Press Release
January 29, 2019

FINANCIAL SERVICES SUPERINTENDENT MARIA T. VULLO ANNOUNCES THE APPROVAL OF A NEW BANKING DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT IN THE HAMLET OF BRIDGEPORT TO EXPAND ACCESS TO FINANCIAL SERVICES TO UNDERSERVED NEW YORK COMMUNITIES

New Banking Development District Will Be Established in Bridgeport, New York Through the Department’s Approval of a New Branch of Seneca Savings

Under the BDD Program, Seneca Savings Will Receive Financial Incentives to Establish, Expand and Preserve Access to Banking Products and Services to Benefit Consumers and Small Businesses in Onondaga and Madison Counties

Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has approved the Hamlet of Bridgeport, partially located in both the towns of Sullivan (Madison County) and Cicero (Onondaga County), as a new Banking Development District (BDD).  The approved district, and the approved establishment of a new branch of Seneca Savings in Bridgeport, New York, will expand access to local and affordable banking products and services for underserved consumers and small businesses in the community, where the next-closest bank branch is nearly six miles away from the BDD.  Today’s BDD approval marks the eighth BDD designation during Superintendent Vullo’s three-year tenure.

“Today’s approval, under New York State’s BDD Program administered by DFS, underscores our commitment to expanding access to banking services to underserved communities and small businesses across the state,” said Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo. “By ensuring that viable banking products are available to individuals and small businesses, more and more New Yorkers in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods will be able to build secure financial futures.  By expanding the BDD Program, the Department has also taken important steps to provide alternatives to predatory lending products which we vigorously combat in New York.”

Joseph Vitale, President and CEO of Seneca Savings, said, “We are excited to partner with DFS to expand access to banking services and products in Bridgeport.  We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the Banking Development District program.  We are excited for the opportunity to provide full banking services to an underserved area and look forward to becoming involved in the community. As all small community banks do, our number one priority is to provide excellent service. We will continue to foster that in this new location.”

New York State’s Banking Development District program, administered by DFS, is designed to encourage the establishment of bank branches in areas across New York State where there is a demonstrated need for banking services.  To encourage bank participation in the BDD program, $10 million in subsidized public deposits and other benefits are made available to banks that open or maintain a branch or improve products and services offered in an underserved community.  Banks that successfully apply for a BDD designation are eligible to receive below-market-rate deposits from the State of New York.  These deposits are intended to lower the financial risk that the branch may incur when opening in an underserved community.

John Becker, Supervisor of the Town of Sullivan said, “It is a pleasure to work with the New York State Department of Financial Services, as well as Seneca Savings to get Bridgeport deemed a banking development district. It shows the great collaboration between, Town, State, and private sector banking working together for the greater good of our community here in the Town of Sullivan.”

Approximately 24% of Bridgeport’s population age is 60 years and over and 33.2% of households receive food stamps/SNAP. Many residents do not own vehicles and there are no other banks and credit unions within six miles.  The new BDD in Bridgeport will allow a new branch of Seneca Savings, which will be located at 584 Route 31, to provide access to needed products and services for the community, including low-cost bank accounts, access to credit and capital, expedited decision-making on loan applications, and affordable and accessible mortgage products.

The bank also plans to provide financial education on topics that meet the needs of the residents of the BDD, especially for school-age children and homebuyers, including banking basics, establishing and building credit, budgeting, financing higher education, first-time homeownership, and financing home renovations and improvements.

For more information on the Banking Development District Program, please see here.

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