Governor Cuomo Announces Approval of First-Ever Long Island Banking Development District to Help Underserved Consumers

Under BDD Program, Brentwood Community Banks Will Receive Financial Incentives to Expand and Preserve Access to Banking Services for Consumers.

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Brentwood, NY -February 28, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the approval of the Brentwood neighborhood in the Town of Islip (Suffolk County) as a Banking Development District (BDD) – the first-ever BDD on Long Island. This BDD designation for Brentwood provides financial incentives – such as the potential deposit of state funds in area institutions – to help expand and preserve access to retail banking services for unbanked and underbanked consumers in that community.

“Being able to get a bank account or a loan can make a world of difference for a family trying to responsibly manage their finances,” said Governor Cuomo. “Expanding access to financial services can help provide New York families with better tools to save for a rainy day, put their children through college, or buy a home.”

Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, said: “Unbanked New Yorkers often find themselves relying on check cashers or predatory payday lenders, which can take a big bite out of their paychecks. Expanding access to low-cost checking and savings accounts can help give those families a greater opportunity to build secure financial futures.”

The Town of Islip and New York Community Bank (NYCB) jointly applied for Brentwood's BDD designation. Brentwood – a majority Hispanic community – is underserved by traditional banking services. It has fewer banks per capita than most other Suffolk County neighborhoods, despite being the county’s most densely populated area. As a result, many residents rely primarily on check cashers or other money transfer agents.

In its joint application with the Town of Islip, NYCB stated that this BDD designation will help that bank continue operations at its Brentwood branch and expand its services. The proposed new services outlined in NYCB's BDD application include starter savings accounts that require as little as one dollar to open as well as checking accounts with no minimum balances. The BDD designation will also allow the branch to preserve existing services such small business loans and business checking and savings accounts.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “This is welcome news for the residents of the Brentwood community. I commend Governor Cuomo for pulling together resources allowing access to loans and credit to dramatically improve the quality of life for Brentwood residents.”

NYCB also plans to work with various community organizations to provide financial education programs for residents and businesses within the BDD, in addition to small business training and workshop programs.