Chris Martin, President and CEO of The Provident Bank, announced a series of initiatives designed to ensure broad access to credit and extend economic opportunity in the Lehigh Valley, one of the first markets the bank serves outside of New Jersey. The Iselin New Jersey-based bank, which acquired Team Capital in 2014, announced it will commit $100,000 per year to Neighborhood Partnerships in Bethlehem and Allentown. It also introduced a special mortgage product for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and an unsecured loan product for low- and moderate-income renters, amongst other commitments.
Martin detailed the new community reinvestment initiatives at a press conference organized by the Lehigh Valley’s community, housing and economic development organizations, both government and non-profit.
“We are anxious to make a difference here in the communities that so proudly make up the Lehigh Valley,” he said. “This community has character, resilience and pride. Those are assets in which we are excited to invest.”
The bank committed $50,000 per year for six years to Southside Vision 2020, a comprehensive strategy for strengthening south Bethlehem administered by the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem and chaired by Mayor Robert Donchez. Donchez thanked Martin for the vote of confidence in the Southside’s future. The bank also made a similar commitment of $50,000 per year for six years to a new Neighborhood Partnership Program proposed for Allentown and advised that it will provide further detail in a formal announcement later this spring. Both projects will be conditioned on approval of tax credits from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
Barbara Carrollo-Loeffler, Senior Vice President for Residential and Consumer Lending at Provident, reported on the bank’s mortgage program designed for first- time homebuyers, low- to moderate-income homebuyers and low- to moderate- income census tracts. David Evans, Executive Director of Housing Association and Development Corporation, welcomed the bank’s special mortgage product, saying that tighter credit resulting from the recession created new challenges to getting first-time homebuyers into homes. The Provident product “is a welcome antidote to this very difficult climate for first-time homebuyers,” he said.
The bank also announced that it would support regional efforts to create and grow local companies and attract companies to the region. It will invest $50,000 in The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, which supports micro- and small businesses and it will maintain its participation in the lending and trouble-shooting work done by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) to grow the region’s economy. Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC’s chief operating officer, praised the bank for its involvement, citing a recent study that indicated that among the region’s strengths is access to capital. “Provident Bank’s participation,” according to Tuerk, “ensures that the bank will play an important role in creating economic opportunity in our region.”
Alan Jennings, Executive Director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, thanked Martin for committing to what he called the “infrastructure” necessary to be an effective lender in the region.
The bank announced that June Webre has been named the bank’s regional president and that it will recruit Spanish-speaking staff to ensure it “speaks the language” of its market.
Jennings said that this infrastructure is the foundation on which effective community lending is done.
Provident Bank has $5.8 billion in deposits and 87 branches located in 13 counties in New Jersey and three counties in eastern Pennsylvania. Its acquisition of Team Capital gave the bank entry into the growing Lehigh Valley market.
About The Provident Bank
The Provident Bank, (www.providentnj.com) a member FDIC community-oriented bank offering “Commitment you can count on” since 1839, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS), which reported assets of $8.5 billion as of December 31, 2014. With $5.8 billion in deposits, The Provident Bank provides a comprehensive suite of financial products and services through its network of branches throughout northern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The Bank also provides fiduciary and wealth management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Beacon Trust Company.