Dear Community Bank of Bergen County, NJ Customers and Shareholders:
As we reflect on 2015, it is impossible to ignore the significant technological advancements that the Bank realized.
We experienced a full year of our Online Mortgage Center which has helped streamline the application process and created a more convenient option for our customers. We launched the BankExpress mobile application which allows customers to manage their banking while on the go - another advancement that made sense for our customers but also a relevant need for today’s banking industry.
We have grown so much over these 88 years. We have invested in adapting to the market, to our customers’ needs and to technology which, of course, is ever-changing. It is important that we continue to make strides to ensure CBBC meets the needs of its busy customers; who don’t have time to come into the Bank branches; and who desire to quickly and efficiently bank when and where it is convenient for them. As such, we are committed to offering innovative banking solutions and an optimal banking experience. Rest assured we have some very exciting advancements in the works in 2016.
In addition to technology, smart and sound financial growth remains a priority. We are very pleased with our 2015 annual results. They exceeded our expectations with increases in loans of $8,664,000, and a significant increase in deposits of $23,181,000, largely attributed to the new public funds deposits acquired during the year. These numbers were the result of executing the Bank’s growth strategy according to plan, despite an extremely competitive local banking environment. That being said we are cautiously optimistic for 2016 as we continue to resolve our legacy problem assets. We, however, remain focused on improving our core operating earnings and maintaining organizational efficiencies which have so far been very effective in sustaining and creating growth for the Bank.
We grew our tangible book value per share to $16.03 and improved our return on assets and return on equity. The bank still remains “well capitalized” as defined under all regulatory guidelines. Our common stock price ended the year at $11 per share which was an increase of 16 percent from a year ago. Our stock continues to trade at a significant discount to tangible book value.
Our community will always be near and dear to us; it is the backbone of our organization. From participation in street fairs, to hosting shred days, to sponsoring food drives, our branches were very busy serving the community in 2015.
In fact, we added two new initiatives this year. In May, the Maywood branch hosted a Home Advice Expo enlisting the Maywood property inspector, a local contractor and a local real estate agency to answer questions from home buyers and homeowners. During the summer, we participated in the Homes for Veterans Family Fun Day in Harrington Park where CBBC provided the bounce house. Funds raised from this event went directly to help repair and create barrier free living space in the homes of disabled troops who have served in our armed forces.
We continued to support other of our hallmark community programs, specifically, Habitat for Humanity. This year, we sent ten of our staff members to restore two homes in Bergen County that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Our employees built a staircase and repainted a basement.
The Bank sponsored two educational seminars. The first, a three-part series focused on cyber scams, identity theft and elder financial abuse, which took place at Bergen Community College. The second was a free seminar geared towards business owners on the topics of cyber-crime and business continuity; this event took place at the Rochelle Park office.
We also delivered Thanksgiving baskets to the Daughters of the Majestic Temple #215 in Hackensack for 10 community families, and we donated $2,500 to the Radburn PTA fitness fund to help build a new playground for the elementary school.
After all is said and done, 2015 was a truly amazing year. Our technology offerings expanded, our financial standing grew, and our charity extended further into the community.
Here’s to continued growth in 2016.
Peter A. Michelotti, CFP®
President & CEO