But for the staff of Bayonne Community Bank (BCB), a move next door to their old location warranted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, partly as a celebration of a very modern new facility, but also as a testimony to its retaining its community-based concepts.
The September 10 event included a number of bank and public officials, including Mayor Mark Smith, BCB President Thomas M. Coughlin and others, who mingled with the crowd while staff gave out small gifts, and the public munched on tacos supplied by the Hoboken-based The Taco Truck.
While the move can’t rival the recent Voyager, which this week became the first manmade vehicle to venture into interstellar space, the change of location was a kind of trip through time, giving BCB a more modern look, while maintaining the fundamental services that have established its reputation as a community bank.
“We have a good reputation in Bayonne,” said Mike Delaney, VP for marketing and communications. “People know that we have stayed with what has made us successful as a community bank—attention to personal service, something the mega banks do not do.”
BCB Community Bank currently operates retail branches in Hudson and Middlesex Counties, as well as in other locations in the state.
While the old bank location had its charm, with cream-colored walls, wood columns, and an old- fashioned design for cashiers, the new space glimmers with a very modern feel, like a high-class salon with significantly more security for the cashiers, while maintaining an open feel in the client areas. The new space is brighter with stylish tear-like light fixtures hanging from high ceilings.
This is not the only move BCB has been making, even if it is the most visible. Changes of office space for top staff have also been made in an overall reorganization of facilities.
The move from 510 to 508 Broadway took place over a weekend, Delaney said, noting that the staff prepared the new space ahead of time while still doing business in the old facility.
“Once we knew everything was working in the new space, we made the move,” he said.
Everything except for a few safe-deposit boxes is located in the new space.
While the old space has a deserted look, BCB hasn’t abandoned it. Business is up; the bank is growing, and the need for office space is essential. So the old branch will be converted to office space.
Things are looking up for BCB, the economy seems to be growing again, and both signal good things for residents of Bayonne and Hudson County.
“We’ve always tried to strike a balance between growth and maintaining our role as a community bank,” Delaney said.
This is something akin to creating a stock portfolio that allows for growth, while also maintaining conservative investments.
“We are always conscious of our depositors,” he said.
Personal service for the members of the community is the key to BCB’s success.
“Word of mouth has served our bank well,” he said, noting that the bank has a good ratio of commercial and residential that allows it to flourish even in difficult times. With positive signs for an improved economy, the bank’s growth also symbolizes growth in the community.
The bank’s ability to deal with unexpected events is reflected in how it reopened within 24 hours of Hurricane Sandy last year, despite flooding near its Hoboken branch and loss of power at various locations, including Bayonne.
BCB personnel brought in generators to one location in Bayonne and started operations by connecting equipment to units and offering to provide services to any resident of Bayonne. They did the same in Hoboken and in other communities throughout the state where they had branches.
“We provided service at a time when the community needed it most,” said Neil Nelson, vice president of security operations. “We cashed checks, and we did not have one incident of fraudulent checks.”
Catherine Lazkokow, vice president of administration, said ATMs were active for the communities when people needed access to cash.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.