For Kelny Denebeim, banking is in her DNA. Her first job as a teenager in San Francisco was at her dad’s bank, the Charter Bank of London, and she worked there every summer through high school and college. Her father, Bruce Denebeim, was a lawyer, banker, and entrepreneur who had a long and distinguished career in the San Francisco banking community. Bruce and his two brothers, Jim and Bob, co-founded numerous banks, including Liberty National Bank and The Pacific Bank.
When Kelny graduated from UC Berkeley and was ready for her first full-time job, banking was the obvious choice. She started as a teller at California Canadian Bank, but was quickly recruited to join her father’s bank again.
Almost 50 years later, she still loves the work. Today Kelny is a personal banker who leads a bicoastal private client group at Signature Bank, serving primarily nonprofits and independent schools in New York and the Bay Area.
“I grew up in a banking family, and the years I spent working alongside my father are some of my most treasured experiences.”
Kelny got involved with nonprofits back in the 80’s, when banking jobs were hard to find, and she spent several years in accounting with the San Francisco Opera Guild. She later volunteered in corporate development for the San Francisco Symphony Volunteer Council when her three children were small, and accepted a full-time position there when her youngest started school.
When Kelny went back to banking, it was only natural to blend her passion for nonprofits with her banking expertise. She became an expert in helping schools and nonprofit institutions manage their cash flow and investments, and that has been her specialty for the past twenty years.
“I love working with nonprofits because it’s a way to give back to my community. The nonprofits can focus on their mission, while I take care of their financial needs.”
Growing up in the San Francisco Jewish community, Kelny had always known about Hebrew Free Loan. But it wasn’t until her sister got an adoption loan to start her family that she got a firsthand view into how Hebrew Free Loan changes lives. Kelny later became the agency’s personal banker, initially at First Republic Bank and now at Signature Bank. She loves the longevity of the connection, and is glad she can play a role in making sure that Hebrew Free Loan’s banking operations run smoothly.