Cover Feature

BHI Goes Beyond Banking

Mitchell Barnett, Gabriel Hamani, Ralph Mascia, John Yoler
Photo Credit: Jill Lotenberg

A Dedicated Team All The Way To The Top

Organized chaos reigns as fleets of racks laden with clothing jostle for space with rows of double- and triple-parked delivery vans. The air rings with shouts in Yiddish, Spanish, English, and a wealth of other languages as pedestrians try to navigate the congested streets around Seventh Avenue. So it was all day, every day in the mid-20th century in Manhattan’s legendary Garment District, once the manufacturing and marketing epicenter of the huge American apparel industry.

The industry—now estimated to be worth $2.4 trillion annually, according to the 2016 McKinsey Global Fashion Index—has changed beyond all recognition since those days. Manufacturing has moved on to places with cheaper labor, ecommerce is radically altering the retail landscape, and consumer-purchasing behavior has become more demanding and less predictable.

“But certain things will never change,” says Gabriel Hamani, manager of USA Branches at BHI. “The fashion world is a dynamic, even volatile business environment and companies have a crucial need for the best possible banking solutions to stay ahead of the curve and thrive. At BHI, we offer a comprehensive range of innovative, custom-tailored banking services to Middle Market businesses, with the emphasis placed squarely on building exceptionally close and supportive relationships with our clients.” Yes, he admits, all banks say that. “The difference,” says Hamani, “is we not only say it–-we actually do it. We offer our customers an unbeatable combination: we give each business the close personal attention and rapid responsiveness that only a top-tier boutique bank can provide. At the same time, we’re part of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest banking group, so our customers in the United States have easy access to business financing from one of the world’s most stable banking environments.”

Hamani also points out how challenging the fashion industry has become: “Clients need to find disruptive solutions to preserve their competitive edge. Creative adaptation of online solutions and new marketing techniques will enable them to gain market share and BHI is always ready to advise its customers in these areas.”

Ralph Mascia, SVP and division executive at BHI, who has been in the apparel banking business for nearly 40 years adds, “We have a flat organizational structure and our senior management is unusually accessible. We operate on a first-name basis and greetings often take the form of a hug, not a handshake. All of this means that approval times for credit and financing solutions are remarkably short, often just a matter of days.”

“This easy access to the bank’s senior management is a “huge differentiator,” says Mitchell Barnett, EVP and division executive of Commercial & Industrial/Healthcare Finance. BHI introduces manufacturing clients to owners of multiple brands, as part of a commitment to help them develop new revenue streams. “Brand values are commensurate with cash flow,” Barnett remarks, who joined BHI five years ago and has 25 years of banking experience. “At BHI, we understand cash cycles and seasonality and we know-how to provide working-capital financing for the leaner times through asset-based lending,” he says. “This works well for companies that are growing very rapidly,” Barnett explains, “or are undercapitalized, highly leveraged or faced with seasonal or cyclical fluctuations. We can set up dynamic revolving credit facilities based on advances against receivables and use of the company’s assets as collateral, thus generating more liquidity.”

“Because BHI has tremendous expertise in credit and financing, it is a responsive lender that can provide just the right solutions and structure,” Barnett offers.

“For companies that do business internationally, our expertise in cross-border trade is essential. Your relationship manager, backed by a dedicated team of trade financing specialists, can help you maximize your import-export potential and reduce the currency risks associated with cross-border trade,” Mascia adds.

Cash-flow lending is another excellent source of working capital. “This type of financing is based on borrowing against projected future cash flows, rather than the liquidation value of the company’s assets, so it’s vital to have the kind of accurate and detailed knowledge about a company’s performance that comes from close daily monitoring of the figures. Just as important is the trust that is built between the bank and the customer through working together closely over the course of time. We hold frequent, sometimes daily, consultations with our customers to evaluate their current situation, make necessary decisions and formulate effective plans for the future,” Mascia adds.

For day-to-day business, BHI offers a full suite of smart, efficient cash management options to keep your business running smoothly. To streamline access to incoming funds, your banking team will help you convert receivables into cash quickly with convenient collection solutions. As for payables, BHI will custom-tailor the optimum solutions to conveniently process payments, improve cash forecasts and make timely funding decisions.

Mascia continues, “And if you find yourself in the enviable position of having cash reserves, we can design liquidity solutions that ensure you have enough cash when you need it while any excess funds are working hard to make a return.”

With no physical branches, BHI serves its clients easily and efficiently 24/7 on its online banking site-–a safe, secure platform where customers can carry out a broad range of banking operations from routine transactions like electronic payments and fund transfers to account management and administration.

“We won’t abandon you when the going gets tough, as sometimes happens. Many banks aren’t so eager to deal with the fashion industry-–they see it as being too cyclical, too risky, and too unpredictable. So when a company runs over a pothole, some banks will run away. Not BHI. We stay with you, advise you and help you find the best strategy and solutions to get your business back on track as quickly as possible,” Mascia says.

BHI is a strong believer in the MM industry says John Yoler, who manages the NJ activity and has more than 25 years of experience in commercial banking: “A proof of our commitment to the apparel industry specifically and the commercial and industrial industries in general is our recent expansion to new territories like we just did with the launch of our new Woodcliff lake NJ offices.

“If I had to sum it up I would say that we at BHI see you and your business as a long-term partner. If you succeed, we succeed,” Yoler concludes.


  • Is part of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest banking group with $128.6B in Total Assets
  • Specializes in full-service, highly personalized banking for medium-sized businesses in the following fields: Commercial and industrial, commercial real estate; food and commodities; entertainment; apparel; healthcare and high-tech
  • Has a footprint in in America’s largest metropolitan areas, with brand-new offices in the Bryant Park area of Manhattan and offices in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, Aventura, Florida, and two locations in California, in downtown Los Angeles and Beverly Hills

Mitchell Barnett
Executive Vice President
Commercial and Industrial / Middle Market Banking
Tel: 212- 782- 2064

Ralph Mascia
Senior Vice President
Commercial and Industrial / Middle Market Banking  
Tel: 212- 782- 2062

John Yoler
Senior Vice President
Head of NJ and PA Middle Market Lending
Tel: 201) 305-7351  (201) 423-4721

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