Van Nest bank makes ‘cents’

Will a new bank change Van Nest? You can bank on it.

It appears that Van Nest, bank-less for years, has finally found a financial institution to set up shop in the neighborhood.

On Monday, December 14, Senator Jeff Klein welcomed local leaders, Community Board 11 members and bank representatives to St. Dominic’s School for what they called a “Van Nest Community Banking Needs Roundtable.”

Klein got involved because the bank search “is very important to the community,” he said. Representatives from Cross County Federal Saving Bank, New York Community Bank, Carver Bank, Apple Bank for Savings, City National Bank, Ridgewood Saving Bank, Capitol One, TD Bank and Chase attended the roundtable.

Based on 2000 United States Census data, nearly 70 percent of Van Nest’s 14,242 resident are 18 or older, Klein explained. Roughly 44 percent of Van Nest residents are moderate-income earners – people who need mortgages, auto loans and tuition loans.

Business owner Bob Ruggiero, president of the Morris Park Alliance, described Van Nest businesses as “vibrant” and promised that any bank would do well to set up shop in the neighborhood.

“We're a thriving community and an old community,” Ruggiero said. “But we’re forced to go outside our community to bank. A bank would help our business alliance, which is looking to [establish] a Business Improvement District and to apply for the Main Street grant.”

Diane Dixon of the New York State Banking Department informed the roundtable that Van Next could apply to be designated a Bank Development District. The BDD program rewards banks that enter neighborhoods in need. There are currently five BDDs in the Bronx.

Following the roundtable, Klein and community leaders met privately with Cross County, which expressed interest in Van Nest on the condition that it be designated a BDD.

Community Board 11 passed a motion on Thursday, December 17 to send a letter to the Banking Department in support of Cross Country’s application.

Ruggiero thanked Conti’s Pastry Shop, Riviera Ravioli & Pasta Co., Inc, and Marco’s Salumeria Leone for catering the roundtable.

Reach reporter Amanda Marinaccio at 718 742-3394 or

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