Our primary focus over the past year has been to continue to produce incremental positive change and deliver value at every touchpoint of our customers’ experience. When we think about Ridgewood’s value proposition, it comes down to just a few things: building strong relationships,
providing convenient and personalized service, and developing products and services that help our customers achieve their financial dreams; deploying technologies and digital banking enhancements that make banking easy; offering competitive rates on our loan and deposit products; and remaining a stable, sound financial institution, committed to partnering with and serving our communities.
With those directives guiding us in 2017, we expanded banking hours at all our branches; established a telephone contact center with expanded services and hours; opened two new retail branches in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and in Plainview, Long Island; upgraded all of our ATMs with envelope-free deposit automation technology; installed drive-up ATMs in two of our Long Island branches; introduced Android Pay™, Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay®; and rolled out several enhancements to our Mobile Banking app, including SmartWatch functionality, touch ID for secure and convenient login, quick balance widget to view account balances, and Person to Person (“P2P”) funds transfer ability. We also upgraded our Debit Card rewards to the new, enhanced uChoose Rewards® program and raised rates on all of our deposit accounts. While we are pleased with these efforts, we recognize that our competitive marketplace will not permit us to rest for a moment. Some of our significant plans for the upcoming year include designing and planning renovations to several of our branches, installation of additional drive-up ATMs, new or improved business banking money market and retail checking account offerings, and additional mobile banking enhancements. We will also launch a new loan origination system that will enhance our lending process.
Ridgewood’s strong community involvement continued on many levels in 2017. The Bank financed over $200 million in multifamily housing
and mixed-use properties in low- to moderateincome neighborhoods and invested an additional $7.5 million to help build, rehabilitate and provide
safe and affordable housing for lower-income New York residents.
Our corporate giving and matching gifts programs supported many worthy projects, including hospitals, food banks, volunteer fire and ambulance services, youth programs, and educational and housing initiatives within our communities. In addition, our employees volunteered over 2,400 hours of their time at community and charitable events throughout the year. We continued to conduct financial literacy workshops in our communities on topics such as buying a home, budgeting, saving and credit management. We expanded our financial literacy program in 2017, educating over 2,000 senior citizens about how to protect themselves from identity theft and fraud. Additionally, through our participation in the Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit programs sponsored by the American Bankers Association, our employees educated nearly 15,000 students in local schools.
2017 was a bittersweet year for us. Several of our 35 branches celebrated significant anniversaries: Garden City Park – 45 years; Bay Ridge – 30 years; Astoria – 15 years; and Bayside and Morris Park – 10 years. We held community appreciation events at these branches and throughout our branch network, and were pleased to meet and talk with many longstanding customers at these events and to receive such positive feedback.
In November, we lost a dear friend, Robert W. (“Bill”) Donohue, who served admirably as a Trustee of the Bank for 10 years. Bill was not only a committed and engaged Trustee, but also a passionate supporter of community and charitable endeavors. Bill will truly be missed.
Michael A. Agnes, a Trustee of the Bank since 2006, retired at year-end. We wish him many happy and healthy years of retirement, and will ndoubtedly miss his sharp intellect and sound guidance.
Our officer ranks were also diminished at year-end by the retirement of Peter M. Boger after 18 years of dedicated service, including six years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank. We extend Peter our best wishes for good health and happiness in retirement and are grateful for the vision and guidance he will provide as a Trustee of the Bank.
As for our financial results, despite both a challenging and volatile financial and regulatory climate, net income was $17.2 million for the year ended
December 31, 2017. Ridgewood remains the largest mutual savings bank in New York state. In 2017, the Bank’s assets grew by $42.7 million, to $5.4 billion. This growth was made possible by our depositors, whose savings grew to $4.15 billion. Loans grew 10.5% in 2017, as we originated $326 million in residential loans and $384 million in commercial real estate loans, mainly in the multifamily category. As a result of this growth, our loan portfolio reached a record $3.5 billion at year-end. The deposit and loan growth we achieved reflected our ongoing commitment to customer service as well as our competitive interest rates and diverse product offerings.
Ridgewood’s capital levels continue to be more than twice their regulatory requirement. Our net worth surpassed $700 million for the first time.
These were some of our most noteworthy events and accomplishments for 2017. We remain confident that by staying true to a course that has demonstrated long-term success, and through the sustained efforts of a dedicated Board of Trustees, supportive and capable Management, and a loyal Staff, we will continue to meet the challenges of this economic environment and share our success with our Customers, our Communities and our Employees. From all of us in the Ridgewood family, we thank you for your continued support. We remain ever mindful of the trust you have placed in us. We extend our best wishes to you for good health, happiness and prosperity in 2018.
Chairman, President & CEO