Archive for May, 2011

Interchange Bill – Why Should I Care?

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Our financial system and the broader economy depend on a proper balance of capitalistic endeavors and government regulation. Over the last several years, we’ve witnessed what can go wrong when that balance is tilted too far to one extreme… Equally damaging, however, is the continuous seesawing between regulation designed to “keep things in check” to regulation that over-reaches in search of potential problems in our financial system. The Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Bill is just that.

This regulation, if enacted, would basically create price controls on debit interchange fees, meaning that it would force banks to offer debit cards at prices below what it costs banks to operate.  

If this sounds unreasonable to you, that’s because it is….

If you are asking “why should I care?” then you should know that the cost of your banking services will increase dramatically if this is implemented. The convenience of using a debit card is not disputed… Think of every time your checkout line has been halted in the past by someone writing a check… Would you trade the convenience of using your debit card and return to the days of going to the bank to cash your check? Or stopping at an ATM more often to refill your cash supply?

The Durbin Amendment will force banks to either restrict the usage of debit cards, or charge for other now free products, like checking, in order to pay for this convenient system… Who loses? You, the consumer. Who wins? The merchants, in one of the largest transfers of revenue in the history of our banking system. Why are we doing this? No one really knows for sure…

So as you read about this brawl in the newspaper and think that it does not affect you, think again…You might want to let your U.S. Senator know that price controls generally do not function, and in the end, the unintended consequences usually hurt those that were intended to be helped…

Fastest Growing Bank in NJ Reports Solid Top-Line & Bottom-Line Growth for First Quarter 2011

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Focusing on our core values of being “a better place to be” and serving as a catalyst for our clients’ success, we have continued our pattern of strong growth and meaningful profit. Our first quarter results demonstrate solid performance and consistent capital formation:

  • Assets increased from $523 million in the 1st Qtr ‘10 to $631 million
  • Loans increased from $406 million in the 1st Qtr ‘10 to $525 million
  • Net income before payment of our Preferred Stock Dividend increased from $953 thousand in the 1st Qtr ‘10 to  $1.5 million
  • Quarterly Earnings per Share increased from $0.38 in the 1st Qtr ‘10 to $0.63
  • Book Value per Share increased from $13.61 in the 1st Qtr ‘10 to $15.76

This strong, stable and consistent growth performance has gained the attention of those who follow financial institutions.  Recently SNL Financial, one of the most respected Financial Analysts in the nation, published their annual “100 Best Performing Banks from $500 million to $5 billion in the Country.” I hope you are as proud as I am that NJCB was named as one of the nation’s “Top 5” best performing banks.

We continue to seize on the opportunities that are presented as the National Banks struggle to fix their balance sheets and in many cases discard many good business clients due to homogenized lending practices and nationwide decision making. Our ability to compete has only been strengthened by our relentless focus of providing superior customer service along with offering the finest set of products in the industry.

Even though the economy has stabilized to some degree, we continue to see weakness from the demand side of the equation. Borrowers continue to struggle in these uncertain times and, as a result, we continue to manage our portfolio in a conservative and stable manner.  While we have seen no significant loan impairments to date, we continue to prudently increase our reserves to keep us in great shape, even if we find ourselves with additional non-performing loans in the future. Although we do not expect any significant losses from our loan portfolio, leaning into the wind appears to be the smartest course of action.

For more information please see our website at https://njcb.com or click here for a link to our First Quarter Report