Dear Community Bank of Bergen County, NJ Customers and Shareholders:
Over the course of the past few years the banking industry has experienced significant change - not only regulatory but consumer based. Customers want convenient banking options. They want to be able to engage directly via digital platforms. They want their banking information at their fingertips, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
That being said, customers still want the security of knowing that a bank branch exists for when they need to make meaningful financial decisions such as buying or renovating a home, saving for retirement, making large purchases, or growing a small business.
Today, our customers are looking for a blended banking approach - one that offers the best of the traditional and digital banking world.
As such, we have focused on delivering increased Internet-based and mobile products and services. In 2016, we launched the BankExpress Mobile Deposits app which offers a convenient and safe way for Bank customers to manage their deposits on-the-go allowing them to check account balances, make checking deposits, transfer money between CBBC accounts, pay bills, locate a branch or ATM and make payments through Popmoney. Our Online Mortgage Center continues to thrive, offering customers the opportunity to apply for a consumer mortgage, research rates, terms and products all through the Bank’s website.
In addition to innovating on the digital side, we are excited to announce our plans for branch advancement and expansion as we plan to renovate the Maywood office. The renovation will incorporate design features that will create a more relaxed customer atmosphere and provide a wide array of technology to enhance the branch experience for our clients. Traditional teller counters will give way to teller pods which will offer a more intimate setting for bank transactions. Additionally, the branch will feature a technology bar where clients will be able to sit down with a specialist to learn about CBBC’s digital products or conduct their electronic banking business.
Our branches are crucial, however, because they not only provide banking services to the community, but they have become a part of the community. Whether the Girl Scouts or local schools are using them for their concerts, or the towns are using them to kick off holiday festivities, or the Bank is using them to collect donations for local soup kitchens and charities or to host financial wellness programs - our branches serve the community. CBBC’s relevance in these neighborhoods is just another form of customer service that we strive to maintain.
As you can see, there’s so much that goes into creating a positive customer experience. Most important, however, is ensuring a financially sound banking institution.
We are happy to report that 2016 ended on a high note. Asset growth was up five percent year-over-year. We resolved more legacy problem loans, experienced strong improvement in our capital ratios and asset quality metrics and realized a 23 percent increase in stock price by year end. We expect that reducing problem assets will be a continued focus in 2017. In accordance with our commitment to enhancing the customer experience, we look towards further improving the Bank’s suite of online product and services.
We have great expectations for 2017 - a year full of new opportunities, growth, innovation and service to you, our customers
Peter A. Michelotti, CFP®
President & CEO