2019 was a year of great progress and innovation at Ridgewood Savings Bank, in which we developed solutions, modernized facilities, and streamlined processes, to continue to enhance your banking experience.
We know that convenience is one of your top priorities. That’s why we streamlined the online account opening process. Now you can generally open an account on your mobile device or computer in less than five minutes. We want you to be able to bank your way. That’s why we implemented voice recognition for Telephone Banking and added chat functionality on our Mobile and Online Banking platforms. To provide you with the very latest in banking technology, voice banking with Amazon’s Alexa was launched. For those of you on the go, contactless payments for Fitbit and Garmin smartwatches was rolled out. We enhanced the person to person (P2P) payments so you can move your money faster. Banking technology is rapidly evolving. That’s why we developed short how-to videos to help you get started with the latest easy-to-use technology.
Security and control are as important to you as convenience. To help you fight fraud and manage your debit card, quickly and easily, we added card controls and text alerts to help prevent unauthorized debit card transactions, right from your phone or computer. Our partnership with industry leader EZShield® provides all our checking customers with free access to EZShield® ID Restoration, which includes 24/7 live support. Premier Checking customers also receive free access to EZShield® ID Protection Plus – an even more powerful suite of protection services. These services provide a critical added layer of security that will save you time, money and the endless frustration that accompanies identity theft.
We introduced three new credit cards that offer competitive rates and features. Whether you prefer a more favorable interest rate or stronger rewards on purchases, Ridgewood has the right credit card for you.
The Bank just launched a no-fee personal loan that you can use to pay for a vacation, wedding, debt consolidation, home or car repairs, or whatever life may send your way. With no origination fees or prepayment penalties, quick funding, simple terms, low rates and online application, the new Ridgewood Personal Loan is a great example of how we’re working hard to make banking easy for you.
The Bank has been enhancing the product line for our small business customers as well. With dedicated and localized customer service and product solutions growing in scope and sophistication, Ridgewood has everything a small business needs to achieve your financial goals.
Ridgewood continues to focus on the future to bring you the latest products, services and delivery channels, while remaining deeply rooted in a tradition of personalized service. Our employees know you and welcome you with a smile and a cup of coffee. We’re pleased to see that you are noticing our efforts. Our mobile app has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 on both Google Play and iTunes and we’re proud to be rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
For 98 years and counting, we have continued to invest in our communities. A total overhaul of our Glendale branch was completed in 2019, with modern amenities and a community meeting space to be used by not-for-profits, civic organizations and community groups. We also celebrated the golden anniversary of our Franklin Square branch, and held customer appreciation events at both locations.
Ridgewood’s strong community involvement continued on many levels in 2019. The Bank financed over $190 million in affordable multi-family housing and mixed-use properties and invested an additional $12 million to help build, rehabilitate and provide safe and affordable housing for lower-income New York residents. We continued to focus on providing financial resources and education in the communities we serve, conducting financial literacy workshops on topics such as buying a home, budgeting, saving and credit management, and reaching over 14,000 of your children in our local schools through our partnerships with the American Bankers Association and Junior Achievement.
Thanks to your ongoing support for and commitment to our Bank, 2019 was a strong year for growth. Our assets reached $5.8 billion, loans and deposits increased to $4 billion and $4.5 billion respectively, while net worth increased to $777 million. This growth in the Bank’s net worth will allow us to continue to invest in products and solutions aimed at prioritizing and strengthening our relationships with you, our customers. We are confident that by staying true to our traditional values while continuing to bring you modern solutions, Ridgewood will continue to be the strong, secure bank that you have come to trust and rely upon.
On behalf of our Board of Trustees, and all the Management and Staff, 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 2020.
Chairman, President & CEO