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A High Level Of Personalized Service,
Accessible Management And Branches That Are Open Seven Days A Week, Separate
BCB Bancorp From The Competition In The Bayonne And Hoboken, New Jersey
Regional – Northeast Banks
104-110 Avenue C
Bayonne, NJ 07002
President and CEO
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – March 21, 2008
BCB Bancorp is a thriving community
bank that prides itself on hard work, friendly customer service and all the
conveniences of local banking. BCB has been servicing large and small
accounts for business and personal needs since its inception in November
2000. As of 2004, three branches are now available within Bayonne. BCB
continues to find ways of improving our services for an enjoyable and
hassle-free banking experience.
CEOCFO: Mr. Mindiak, what was the vision
when the bank was started and where are you today?
Mr. Mindiak: “The vision was for BCB
Bancorp to fill a niche in this marketplace that we believed was a little
underserved and probably a little ill served due to the manner in which
years of merger and acquisition activity had taken place. We believe this
had reduced the quality of community banking service to this market. From a
quantitative perspective, the implementation of our vision statement has
proven rather successful because in just under six years, we have become the
number one depository in our marketplace and we continue to grow on that
level. We thought that it was a good idea because of the M&A activity, to
open up a community bank that people felt comfortable dealing with the
Will you tell us a bit about the area you service?
Mr. Mindiak: “We are headquartered in
Bayonne, New Jersey. We have three offices in Bayonne and we recently opened
up a fourth office in Hoboken, New Jersey. Our primary marketplace is
Bayonne, with the secondary marketplace being Hudson County. Primarily we
deal with Bayonne, Jersey City and Hoboken. Because there was a light rail
line that was recently opened up between Bayonne and Hoboken, there is a
great amount of construction and development going on along that light rail
corridor because of its easy availability into downtown Manhattan.
Therefore, we have been able to take advantage of that opportunity by
providing financing to developers who have chosen to develop projects along
that light rail line.”
there a typical customer for you?
Mr. Mindiak: “I really don’t believe we
have a typical customer; each client has their different needs and
circumstances and we endeavor to do the best job we can to listen to their
requirements and develop a plan and a strategy for their personal needs that
addresses their concerns. Further, what we choose to do subsequent to
connecting with a client is we use varied forms of follow-up communication
to make certain that we stay connected with our clients and that their needs
are favorably addressed.”
you primarily deal with business accounts?
Mr. Mindiak: “We are chartered as a
commercial bank, and we obviously would like to get more commercial deposits
as they are of no cost from an interest perspective. We see ourselves as a
bit of a blend of a thrift and a commercial bank, and again we are chartered
as a commercial bank. Our primary competition, in town, are two thrifts.
Other members of the executive management and I primarily have thrift
experience because we came from a thrift that was acquired back in 1999.
Primarily we are a commercial bank and our product menu reflects that.”
do you reach new customers?
Mr. Mindiak: “Service. All financial
institutions whether they are a thrift, savings bank or commercial bank, for
the most part offer the same products. In addition, exclusive of a rare
exception with a special going on, pricing remains relatively competitive.
However, it is our level of quality, personalized service that we believe
distinguishes us from other banks. We are also opened seven days a week over
seventy hours a week. Executive management accessibility and availability to
our customer base, we believe, separates us from our competition. We have a
very young, active and aggressive board of directors who constantly refer
business to the company and we do our best to make sure that we take care of
our clients needs. Word-of-mouth and our reputation has also helped us
attract additional clientele.”
Please give us an example of what you might do that is above and beyond what
one would find at a typical bank.
Mr. Mindiak: “One of the things we do is
we have armed security guards at the bank at all of our offices during the
hours the bank is open. When we opened the bank we chose not to go with the
large Plexiglas bulletproof windows in front of the tellers; we thought that
took away from the personality of the company. To combat that we decided
that we would hire armed security guards every hour that the bank is open.
We find it to be very successful. Our clients very much appreciate it as
well as our employees; they know that we highly regard their security and
that is only one of the litany of things that we do to be different than our
you find that many of your commercial customers take more of your services
and do some of their personal banking with you as well?
Mr. Mindiak: “We try to wrap them up
both personally and professionally. To a great degree, we have succeeded
along those lines. Most of the commercial clients that we have also do their
personal banking with us as well.”
Will you be opening additional branches?
Mr. Mindiak: “We just recently opened up
an office in Hoboken and that was our fourth office, but the first office
out of Bayonne. We opened that in May of 2007 and we continue to explore
opportunities elsewhere in surrounding communities. We believe that at this
point in time it has to be synergistically viable for us to look at branch
expansion. We are not just going to branch for the sake of branching. We
will do our due diligence and our research prior to engaging in another
office outside the city of Bayonne.”
there new services that you are planning to offer?
Mr. Mindiak: “From a product perspective
we have a product menu that rivals our competition. From a service
perspective we are always looking to develop new services and primarily that
is predicated on conversations and communication we have with our commercial
clientele; what they are seeing, what they would like, what would help them
run their business better. We like to listen to them and try and adapt our
services to their needs so that when a competitor comes along and tries to
offer them something we can say to them that we offer that as well, and we
hope to do it better than our competition.”
Does the current interest rate have any affect on BCB?
Mr. Mindiak: “Obviously with the Fed
easing a total of 125 basis points over the last two weeks, we are examining
our rate structure at this time to come up with a competitive pricing
structure that we believe will continue to attract business to the company.
Having said that, the normalization of the yield curve now should help all
financial institutions in the long-run increase our spread and margin to the
degree that we continue to enhance our profitability.”
online banking a big feature for BCB?
Mr. Mindiak: “Online banking is a
product that we offer, but Bayonne tends to be a somewhat traditional
marketplace so for our direct clientele in the city of Bayonne; it is not as
much of a product that they utilize as we see elsewhere. For example, our
new office in Hoboken is in a much different marketplace and our customers
there utilize online banking much more often, although, we do continue to
assist our clients and attract them to online banking because it is
obviously the wave of the future.”
What do you look for in your employees?
Mr. Mindiak: “One of the things that we do
is we try to be very circumspect and diligent in the hiring process. We try
to select individuals we believe are the most knowledgeable and most
experienced bankers that we can attract to the company. We believe that if
we do our job from an executive management perspective in hiring the right
people, then we don’t need to be task masters in standing over those people
making sure they do their job. If we have done our job and hired the best
people, we know that they will do their job and service our clientele to the
best of their ability.”
What about community involvement for the bank?
Mr. Mindiak: “Members of executive
management, many members of our staff and I, are involved in a number of
civic and community organizations, giving our time and effort to help
various organizations in the community. I serve on several boards, the
Medical Center Board, as well as a local catholic grammar school board and
other members of executive management serve on boards as well just to bring
our expertise and our assistance to the community to continue to help it to
What is the financial picture of BCB?
Mr. Mindiak: “We have not released
earnings yet for 2007, so that should be coming out in the next week or two.
We are operating in a challenging environment. Asset quality has now taken
over as the number-one priority for many financial institutions and we are
no exception to that. That is one of the things that we believe and we know
that we will be concentrating on in 2008 and for the near future is to try
to work with our clients as much as we can and to continue a process of
quality and judicious underwriting to make sure that we underwrite quality
closing, why should potential investors choose BCB out of the crowd?
Mr. Mindiak: “From a macro perspective,
community financial institutions have suffered the fate of the sector with
reduced multiples taking their tolls on trading values despite not
encountering the same issues as our larger competitors. From our specific
perspective with no exposure to sub-prime, Alt-A or private label mortgage
backed securities, our asset quality remains strong. Further, we continue to
exhibit the capacity for organic growth on both sides of the balance sheet
and the opening of our newest office in Hoboken has allowed us to enter new
markets and expand our footprint while bringing our quality service to a new
dynamic market. In a challenging environment, we have been able to maintain
competitive profitability and operating ratios while exhibiting the capacity
of increasing our cash dividends by approximately 29% during the last twelve
months. Hopefully as we continue to manage this challenging operating
environment we will continue to find ways and implement initiatives that
have the capacity of increasing franchise and shareholder value.”
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