WEST ORANGE, NJ – Columbia Bank welcomed members of the West Orange community to celebrate the grand opening of its 51st branch located at 501 Pleasant Valley Way with a ribbon cutting ceremony last week after officially opening on Tuesday, June 18.
Operating branches exclusively in New Jersey for 92 years since 1927, Columbia Bank is known as a community bank, helping its consumers by offering what Thomas Kemly, President and chief executive officer of Columbia Bank, calls “local products for local people.” Some of those products include checking accounts with high-yield interest rates or checking accounts geared toward recent graduates that feature two years of free streaming subscriptions, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), and a Home Equity Line of Credit for consumers who want to consolidate their expenses to get started on dream projects.
“As a local bank, we want to be people-oriented, so you’re never going to come in here and just get a machine,” said Kemly, adding that Columbia prides itself on offering consumers a personalized experience with the ability to “talk to somebody about [their] bank and needs.”
According to Kemly, the West Orange branch is slightly larger than some of Columbia’s other recently opened facilities, which means that it is more modern but still has traditional features.
“For the more mature client who wants to meet the teller and wants to have the experience of their bank branch [or] for when the customer wants to engage with the bank more technically […] we have features [like] the app,” he said. “So, we tried to find a variant design [for this branch].”
Being a smaller bank allows Columbia to cater its products to its consumers’ needs as compared to larger banks like Chase or Bank of America, according to Matt Clements, Head of Sales and Product Senior Vice President for Columbia Bank.
Clements added that larger banks, which appeal to the mass market, do not compare to local banks like Columbia because “as a general rule, we know the people who walk into our branches.”
“If we don’t, we get to know the people that walk in our branches over time,” he said.
Conceding with Clements’s statement, West Orange Branch Manager Angela Mattina added that she loves Columbia Bank because the bank will do “anything to fit into the community.”
“I have staff who, when you walk in, will greet you,” said Mattina. “We know you; you're not like a number.”
In addition to servicing the needs of consumers, Kemly added that the bank is heavily involved in supporting local organizations that are important to the community.
“We try to do a lot of volunteering and try to do donations to support the community,” said Kemly.
In order to support the community, Columbia Bank will donate $10 to one of five local charities or community organizations for every new checking or savings account opened at the West Orange branch.
These organizations include the Boys and Girls Club of West Orange, The South Mountain Reservation Conservancy, the Turtle Back Zoo, the West Orange Education Foundation (WOEF), West Orange Scholarship Fund (WOSF) and the West Orange Public Library (WOPL).
On Aug. 31, 2019, the bank will begin counting the donations and will add $2,500, $1,000 or $500 to the top three organizations that receive the most donations.
“We’re thrilled to be in West Orange,” said Kemly, adding that West Orange is “a beautiful community” and that with all the new businesses coming into the township, West Orange is a “good match” for the new branch because Columbia specializes in “small business lending.”
Kemly also explained that Columbia Bank is expanding its branches to better serve the needs of its growing consumer base.
With a valuation of approximately $7 billion, Columbia is continuing to grow throughout the state as New Jersey’s fourth-largest bank while currently occupying only 10 counties.
The West Orange location is now the third expansion made in Essex County since last year, after openings in Livingston and Newark.
“We opened in Newark earlier this year, we opened in Livingston about a year ago and now this branch, so we’re continuing to expand through the county,” said Kemly.
Columbia also recently acquired Atlantic Stewardship Bank, which has 12 branches throughout northern New Jersey.
“We want to keep our local feel and the ability to engage our clients locally; but as we get bigger, it allows us to do bigger and better things, especially on the business side,” said Clements, stating that as their clients’ companies grow, it also becomes more difficult to serve their needs. “We want to continue our growth path so we’re able to truly service all of our commercial clients as they continue to grow.”
To learn more about Columbia Bank and the products and services that it offers, visit www.columbiabankonline.com. All offers mentioned in this article are exclusive to the West Orange branch.