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Brooklyn expansion, commercial lending eyed by Island Federal Credit Union

The Hauppauge-based institution's CEO said that the deal for Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union could lead to further branch openings in the borough and new lending on Long Island.

The headquarters of Island Federal Credit Union in

The headquarters of Island Federal Credit Union in Hauppauge. Photo Credit: Larry Dunn

Island Federal Credit Union's takeover of Brooklyn-based Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union is the first step toward further expansion in the competitive borough, Bret Sears, president and chief executive at Island Federal, said.

The deal will also help the Hauppauge-based credit union break into commercial lending on Long Island, he said.

Island Federal took over Bay Ridge on Oct. 1 and has converted the branch at 1750 86th St. into a full-service Island branch. It's the first branch in Brooklyn for Island Federal.

The 30 Bay Ridge employees have stayed on board at Island Federal and "they have a very good idea of where we can expand to next. They know the market, and they have the expertise," Sears said. 

Sears added that any near-term expansion in Brooklyn would "most likely" come from new branch locations, not another acquisition. 

Island Federal already has about 800 members who reside in Brooklyn.

"Those members date back to when we had a branch at KeySpan's offices in Brooklyn," Sears said. "But we closed that branch in 2011 when National Grid, which took over KeySpan, moved many of the employees to other locations. The members stayed with us, and did most of their banking with us remotely. Now they'll have a branch here."

Sears said the Bay Ridge takeover will help Island Federal do commercial lending. Bay Ridge has a commercial lending portfolio of about $100 million. 

"Their experienced commercial lending team will help us implement a business banking strategy on Long Island," Sears said. "As business dictates, Island will look to and expand the team on Long Island."

Island Federal isn't the only Long Island financial institution expanding in Brooklyn. For example, Glen Head-based First National Bank of Long Island has two branches in Brooklyn, including a Cobble Hill location it opened in May. The bank plans a third location in the borough by the end of the first quarter in 2019, said Michael N. Vittorio, the bank's president and CEO. He said the bank has a target of about 12 branches in Brooklyn "in time."

"There are a dramatic number of businesses in our target markets, which are small businesses, middle market businesses, professionals and consumers," Vittorio said. "It's an affluent, vibrant, diversified mix."

Island Federal has assets of $1.6 billion and nearly 50,000 members after the merger, with nine branches on Long Island besides the Brooklyn one.

Bay Ridge members will have access to Island Federal’s nine Long Island branches, over 75,000 surcharge-free ATMs and more than 5,600 shared branches nationwide.

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