Today, Ridgewood Savings Bank is the largest mutual savings bank in New York State. With $5.5 billion in assets, Ridgewood operates 35 branches across New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, as well as Yonkers, Westchester and Long Island. But it all started as the dream of 14 entrepreneurs living in Ridgewood, Queens. They believed that a bank should be actively involved in its community, and they made it their mission to create a better financial institution.
The bank was chartered as The Savings Bank of Ridgewood on June 18, 1921. The bank first operated out of a converted taproom located at the intersection of Myrtle and Forest Avenue. The original trustees worked tirelessly to build their business. They would personally hand out flyers to local residents encouraging them to keep their savings at the new Ridgewood Bank. In the early days, it was not uncommon to see one of the trustees filling in for a teller or taking deposits from one of the bank's new customers.
The long days and late nights paid off. The people of the surrounding communities came in droves to save their money at The Savings Bank of Ridgewood. In 1929, the cornerstone was laid for a new headquarters in the bank’s original location, and the name was changed from The Savings Bank of Ridgewood to Ridgewood Savings Bank.
On October 29, 1929, the stock market crashed, launching the Great Depression. Ridgewood Savings Bank weathered this cataclysm, and continued to serve the community during these trying years. At a time when many banks were closing, Ridgewood’s success spoke to the positive relationship the bank maintained with the people it served.
As the nation began to recover, Ridgewood Savings Bank began to expand. In 1940, the bank opened its first branch office in Forest Hills, Queens. The building is located at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 108th Street. The building won the 1939 Queens Chamber of Commerce award for excellence in architecture and was designated a New York City Landmark in 2000 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Other branch offices followed throughout Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Suffolk and Nassau counties. In 2007, City and Suburban Bank joined the team. This increased the size of Ridgewood’s family with branches serving the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester County. In addition to its 35 banking offices, Ridgewood has mortgage centers located in Garden City Park and Lake Success. There is also a retirement planning services department in Bensonhurst and a training department in Elmhurst, and Ridgewood operates a mobile branch that travels to several locations throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Looking ahead, Ridgewood will continue to spread a community-focused approach to banking. There are plans to open new branches, and to increase services in the years to come. The continued growth and success of Ridgewood Savings Bank speaks to the power of what can happen when you multiply the good.