Laurelton community members and leaders joined the leaders of Ridgewood Savings Bank to celebrate the reopening of one of its most storied branches in the area with a a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The branch — located at 230-22 Merrick Blvd. — originally opened 75 years ago, in 1948. At the time, it was just the third Ridgewood Savings Bank branch. Now, after undergoing renovations, the bank is once again open for business.
“The milestone is a true testament of enduring partnership between the institution and the incredible people of this community,” Ridgewood Savings Bank President and CEO Leonard Stekol said. “As we celebrate the 75 years in Laurelton, I want to assure you that this is just not a moment of reflection, but a promise for a great future. We’re committed to evolving with the times, embracing innovation and above all, continuing to serve your financial needs with the same level of dedication and reliability that defined our legacy.”
Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers emphasized the importance of the staying power of Ridgewood Savings Bank over such a long period of time.
“At at time when we see banks closing and changing the model, going more to online services, we know just how important and critical it is to have banks that still believe in investing in brick and mortar and understanding what that means in terms of the quality of the service that our community deserves,” Brooks-Powers said. “It’s been a staple in our community for quite some time now. Thank you for understanding the value of the Laurelton community by not only renovating but staying with us and continuing to provide stellar service to the residents here.”
Manager Maureen Thompson spoke about the community connection the branch has built over three quarters of a century.
“For 75 years this branch has been an integral part of the Laurelton community, serving generations of families, helping entrepreneurs realize their visions and supporting financial education for our neighbors,” Thompson said. “We’re not just celebrating our history, we’re celebrating all of you, the heartbeat of our community. Thank you all for allowing us to being a part of your lives and here’s to many years of success and collaboration.”
The office of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards presented the branch with a citation to commemorate the bank’s reopening and the impact it has had over the years on the community.
Community member Loucretia Jones, who has lived in Laurelton since 1972, was hand for the ceremony and spoke about the kind of impact that made Ridgewood Savings Bank deserving of this citation.
“It is such a pleasure to see what Ridgewood [Savings Bank] has done for this community,” Jones said. “We want to feel safe, we want our money to feel safe, when we need this bank we want to know that we can get to our car and be safe. I welcome the renovation, it’s a pleasure to come in and see this bank.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.