When thinking of an organization that gives back to society, raises money for causes and co-sponsors events that bring the community together, one might assume such an organization is a local charity of some kind. And when thinking of a bank that offers great customer service, advanced technology and a wide variety of banking options, one might imagine a large national brand with hundreds of branches across the country.
But one business, born in Bayonne, has reached its hand out to over 20 different locations from the Meadowlands to Monmouth County. It brings the elements of “local” and “bank” together to create something that is a benefit to the community, to the economy and to all of its customers.
BCB Community Bank has been proudly providing individuals, businesses and nonprofits with invaluable banking services since 2000, and along the way has tirelessly given back to the communities that access those services. It has uplifted a variety of social, cultural, health and other community causes, including efforts to help military veterans, senior citizens, disabled people, children and the hungry.
“What you give to BCB, BCB gives back,” says Thomas Coughlin, President and CEO of the bank. According to Coughlin, the bank partners with several organizations throughout its branches, including Meadowlands branches in Rutherford, Lyndhurst and, most recently, Lodi to co-host fundraisers, health and wellness events, cultural events and more.
BCB was recently recognized by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji for its contributions to the South Asian and Indian-American communities of New Jersey. In addition, Jersey City
Council President Roland R. Lavarro, Jr. presented Coughlin with official recognition for the bank’s contributions to the city, which is home to another one of its branches. This is just a fraction of the impact BCB has had.
“Born from the community, BCB remains committed to the well-being of those we serve,” states the company’s website, which describes BCB’s banking style as “grassroots community banking.”
“As we have grown, our community support has remained rooted in our local communities and includes support for education, disease prevention and awareness, food pantries, those with special needs, veterans, the military and neighborhood recovery from natural disasters.”
From roots to branches
BCB Community Bank began as the dream of a group of businesspeople in Bayonne who saw the need for a new community bank, according to Coughlin. The first location, called Bayonne Community Bank, was opened in
Bayonne in November 2000 and in June 2009, with three branches of its own in Bayonne and Hoboken, BCB acquired Pamrapo Savings Bank, opening 10 new branches and extending its “footprint” to Monroe and Jersey City.
BCB further grew, branching out into South Orange and Woodbridge after acquiring Allegiance Community Bank in April 2011—and also growing outside of New Jersey by opening two branches in Staten Island and a loan production office in New York City. In the past year, the bank has been growing organically, says Coughlin, opening up six new branches in Lyndhurst, Lodi, Edison, Carteret, Holmdel and Union. With plans to open its newest branch in Maplewood later this year, BCB will have a total of 23 branches by 2018.
“We take great pride in investing in businesses to help them grow and helping people achieve their dreams of homeownership and financial security,” Coughlin said at the most recent branch opening in Union this February. As of this writing, there are a total of 40,000 accounts across all of BCB’s branches. BCB also has a total of over 350 employees.
“Part of our mission statement is to grow within the company,” Coughlin says. “We constantly are training our employees to get to that next level. BCB prides itself in having an internal training room and trainer to help our employees exceed and succeed.
A bank that gives back
“I’m very proud that our employees all have that same passion that the founders had initially—giving back to the community as much as you can,” Coughlin says.“A few years back, we had a 5K race and the proceeds went to buy two all-terrain wheelchairs for two veterans. It changed their quality of life,” he recalls.
He also mentions that the bank has worked as a sponsor to provide service dogs to veterans with PTSD.
In addition to multiple charity causes, BCB supports recreational community activities and the arts, having recently co-sponsored the 10th Annual Woodbridge Charity Chili Cook Off and the 2017 St. George Theatre Red Carpet Gala.
A program currently run by BCB to support local nonprofits is the Pay It Forward program, which allows nonprofits banking with BCB who have
supporters with accounts to receive a quarterly donation directly from the bank based on how many supporters sign up. The program is free for both the nonprofits and their supporters, so Coughlin says it is an easy way to get community members and bank customers involved in helping the causes they care about.
“Just by signing a paper you can participate and help your favorite nonprofit,” he says.
The personal connection BCB has with members of its community, and the support it can offer through gestures both small and large make all the difference when it comes to fulfilling their mission of serving the community.
“We donated a swing for children with special needs, and the mom of the child sent a picture to us saying ‘My child’s never been on a swing,’” Coughlin recalls. The swing, at Kidspot in Rutherford, was the result of a collaboration between BCB Community Bank and Access for All, a diversity initiative and committee out of Bergen County. “It was just very heartfelt and it was great that [with] something as simple as that, we gave so much back to the community.”
Why bank with a community bank?
According to Coughlin, the answer to “Why bank with a community bank?” is “Why wouldn’t you bank with a community bank?”
“Because we are a community bank, we’re more flexible with the rates and with fees, and you get that one-on-one personal banking
experience,” Coughlin explains. “Our customers walk in and for the most part we know their name, we know their kids, we know where they work, we grew up with them—it’s fun.”
BCB offers a wide array of services, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, loan products for individuals and businesses, safety deposit boxes and notary. BCB is a participant in the Small Business Administration Preferred Lender Program, offering lower cost loans for small businesses to get started or expand through the SBA Loan Guarantee progra
m. Businesses with accounts at BCB have the further benefit of free advertisement on media screens at the bank’s locations.
The bank also offers many of the conveniences of larger national banks that some might not expect from local bank—including a 24-
hour ATM, drive-thru services, free-to-use coin redemption machines and a mobile banking app that allows account holders to check their balance and make deposits, transfers and payments all on the go. This is in addition to BCB’s online banking service, which allows individuals and businesses to manage their accounts through the internet. The bank even offers safe, convenient online domestic wire transfer services so clients can easily take care of their business needs.
“We have everything,” Coughlin says. “I think people don’t realize as a community bank we offer all the same services, products and technology as our larger competitors.”
With everything it has to offer, BCB is busting myths about local, community banking—and building its own legend in the process.