New York Community Bancorp officials formally opened their new Wyandanch branch Friday, the first free-standing bank to exist in the hamlet in about 20 years.
The 1,581 square-foot, four window bank, operated by New York Community’s Roslyn Savings Bank division, opened informally in December in Wyandanch Village, a complex of retail stores and apartments being built near the community’s rail station as part of the $500 million Wyandanch Rising downtown revitalization project.
With a population of 11,187, Wyandanch has only one banking facility, a two-window branch inside a supermarket, plus several check cashing and money transfer services. The state says that works out to a rate of 0.86 bank branches for every 10,000 people, compared with the average of 3.12 branches for all of Suffolk County.
Working with Babylon Town leaders, the state declared the economically stressed hamlet a Banking Development District — Long Island’s second after Brentwood, which also has a Roslyn Savings bank branch. Under legislation passed in 1998, that declaration permitted the state to deposit $10 million in the branch to help assure its success. The bank can lend or invest it as it would any depositor’s money.
Andrew Kaplan, New York Community’s executive vice president for retail products and services, said that, to keep the $10 million, New York Community is required under the state program to conduct outreach and financial education in the community for individuals and businesses, and to submit annual reports of those activities to the New York State Department of Financial Services.
“Financial inclusion, the ability for people to access banking products, services and financial literacy, is essential to the prosperity of a community,” Kaplan said before the ribbon cutting.
Town politicians said Citibank and Marine Midland bank left the 4.4 square mile community decades ago. New York Community is the largest Long Island-based bank based on assets and stock market value, with 257 branches in five states.