Ridgewood Savings Bank celebrates 100 years of service, new renovations to main office

Local lawmakers and bank employees celebrate 100 years of service and renovations to the main building in Ridgewood. (Photo by Julia Moro)

Ridgewood Savings Bank recently renovated its 10,000-square-foot space to adapt to the growing community after celebrating 100 years of service.

Many local officials and bank employees attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 20, to unveil the bank’s newly renovated main branch, located at 71-02 Forest Ave. in Ridgewood.

The bank was founded in 1921 and serves as the largest savings bank in New York state, with $6 billion in assets. Ridgewood has 35 branches across New York City as well as Yonkers, Westchester and Long Island. 

The redesign included dedicating 1,400 square feet to the digital banking division and cosmetic retouches to floors and walls. The bank also cleaned and restored its mural painted by Angelo Magnanti in the 1930s with the inscription, “Saving is the Secret of Wealth.”

Leonard Stekol, chairman, president and CEO of Ridgewood Savings Bank, has been working for the bank for 30 years and said when he started, there were many more people visiting the branch in person. But he said the bank has adapted to optimize its online banking system, ATM network and call center.

Celebrating Ridgewood Savings Bank’s grand reopening are (left to right) John Hennessey, main branch manager; Celik Alphonso, assistant manager of main office; Yarisa Baez, branch manager of Crosby Branch; Leonard Stekol, president, CEO and chairman; Anthony Simeone, executive vice president. (Photo credit to Ridgewood Savings Bank)

Ridgewood Savings Bank works to be an active member of the community. The bank has donated over $29 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans for local businesses, helping to protect almost 5,000 jobs last year. They also sponsor local events as well as teach financial literacy all over the city. 

“We sponsor community events, concerts, just so many different events in our neighborhood,” Stekol said. “We’re looking forward to days we can continue to gather and sponsor some of these events that are coming back.”

The bank made it to the Forbes best-in-state banks list in 2021. 

“With the reopening of our main office and branch, Ridgewood continues to make it possible for hopes and dreams to be realized,” Stekol said. “Customers can rely on us for their banking needs and the modern digital services we offer to make their lives easier.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assembly member Jenifer Rajkumar attended the ribbon-cutting, noting the extraordinary service Ridgewood Savings Bank offered for 100 years. 

“Having a business not only survive for 100 years, but to thrive and continue to grow is a rarity in this day and age,” Addabbo said. “Ridgewood Savings Bank started with humble beginnings and has evolved into an award-winning bank with a real commitment to the community. It is that dedication to their customers and their community that have kept this bank going.”

The bank first operated out of a converted taproom at the intersection of Myrtle and Forest avenues. The original employees would tirelessly hand out flyers to residents encouraging them to keep their savings at the Ridgewood Savings Bank. The bank stood the test of time, surviving the Great Depression and stock market crash of 2008.

“The main branch reopening is a testament to our history and resilience — a resilience that has been tested like never before,” Rajkumar said. “I know Ridgewood Savings Bank will continue to be a force for good in New York City for the next 100 years.”