Alpine Maskhead
  A l p i n e  C a p i t a l  B a n k  N e w s l e t t e r                                            July 2009
President's Corner

Despite challenging economic times, Alpine Capital Bank continues to provide its clients the deposit and loan products they require. As a small, closely-held bank, Alpine successfully avoided the type of lending that has exacted a heavy toll on so many financial institutions, both large and small. Alpine's capital position remains strong, as does its liquidity. We have not borrowed funds under any of the government rescue plans, and remain a safe place for our depositors' funds. Most important, we continue to make loans to our customers, following the same disciplined approach to lending that we have used since our inception.

We continue to value our clients, are proud of the close, trusted relationships we maintain with them, and appreciate our customer's continued confidence in us, especially during these uncertain times. We are more than happy to discuss any questions our clients may have about our Bank or about the financial infrastructure in which we operate. Please feel free to call on us. And, if you have any friends or family members who you believe would benefit from the safety, security and personal service of Alpine Capital Bank, please refer them to us -- we will ensure that they are fully satisfied.


David M. Aboodi
Lending - Real Estate and Other Types of Loans

We are still lending! We offer a variety of loans, including residential and commercial mortgage loans. Our knowledge of NYC and surrounding markets allows us to assess values and act quickly. Our operational team can customize loan terms and expedite the loan process for you. Decisions can be made, and loans funded, without delay. Additionally, we also have developed the expertise to evaluate and understand unique collateral, thereby enabling us to offer our customers loans with different types of collateral. This may be helpful to you for a short-term loan which may bridge some wealth event or assist with a liquidity issue.

We are here to help; please call Naomi del Rosario (212-328-2480) to discuss how we can customize a loan to meet your needs.

Golf Pic 2Attention: Golfers

Alpine Capital Bank is pleased to offer its closest friends the opportunity to play at the sensational new Pound Ridge Golf Club, located in Westchester, less than an hour from New York City. This course -- designed by legendary golf architect Pete Dye - has already garnered widespread critical acclaim as one the world's best new courses. Better still, the entire project was financed from start to finish by Alpine Capital Bank! In the words of owner Ken Wang, brother of renowned fashion designer Vera Wang, "This wonderful course would never have existed without the Alpine Capital Bank. Their support made it all possible."

Alpine Capital Bank has arranged for a complimentary tee time for each client and one guest, to be used during the 2009 season. This offer is for the Bank's clients only and is not transferable. Please contact April Rudin at the Bank at 212-328-2593 to book your tee time.

Ask The Attorney: How To Prepare For Refinancing
by Hugh P. Finnegan, Sullivan & Worcester

As we continue through turbulent economic times, one question that many lawyers receive is how to prepare to refinance my property.  The question, of course, applies to either residential or commercial property.  The answer: preparation.

In this market, the timing of transactions is even longer than it was during a more normal period like it was five or six years ago.  In those days, transactions routinely took from six to eight weeks, from application to closing.  Given the difficult lending climate that exists today in comparison to previous periods, the time periods are now being extended.  The point is that the process must be started sooner.  Do not expect instantaneous action.

It is important to make sure that there are no issues out there that could be of concern to a lender.  For example, it may be prudent to have a title search issued prior to a commitment letter or term sheet in order to make sure that there are no violations or liens that you are unaware of.  You may also want to make sure that there are no issues related to the use of a property that might violate a Certificate of Occupancy or similar governmental-issued certificate.

If you know that there are potential physical issues that could be something that could ripen into a violation or engineering issue, repair them now.  The perfect example is a cracked sidewalk.

If the property is a commercial property, attention to corporate governance documents is important.  One example is to make sure that all franchise taxes have been paid so that there are no issues as to whether the entity that owns the property is in good standing.

The moral is do not expect that lenders will not care.  In the current climate, lenders and their attorneys are paying attention to every detail.  If there is a potential issue out there, it is prudent to expect it will cause concern to the lender and their counsel.  Why wait to see if they will be concerned - be proactive.

Hugh P. Finnegan is a partner and the co-director of the Real Estate Department at Sullivan and Worcester in New York.  He has over 25 years of experience as a real estate attorney representing both lenders and borrowers
Meet the People at Alpine Capital Bank:

Tashana Smith

Tashana Smith has been an account officer at Alpine for more two years. She is the friendly voice that you hear when you need some transactional advice. She is also the liaison between our customers and other members of the Bank who may execute your

Tashana began her banking career at Chase, where she spent almost eight years. She held a variety of positions, beginning as a teller and working her way up through special banking services, where she handled foreign currency, wire transfers and all other types of business banking.

She is the proud mother of a daughter, Taimar, age 10 and son, Tyler, age 7. Tashana can be reached directly at 212-328-2489 or via email at
Regulatory News

FDIC Insurance Maximum Coverage Extended

Deposits at FDIC-insured institutions are now insured up to $250,000 per depositor through December 31, 2013.  This level of FDIC insurance was originally scheduled to expire on December 31, 2009.  On January 1, 2014, the standard insurance amount will return to $100,000 per depositor for all account categories, except for IRAs and other certain retirement accounts which will remain at $250,000 per depositor. Please note that this extension does not apply to the FDIC's Transaction Account Guarantee Program which provides full coverage for non-interest bearing transaction accounts at FDIC-insured institutions, like Alpine, which have agreed to participate in the program.  This program is only in effect through December 31, 2009.

Changes in Regulations for Money Market accounts

Federal regulations generally require us to limit the number of transactions you can make from your money market accounts when not at a branch to six (6) per statement period, of which no more than three (3) can be by check.  Beginning on July 2, 2009, the Federal Reserve Board has changed the monthly permissible number of transfers or withdrawals from money market accounts by check to six (6).
New at Alpine Capital Bank

Alpine participates in CDARS (Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service), which allows our customers to deposit up to $50 million, fully-insured by the FDIC. Deposits are made in other CDARS member banks in increments below the current FDIC-insurance maximum. Maturities are offered from as little as four weeks to a maximum of five years with varying interest rates.

Please call Eric Goldstein (212-328-2492) for additional information on this convenient, safe program.
Market Volatility
by Justin Frankel and Jeremy Berman, Wavecrest Asset Management

Early in life, we learned about the value of compounding, or as our grandparents said "let your money work for you". The additive nature of compounding increases the efficiency of a productive asset (i.e. cash earning interest). Equity market volatility is the exact opposite. It is the single greatest destructive force to portfolio value. Volatility refers to the amount of risk associated with an asset's price fluctuations. It is explained as the standard deviation of returns over a given time period.

Consider the following examples.  Imagine a bank account that earns 5% a year.  If you place $1,000 in the account and leave it there for 10 years, your account will be worth $1,630, for an average compounded return of 6.3%.  Now let's consider what heightened volatility does to the same $1,000 over 10 years. Portfolio A has volatile returns, going up 30% and then down 25% in alternating years.  Even though its "average" return is +2.5% per year, at the end of 10 years, your $1,000 is now worth only $881.  Portfolio B has more stable returns, going up 10% and then down 5% in alternating years. This portfolio, which also averages +2.5% per year, is worth $1246.  What caused the dramatic discrepancies between the two portfolios?  We can see that the volatility of Portfolio A is greater than that of Portfolio B, which not only erases the gains, but led to a loss.

Illustrating the impact that volatility has on a portfolio is easily demonstrated in the above scenarios, but defining what volatility is can be more complex. There are two basic metrics that address market volatility; historical volatility (how the market has behaved in the past), and implied volatility (how the market is expected to behave in the future).  Obviously, analyzing the past is much easier than predicting the future, but can the past help us understand what type of behavior the market will have in the future? One measure that market pundits commentators often reference is the VIX index.  The VIX is an estimate of how traders believe the market will move around in the next few months.  Some call it a "fear" gauge.  In simpler terms, it measures the cost of a short-term equity portfolio insurance policy.  As perceived market risk increases (as reflected by a rise in the VIX), that insurance policy becomes more expensive.  Traditionally, when markets have gone down dramatically, the VIX rises. Conversely, when markets have moved solidly higher, the VIX generally falls.

While the VIX is helpful in taking the market's volatility "temperature" at any given time, it doesn't give us any deeper insight into how volatility has impacted performance. Historical volatility is better suited to framing that discussion.  If an asset has displayed high historical volatility, a buyer of that asset should demand a higher potential return and have a higher risk tolerance (think about the difference between investing in technology vs. utility stocks).  While investors should consider factors like valuation and purchase price, understanding an asset's volatility profile should not be overlooked, and should be a critical factor in security selection and portfolio construction.

Justin Frankel and Jeremy Berman co-founded Wavecrest Asset Management in 2008 after spending several years working on institutional derivatives desks creating, trading, and marketing risk managed solutions for high net worth clients. Justin and Jeremy most recently managed different parts of the Structured Investments business at Morgan Stanley, where they helped the firm's Financial Advisors invest over $4 billion of client assets in customized derivative solutions.

Alpine Closing BoxArt Corner
by Deborah G. Davis, Deborah Davis Fine Art 

Collecting Photography in Today's Economic Climate

In these times of economic uncertainty, it might seem counter-intuitive to tie up available cash in the acquisition of photographs. However, there are a number of good arguments in favor of collecting now.
Photography can be divided into three collecting categories: 19th century, modern (first half of the 20th century) and contemporary (1970's to the present). In the first two areas, the prices have never reached the "bubble levels" of the contemporary art market. While values of photographs have risen significantly over the past 30 years, they are nowhere near the levels of contemporary art. Today, it is still possible to buy a masterpiece by a master 20th-century photographer like Alfred Stieglitz or Robert Mapplethorpe for under $100,000. In the recent contemporary art market, this amount of money would buy a painting by a trendy emerging artist, one whose name the next generation may never know.

Since photography has never been overpriced, the contemporary market has not suffered a severe downturn. This is a good time to become a new buyer. Dealers are less busy and so have time to get to know you as a new collector and share their knowledge. Negotiating is much easier and dealers more willing. You have the luxury of taking your time and reflecting before making an acquisition in today's market. By purchasing quality images by top photographers, you will have treasures to enjoy that should, at worst, hold their value, or at best appreciate in value for years to come.

Contemporary photography may be more vulnerable than the other two categories. At the recent AIPAD fair (The Association of International Photography Art Dealers), there was a noticeable decrease in the number of contemporary photographs on view.  There is a consensus among dealers that classic photography has a more loyal and stable clientele. Nobody knows which artists will be left standing after the reevaluation the contemporary art world will go through during this recession. This trend was also noticeable at the recent auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's last month-estimates were very low on contemporary work. If you are interested in contemporary photography, now is a great time to buy. There are definitely bargains in this market!

Some tips for buying photographs. If you are buying historical and modern photographs, you must do your homework. You can find the same image by the same artist for $5,000 or $50,000. There are several factors that determine this price discrepancy: the quality of the print, the date the print was made (vintage), the condition of the print and the provenance (history of ownership). Working with an experienced, reputable dealer is the best way to be assured you are paying the correct amount. Here is some advice from AIPAD president Stephen Bulger on forming a photography collection: If you find a photographer whose work you like, by all means collect them in depth. Due to its reproducible nature, it is often possible to buy the iconic images by a particular photographer. These are the images that have been proven to be popular and will be the most easy to sell, should you ever need to. By becoming an expert of someone's work, you will soon be in a good position (in terms of judging a print's aesthetic and economic value) to act decisively if an unusual piece comes on the market.

Deborah Davis Fine Art is an art advisory and consulting business serving new and established collectors, both private and corporate, in the acquisition of Modern & Contemporary Art and Photography.
Protect Yourself from Identity TheftFree Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft is a growing concern among consumers today. We have contracted with Equifax to provide our Bank customers with a top-shelf offering called Credit Watch Gold. You will receive alerts of key changes in your credit files within 24 hours, thereby alerting you to any unauthorized inquiries.

A limited number of free subscriptions are available. Please call April Rudin (212-328-2593) to register.
Alpine Closing Box