Those immigrants needed a bank they could trust, one with connections to their homelands.
So Jarmulowsky, formerly a Talmudic scholar from Russia and now the wealthy owner of a shipping business, started one.
His eponymous bank, at Canal and Orchard Streets, was a huge success.
Jarmulowsky earned a rep as an honest businessman nicknamed the “East Side J.P. Morgan” who paid 100 percent on the dollar during the occasional bank run.
States the Museum at Eldridge Street: “As one Yiddish newspaper described him, ‘Jarmu-lowsky was living proof that in America one can be a rich businessman but also be a true, pious Jew.’”
The 12-story bank building at Canal and Orchard Streets he built in 1912 still stands today. Unfortunately Jarmulowsky never got to see it; he died that year. His sons took over, but they were more Bernie Madoff than J.P. Morgan.
When customers went to withdraw their money to send to relatives abroad during World War I, they found out their savings were gone.
The Jarmulowsky building was sold for $36 million earlier this year—way too late to benefit any of the account holders who lost their savings.