Press Release

November 10, 2021

Acting Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris Approves New Banking Development District in The Van Cortlandt Village Neighborhood In The Bronx 

Under the BDD Program, Ridgewood Savings Bank Will Increase Access to Financial Services for Local Businesses and Residents

Acting Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris today announced the approval of a new Banking Development District (BDD) covering the neighborhood of Van Cortlandt in The Bronx, continuing New York State’s efforts to expand access to affordable financial services. Ridgewood Savings Bank pursued BDD designation for its Van Cortlandt Village branch in an effort to keep the branch open after initially filing notice to close the branch earlier this year. As a result of today’s announcement, Ridgewood Savings Bank will continue to serve local residents and small businesses in the neighborhood, offering access to competitive, affordable financial products. Ridgewood Savings Bank will also provide financial education to consumers and businesses, to help foster financial empowerment and inclusion in the community.  

“This new BDD is a testament to what can be achieved when government and community banks collaborate on providing affordable banking services to families and Main Street small businesses,” said Acting Superintendent Harris. “Ridgewood Savings Bank will continue to serve the Van Cortlandt Village neighborhood, bolstering financial accessibility to all residents.” 

New York State’s BDD program, administered by DFS, is designed to encourage the establishment of bank branches in areas across New York State where there is a demonstrated need for banking services.  The program is a public-private collaboration among DFS, local communities, and financial institutions. Strong community support from local community organizations, residents, small businesses, and elected officials is a critical piece of establishing a BDD.  

To encourage bank participation in the BDD program, $10 million in subsidized public deposits and other benefits are made available to banks that open or maintain a branch or improve products and services offered in an underserved community. The new BDD in the neighborhood of Van Cortlandt in The Bronx will enable Ridgewood Savings Bank to provide access to products and services targeted to the needs of the local residents and small businesses in that community. Groups that support small businesses, community organizations, and elected officials submitted letters in support of this BDD application. The designation will further community engagement and reinvestment initiatives throughout The Bronx.    

“We are very grateful to have received the Banking Development District (BDD) designation from the New York State Department of Financial Services for the Sedgwick Avenue branch,” said Leonard Stekol, Ridgewood Savings Bank Chairman, President & CEO. “This helps ensure that we can continue to provide the award-winning banking services and community programming to which our Sedgwick Avenue branch customers are accustomed. I also want to mention that the entire process was a collaborative effort, involving many community partners. To each of them, as well as our loyal customers, we extend our deepest gratitude.” 

“This approved BDD in The Bronx is a great investment, not only for the families in this neighborhood, but also our local businesses,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Ridgewood Savings Bank has provided services to an underbanked community for many years, and the potential closure of this branch would have severely limited the availability of banking services in The Northwest Bronx. I welcome this investment and I am thrilled that residents in the area will have an easily accessible community bank close to home.” 

“I’m proud to see this approval and collaboration for a new BDD in The Bronx, which will be a powerful vehicle for socioeconomic development and economic opportunity in our local communities,” said Senator Jamaal T. Bailey. “Bronxites make up some of the highest rates of unbanked and underbanked households citywide and this need is heightened in lower-income communities of color that have historically lacked access to banking services. The BDD program will allow Ridgewood Savings Bank to further its commitment to providing affordable banking products, financial services, and educational programming to underserved residents in the area.” 

"The approved BDD will present a great opportunity and additional access to a variety of banking services to the Van Cortland Village neighborhood," said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. "This neighborhood, which is geographically isolated from neighboring business districts due to Jerome Park Reservoir and large hills, relies on this one bank to serve everyone who wants or needs to bank locally. I am excited to see Ridgewood Savings Bank also provide financial education that will empower the local community.” 

The Ridgewood Savings Bank branch located at 3899 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463 is the BDD program’s 53rd designation, and Ridgewood Savings Bank third BDD branch. Ridgewood Savings Bank’s other two BDD branches are located as follows: one in the neighborhood of Williamsbridge in The Bronx, and a branch that serves portions of the Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights neighborhoods in Brooklyn.