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Dear Valued Ridgewood Savings Bank Customers and Community Members

February 2024

The year ended December 31, 2023, presented numerous challenges to U.S. banks, most notably a persistent inverted yield curve and a nationwide decline in consumer deposits.

In meeting the unique challenges of the past year, the underlying strength, stability and resiliency of Ridgewood Savings Bank grew more evident.

Another clear takeaway from the most recent year was that Ridgewood Savings Bank has faced many similar challenges over its 102 years of operation, and has a proven record of accomplishment.

The theme for this year's report is “Count on Us.” No matter what unique events or challenges may evolve, you can “count on us” to deliver a consistent customer- and community-focused business model.

With that background, I am proud to focus the remainder of this message on highlighting some of the Bank’s numerous accomplishments from 2023. The accomplishments all rose from a foundation built upon our loyal customers, our community bank model, and our unwavering dedication to the following core values: relationships, financial solutions, convenience, competitive rates, giving back, and strength and stability.

Financial Achievements

Despite numerous challenges that persisted throughout 2023, Ridgewood Savings Bank ended 2023 with the highest level of deposits and loans ever achieved in its proud 102-year history. Total assets also closed 2023 at their highest historic level, reaching nearly $7 billion.

The Bank experienced continued success throughout its omnichannel deposit network. While deposit balances saw movement between our suite of offerings, the traditional retail branch and digital network continued to gain customers and accounts.

In 2023, we continued to lend prudently on both residential and commercial real estate (CRE) properties, with CRE lending still heavily focused upon local multifamily buildings. Our Residential loans to low-to-moderate income borrowers continued to expand as a percentage of our lending, and nearly one-half of our CRE originations qualified for Community Development credit. Furthermore, building upon our successful participation in the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, we commenced origination activities within the SBA 7(a) business loan program.

Thanks largely to our loyal customers, liquidity remained healthy throughout the entirety of 2023, and regulatory capital ended the year at its highest level on record, as the Bank recorded another strong year of net income. Our asset quality also remained strong throughout 2023.

When entrusting us with your savings, you can surely count on our track record of financial strength and stability, as well as our continued emphasis upon safety and soundness.

Our local communities that we proudly serve can also count on us to modernize our branches in an effort to create an optimal in-branch banking experience.

New Horizons in Yaphank

In April 2023, we officially opened our 36th branch location in Yaphank, New York, our third branch within Suffolk County. This expansion represents our dedication to serving the evolving needs of our communities and our customers. The Yaphank branch, located within the brand-new “Shoppes at the Boulevard,” is not just a physical space – it is also a symbol of our continued commitment to provide convenient and personalized banking solutions.

Revitalizing White Plains Road

Our commitment to enhancing the banking experience extended to our existing branch footprint. We were pleased to celebrate the grand reopening of our White Plains Road branch, an occasion that marked a significant investment in this Bronx community. This new state-of-the-art branch offers modern amenities while maintaining the personalized touch we are known for.

Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence in Laurelton

2023 held special significance as we celebrated the 75th anniversary and grand reopening of our Laurelton branch. We are proud to serve the vibrant Laurelton community, with whom we have shared eight of the 11 decades of our journey as a premier savings bank. The renovated Laurelton branch offers 3,600 square feet of modern space and reflects our ongoing commitment to creating locations that resonate with the evolving needs of our loyal customers.

You can count on our unwavering commitment to provide you with seamless access to the numerous technological enhancements evolving to improve the banking customer experience.

Focused on Both Innovation and Security

Our technology-driven solutions continue to offer customers on-the-go access to cutting-edge financial services with the added assurance of powerful protection services.

Our Mobile Banking application and Online Banking digital platforms remain easy to use and highly rated by our customers, offering seamless access to finances and a spectrum of banking services at their fingertips. Our Debit Mastercard® product offers customers faster and easier transactions via contactless payment technology, along with the benefit of two rewards programs. The continued growth in engagement levels among all of our diverse digital banking tools has also been extraordinary.

In late 2023, we launched Credit Score powered by SavvyMoney, a digital banking tool that will provide our customers with a greater understanding of their credit score, as well as potential actions that can strengthen it.

For the security and identity protection of our customers, the Bank’s Premier Checking product offers EZShield® ID Protection Plus.

Our locally staffed Customer Contact Center is available seven days a week for customers seeking a more personal touch.

Connecting With Consumers for Financial Well-Being

Beyond the traditional role of a financial institution, Ridgewood is dedicated to connecting with consumers on a personal level. We understand the importance of financial well-being, and our initiatives focus on educating our customers to make informed decisions about their financial futures. Through various outreach programs, community workshops and financial literacy programs, including online financial tutorials, we continue to empower individuals to achieve their financial goals.

Awards and Recognitions

It is with great pride that I share the news of Ridgewood Savings Bank receiving the following industry awards:

  • “Best Bank 2023-2024” award from Money
  • “Best Regional Bank 2024” from Newsweek
  • “Best Regional Bank 2024” from Bankrate

In 2023, we also received an “Honorable Mention” designation from the American Banking Association for our work protecting older Americans, highlighting our dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of seniors.

All of these prestigious awards are a testament to our commitment to deliver banking excellence to our customers and communities. And you can count on us to never rest upon our laurels, and instead to work tirelessly to improve the quality of our service and customer experience.

My sincere wish is for Ridgewood to become an even stronger partner in your financial journey, cementing its position as a bank that you can truly “count on.”

On behalf of our Board of Trustees, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our customers and employees. Ridgewood Savings Bank is more than just a financial institution: We are a dedicated partner in your financial journey. Building upon the numerous accomplishments from this past year, we look forward to many more years of growth, innovation and community engagement.

 

Sincerely,

Leonard Stekol


Leonard Stekol
Chairman, President & CEO

 

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