08/29/14 4:00pm
08/29/2014 4:00 PM

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Perhaps a 2005 flashback scene from Season 4 of the Netflix comedy “Arrested Development” depicted the lending market best. In it, actor Ed Helms, playing a realtor, tells two of the show’s main — and jobless, and nutty — characters that he can get them into a mansion through a new “NINJA loan.”

“No income, no job and no assets,” he says, to their delight.

It’s laughable now, but local experts say the depiction wasn’t far off for some lenders during the last decade. To be sure, NINJA didn’t mean banks actually wanted to lend money to people without income, jobs or assets. They just didn’t ask for verification.  (more…)

07/04/14 4:00pm
07/04/2014 4:00 PM
Bank employees and Supervisor Scott Russell (Center) celebrated the opening of Bridgehampton National  Bank's new location in Mattituck. (Cyndi Murray photo)

Bank employees and Supervisor Scott Russell (center) celebrated the opening of Bridgehampton National Bank’s new location in Mattituck. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

With hot dogs, ice cream and two supersized pairs of scissors, Bridgehampton National Bank employees celebrated the grand reopening with a ribbon cutting at its new Main Road location Thursday. (more…)

03/27/14 5:00pm
03/27/2014 5:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Bridgehampton National Bank Mattituck branch manager Deborah Orlowski and her employees will be moving into the former SCNB building on the Main Road in Mattituck this summer after it is remodeled.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Bridgehampton National Bank Mattituck branch manager Deborah Orlowski and her employees will be moving into the former SCNB building on the Main Road in Mattituck this summer after it is remodeled.

Call it the House that Orlowski Built.

After four years of growth at Bridgehampton National Bank’s shopping center branch in the Mattituck Plaza, the branch and its employees — including longtime Mattituck banker Debbie Orlowski — are moving across Main Road to the brick building recently vacated by Suffolk County National Bank.

“The exterior’s being worked on right now,” said Jim Manseau, who oversees all of the bank’s 26 branches from Montauk to Merrick. “The building was power-washed the other day. We’re going to seal and stripe the parking lot. And we’re doing some pretty decent renovations to the interior — new bathrooms, paint, rugs — an entire re-do.”

The company and landlord are just waiting on town building permits, he said. The plan is to open before the end of summer.

Mr. Manseau said the move was made possible because of how much the Mattituck branch has grown since hiring Ms. Orlowski from Capital One four years ago. She had worked for 38 years at North Fork Bank — back when it was called North Fork Bank and Trust Company and had just six branches — and Capital One before leaving in May 2010 for Bridgehampton.

“We’ve grown from $18 million to $55 million” since acquiring Ms. Orlowski, Mr. Manseau said.

Ms. Orlowski credits her success to the decades’ worth of relationships and trust she’s built with area clients.

“I started here May 3 of 2010 and it’s been wonderful,” she said. “I took a small branch that had been here for about 20 years and actually more than tripled the deposits. I’m kind of proud of that.”

Not much thought went into the decision to lease the building, Mr. Manseau said.

“We were contacted by someone after [Suffolk County National Bank] left and we said, ‘Absolutely,’<\!q>” he said. “We really believe in the Mattituck marketplace and that’s a great space, with plenty of parking and a drive-up window.”

The same staff customers have grown accustomed to in the plaza’s location, which has been in operation since 1992, will also make the move.

“The plan is, when the time comes, we’ll open Saturday in the shopping center and come Monday morning we’ll be open across the street,” Mr. Manseau said.

The 104-year-old Bridgehampton National Bank, which is based in Bridgehampton and just opened a Shelter Island branch last year, is getting ready to open a loan production storefront in Riverhead and is renovating its Southold and Sag Harbor stores, Mr. Manseau said.

The bank is also expanding its footprint to the west.

“We’re in Greenport, Shelter Island and Montauk, so you can’t go farther east,” he said. “But we want to continue to address our more mature marketplaces.”

Officials with Suffolk Bancorp, the parent company of SCNB, announced in November the branch would be closing by March, along with three other branches in Port Jefferson Station, Manorville and Montauk Harbor.

At the time, Suffolk Bancorp president and CEO Howard Bluver said the branches would close to make the bank more “efficient and nimble” and to protect the “best core deposit franchises.”

“Following these actions, we will continue to have the premier branch system in Suffolk County, consisting of 24 branches situated in key locations throughout the entire county,” Mr. Bluver said. He added that the locations were picked for closure following an analysis of the company’s branches by an outside consultant.

The Mattituck branch closed on Feb. 14 and the property, which had been owned by Suffolk Bancorp, was sold shortly thereafter, bank officials said this week.

11/30/13 8:00am
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Mattituck branch will close before next spring, bank officials said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Mattituck branch will close before next spring, bank officials said.

To the Editor: 

The Mattituck Chamber of Commerce is very saddened to hear about the closing of the Mattituck branch of Suffolk County National Bank.

SCNB has been in Mattituck for 26 years and plays a vital role in the community.

Janet Stewart, the branch manager, has been an incredible asset to the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce and, therefore, the entire Mattituck community. As both a general chamber and board member, Janet has strongly represented SCNB with enthusiasm, encouraging and educating on the importance of local banking and business within our small business community.

For 15 years, Janet has served as chairperson for the Mattituck Street Fair. She has worked tirelessly for years with dedication and an eye for improving the event and its profits, growing it into the Chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year and one of the most popular events on the North Fork. The event is also incredibly well-known and attended by vendors and visitors from all across Long Island, allowing tourism and small business to prosper with this promotion outside of our small North Fork region.

Janet’s enthusiasm spreads to her amazing staff, who, in turn, have also spent many hours of their own personal time volunteering to make sure local North Fork businesses (also their bank customers) are involved and well-represented each year at the event.

Janet and the staff at SCNB Mattituck have repeatedly represented their business with information and vigor at every event. Their easy and pleasant personalities, wit and knowledge of the industry have given Suffolk County National Bank a reputation of being Mattituck’s genuinely local bank.

With SCNB’s plans to push west in the near future, it seems the bank is leaving the people of the North Fork behind with only one branch, hence forgetting the people who helped build SCNB and sustain it through hard financial times.

The Chamber will not support a bank that does not feel Mattituck is important enough to maintain an office and current staff.

When the bank closes, so will the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce’s account.

We implore SCNB to reconsider this decision and offer the opportunity to present to the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce at a member meeting, should the company so wish.

Mattituck Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors

Brooke Dailey, President

11/07/13 5:14pm
11/07/2013 5:14 PM
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Mattituck branch will close before next spring, bank offiiclals said.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | The Mattituck branch will close before next spring, bank offiiclals said.

The Suffolk County National Bank branch in Mattituck will soon close its doors.

Suffolk Bancorp, the parent company of SCNB, will shut down the branch by March 2014 and will move to sell the land next year, said bank president and CEO Howard Bluver.

The Mattituck branch is one of four put on the chopping block Thursday in an effort to make the bank more “efficient and nimble” and to protect the “best core deposit franchises.”

“Following these actions, we will continue to have the premiere branch system in Suffolk County, consisting of 24 branches situated in key locations throughout the entire county,” Mr. Bluver said.

He said the company would save $2.4 million per year in expenses by closing the Mattituck branch, as well as locations in Port Jefferson Station, Manorville and Montauk Harbor.

Last month, SCNB closed branches in Water Mill and Middle Island; the Water Mill building is already under contract to be sold, earning the bank roughly $400,000 profit in the sale.

Mattituck’s branch will go on the market sometime next year, Mr. Bluver said.

The locations were picked for closure following an analysis of the company’s branches by an outside consultant, Mr. Bluver said. The bank will close the branches in stages, allowing the company to “talk to [its] customers on an individual basis” about the moves, he said.

Mr. Bluver also announced a new 544-square-foot branch staffed by three employees will be built in Garden City.

[email protected]

10/22/13 7:00am
10/22/2013 7:00 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Nancy Jacobs, VP and human resources director at Suffolk County National Bank.

COURTESY PHOTO | Nancy Jacobs, VP and human resources director at Suffolk County National Bank.

Laurel resident and Suffolk County National Bank executive Nancy Jacob was recognized recently as one of the top 50 most influential women on Long Island last week, an annual event that recognized the Island’s top professionals in government, education, finance and other fields.

Hosted by the Long Island Business News, Jacob – a vice president and the company’s director of human resources – stood out as the only North Fork resident to attract the honor this year.

Joe Gaviola, chairman of the board of Suffolk Bancorp and Suffolk County National Bank, highlighted Jacob’s role in the company as crucial during the bank’s recent restructuring, which included replacement or elimination of positions at every level.

According to Gaviola, “Nancy has played a vital role in not only managing the HR function during this difficult time, but heading up many additional projects and assignments required by our regulators.”

Jacob also serves on Riverhead Town’s Youth Bureau, as well as the Community Awareness Center.

02/23/13 5:00pm
02/23/2013 5:00 PM
SCNB COURTESY PHOTO | Howard Bluver

SCNB COURTESY PHOTO | Howard Bluver

Suffolk County National Bank finished out the 2012 fiscal year strong, earning $2 million in the fourth quarter. That figure also marked a big turnaround, as the bank, run by Suffolk Bankcorp, had posted a $1.7 million loss in 2011.

Hired in 2012 as Suffolk Bancorp’s president and chief executive officer, Howard Bluver credits his new team and the bank’s loyal customers for the earnings reversal.

Q. Suffolk made a quite a turnaround last year, particularly in the fourth quarter. What sparked that?

A. In 2012 we transformed our senior management team. They all have a lot of industry experience and are very industry savvy. So I think with the experience of that team we were able to do the turnaround much quicker …because they have been through it before.

The major strategy we used to sort of clean up our balance sheet was a bulk sale of non-performing loans combined with a capital raise. Suffolk was very concentrated in large commercial real estate development projects, which sort of went bad at the same time, and so when we sorted through the portfolio to figure out what we wanted to do, we isolated many of those larger relationships and chose to sell them in the bulk sale, so most of the under-performing loans that we sold were in the commercial real estate space.

Because institutional investors liked the management team and the history, we were able to raise more capital than we thought on much better terms than we thought. When you sell the loans quickly for much higher prices than you think and you raise more capital than you think you were going to be able to at higher prices, you can do things much quicker.

Q. How will the new loan-production office in Melville help promote growth?

A. It’s a logical expansion strategy for us. We’re already all throughout Suffolk, concentrated on the East End. Now, with that office, we will be able to concentrate more on western Suffolk and then into Nassau County… The main growth strategy here is to expand west, diversify our product set away from large concentrations on commercial real estate and then grow the loan portfolio over time. We were able to start doing that in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Q. How is competition among other banks? 

A. It’s intensely competitive and relentless. All banks are very hungry for assets, for loans that generate income. So every deal that we have, it’s highly competitive. And we’re fighting with other institutions, so it’s really tough out there.”

Q. What sets SCNB apart from other community banks? 

A. What we have going for us that most institutions don’t is we have a very low funding cost … because we’ve been in Suffolk County for 120 years we’ve developed loyal customers who have been with us thorough thick and thin, and many of them have checking accounts with us that are non-interest-bearing.

So 43 percent of our total deposits in our bank are in the form of non-interest-bearing checking deposit accounts, and when you have that high a percentage it means the amount of interest expense you are paying out to depositors is very low … In the fourth quarter,  for example, the total funding cost we had to pay depositors for their money was much less than 1 percent, so that means that since our cost of funds is so low we can be very competitive on pricing when it comes to loans.

Q. Why were you the right man for the job? 

A. When the bank got into trouble before 2012 … they decided to hire a consultant, and the consultant they hired was me. In the course of that consulting work, I got to know the board and the bank and its strengths, and the board got to know me and we sort of hit it off very well.

At the end of the consulting period, that’s when the board came and asked me to be CEO, and because I was here full-time as a consultant for six months I was able to hit the ground running. I didn’t have to learn anything; I had already learned what needed to be done so literally on Day 1 I knew exactly what I wanted to do. So I think I was uniquely positioned because of the consulting experience.

[email protected]

11/18/12 10:00am
11/18/2012 10:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Pam Green of Kent Animal Shelter.

Suffolk County National Bank has thrown its support behind the Kent Animal Shelter’s drive to build a new $2.5 million facility in Calverton by participating in the “Pause for Paws” campaign.

Three bank branches — at 6 West Second Street and 1201 Ostrander Avenue in Riverhead and 2065 Wading River Manor Road in Wading River — are inviting employees and customers to contribute money to the effort.

The banks will be selling paper paws to be displayed in their windows through to the end of the year. A white paw costs $1, $5 for a blue paw and a coral paw costs $10.

Money raising efforts for the new shelter have been under way for the past year and a half and about a quarter of the cost has been raised to date, according to shelter executive director Pam Green.

“The bank has been a supporter of the Kent Animal Shelter for many years and we are very happy to join with them in their ‘Pause for Paws’ campaign,” said Brenda Sujecki, SCNB vice president of marketing. “The shelter does tremendous work in finding homes for abused, homeless and abandoned animals and their low cost spay/neuter clinic is vital in helping control the pet population in our community.”

Kent has received state DEC permits for a new shelter and it about to submit plans to the Riverhead Town Board and the Suffolk County health department.

With plans for a major fund-raising push in 2013, Ms. Green hopes construction can get under way next year.

“We may not reach our goal by the time we break ground,” she said about the fundraising. “It will possibly be a phased project. We’re hoping when people see that it’s really going to happen, they’ll contribute.”