workers United still owned 40 percent of the company.
It has over $4 billion in assets and nearly $40 billion under management, largely from union pension funds. The bank operates as a “a left-of-center, changemaker bank” that uses financial mechanisms to push for liberal corporate policies and provides boutique banking services to labor unions, left-of-center organizations, environmentalist-aligned businesses, and liberal candidates. The bank has counted Ready For Hillary (Hillary Clinton’s super PAC), the Democratic National Committee, and hundreds of labor unions and liberal organizations as its clients. The bank offers these liberal clients tailored products that help them to carry out their liberal mission, including a 24-hour concierge for liberal political candidates, and a new product that helps unions automatically collect member fees if state legislatures restrict the union’s ability to mandate this collection.
The bank also uses its considerable financial resources to pursue a left-wing corporate governance agenda. Through activist investing, the bank only invests its in companies that share its liberal social and environmental goals. Amalgamated seeks to force corporate boards to implement left-of-center policies, including environmentalist policies, political spending disclosures, and labor restrictions.
The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) founded the Amalgamated Bank in 1923 with $500,000 in resources and 1,300 depositors on opening day. The bank was the brainchild of Sidney Hillman, then-general president of the ACWA union. At its inception the bank’s chairman was Hyman Blumberg, and its president was R.L. Redheffer.The bank was dedicated “to the service and advancement of the labor movement.”
Amalgamated Bank touts that it has actively aided labor union efforts. In 1973, “as a show of support and dedication to the causes of unions,” the bank provided bail checks to keep striking Philadelphia teachers out of jail. In the 1980’s the bank offered “credit to striking workers from Eastern Airlines and NYNEX.”
Amalgamated Bank was the first labor union-owned bank in New York City, and one of the first in the United States. Until its public offering, it was the largest union-owned bank in America: As of 2014, the bank had $3.7 billion in assets and $37.9 billion worth of trust assets under management. As of 2019, Workers United still owned 40 percent of the company.
SEIU Ownership Battle
For more on the SEIU/Unite Here dispute of the late 2000s, see Workers United (Labor Union)
In the late 2000s, Amalgamated Bank was at the center of a bitter controversy involving Service Employees International Union (SEIU) president Andy Stern and the leaders of the merged garment, textile, hotel, and restaurant employees union known as Unite Here.
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis Amalgamated Bank “nearly collapsed […] after it was forced to write off $150 million in subprime loans.” Amalgamated Bank lost more than $12 million in 2011, and federal regulators demanded management clean up the balance sheet or risk being seized and shut down.
In order to save the bank, two billionaires—Wilbur Ross (later President Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary) and Ron Burkle—invested a combined $100 million in exchange for a 40% ownership stake in the bank.
Priscilla Sims Brown has worked as president and CEO of Amalgamated Bank since 2021.
Keith Mestrich, was CEO and president of Amalgamated Bank until 2021. Mestrich previously worked for four years as the chief financial officer at the SEIU. He “joined the bank’s Washington office in 2012 and put a special emphasis on expanding the bank’s political business beyond unions.”
The bank’s former president, Keith Mestrich (formerly deputy chief of staff of Workers United and chief financial officer of SEIU), led the recruitment committee for the Democracy Alliance, “an influential club of liberal donors… which funnels tens of millions of dollars annually into left-leaning political groups.”
Amalgamated Charitable Foundation
Also see Amalgamated Charitable Foundation (Nonprofit)
In September 2017, Amalgamated Bank established the Amalgamated Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity and donor-advised fund provider that shares office space with the bank. Grants through the organization go to support left-of-center activist causes.
Attempted Acquisition of Amalgamated Bank of Chicago
On September 22, 2021. the Amalgamated Bank announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago for Approximately $98.1 million.  The transaction was scheduled to occur by the end of 2021. With the merging of the two banks, the Amalgamated Bank’s total assets would reportedly be expanded to $7.6 billion, solidifying its position “as the largest mission-oriented bank in the United States.” 
In 2022, Amalgamated Bank’s holding company, Amalgamated Financial Corp., announced that it had “withdrawn its application for regulatory approval to acquire Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (“ABOC”) due to an inability to obtain such approval.”
As “the largest manager of union pension funds in the country,” the bank is “a big player in the progressive movement.” According to the bank’s CEO, courting liberal candidates and entities has been “wildly successful.”
Included among the bank’s clients are “hundreds” of left-leaning labor unions such as the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). 
Additionally, the organization serves as the main banking institution for hundreds of liberal political organizations, campaigns, and candidates including, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Ready for Hillary super PAC, Organizing for Action (OFA, previously known as “Obama For America”), Progressive Majority PAC, America Votes, the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and Media Matters For America.
2012 Election Clients
In 2012, Amalgamated Bank’s federal campaign group clientele included the Democratic National Committee, a group of union PACS, and a collection of congressional campaigns. According to the FEC, the bank earned $363,463 from campaign clients during the 2012 election cycle.
2014 Election Clients
Because of added business with new clients, including Ready for Hillary PAC and the Democratic Party Senate Majority PAC, Amalgamated Bank’s campaign client revenues reached $911,545 during the 2014 election cycle.
2016 Election Clients
Because of added business with new clients, including Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, many Democratic Party candidate Senate campaigns, the NextGen Climate Action Committee, American Bridge 21st Century, and Correct the Record, Amalgamated Bank’s revenues surpassed $2.4 million during the 2016 election cycle.
Keith Mestrich has noted that Amalgamated Bank has pursued business with Senate campaigns because they are particularly lucrative clients. The bank has profited from the reelection campaigns for Senators Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Elizabeth Warren(D-Massachusetts), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York). According to Mestrich, “The fundraising cycle is long now, so Senate campaign accounts are particularly good for us.”
The bank provides certain financial advantages for its political clients—many of them important liberal groups—like longer operating hours than other banks, and cash advances on new contributions. As a recent favor to one of its clients, Amalgamated allowed Ready for Hillary PAC to underwrite a $1 million loan with future contributions. 
Amalgamated Bank holds itself to be an alternative to commercial banks for liberal individuals and left-wing organizations that don’t want to be clients of traditional banks. It counts the Occupy Wall Street movement among its banking clients.
The bank argues that it “should be [a] forceful advocate for public policy” and uses its financial resources to push for left-of-center policies.
The bank is a “founding signatory” to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment, which encourages the consideration of liberal Environmental and Social impacts for all investment decisions. 
According to CEO Keith Mestrich, Amalgamated will not use its money to support gun manufacturers or domestic oil production.
The bank also claims it’s committed to “addressing climate change” by adopting new investment policies and offering low-carbon investment funds.
Amalgamated Bank, through its LongView investment funds, has long used “aggressive shareholder actions” to force its preferred liberal social, environmental, and corporate governance policies upon corporate boards. The bank labels these efforts “Advocacy Through Ownership.”
Since 1997, the bank has used shareholder actions to push for corporate boards to impose internal policies that require full public reporting of any political contributions, including “soft money” donations, trade association contributions, and non-profit contributions.
In 1994, the bank used shareholder actions to push for corporate codes of conduct that include specific labor restrictions.
Since the early 2000s, the bank has used shareholder actions to attack what it considers excessive corporate executive salaries and executive equity compensation. 
In 2011, the bank used shareholder actions to urge oil companies to make executive bonuses contingent on the company implementing internal environmental procedures.
According to the New York Times, “Amalgamated has been a lead plaintiff in several of the largest derivative lawsuits in recent years, including a successful $150 million lawsuit against Duke Energy.”  The bank also warned Walmart and The Gap that the companies that the companies could face lawsuits and shareholder actions if they did not change their labor practices.
In 2015, the bank pushed for corporate boards to increase their diversity by adding more women;  in 2018, Amalgamated expanded its “definition of corporate board diversity to include LGBTQ individuals.”
The Bank has enacted a number of internal policies that address liberal priorities.
The Bank “strive[s] to purchase only products that have been made by union workers in America” and seeks to only hires union contractors for its construction and printing projects. The bank goes so far as to “fly on unionized airlines and stay at unionized hotels.”
In 2015, Amalgamated was the first bank in the nation to enact a $15 per hour minimum wage, a national priority of its parent, the SEIU.
In December 2016, the bank “took the Obama administration’s Equal Pay Pledge,” promising to try and eliminate the purported gender wage gap.
The bank has crafted a number of products that serve its liberal agenda.
In response to state legislation that eliminates automatic payroll deductions for union dues, Amalgamated Bank devised a new product that allows union organizers to create recurring payments for employees who have opted into the unions’ dues payment scheme and to identify and target those individuals who have not chosen to take part.
The bank offers its political campaign clients “a 24-hour concierge service, staffed by veterans of President Obama’s campaigns.” The bank also offers “solar home equity lines of credit” and “a series of programs designed to support the development and financing of affordable housing.”
In 2016, Amalgamated Bank gave $1.68 million to liberal candidates and causes. Each entity receiving the Bank’s money was required to support unionization, liberal environmental policies, expansive LGBT rights, and unfettered abortion rights.