Tag Archive | "Suffolk County National Bank"

Suffolk County National Bank Announces Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Tags: , , , , ,


The Suffolk County National Bank (SCNB) announced starting November 7 and through Friday, November 23, SCNB will make a cash donation, as well as match donations made by SCNB employees, its customers and members of the community up to a total of $25,000 to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The Bank has set up an SCNB Hurricane Sandy Relief Account for the contributions. On November 23, the proceeds will be donated, along with SCNB’s match, to the American Red Cross, Hurricane Sandy: Help those in Need program.

The American Red Cross will be utilizing these funds to provide shelter, food, and other support to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The bank also indicated it will be cancelling its holiday celebrations, and putting those funds toward further charitable contributions.

“It’s difficult to think about celebrating when members of our communities are being confronted by major challenges and losses. At Suffolk, we feel that this is the right thing to do,” said Howard C. Bluver, President and Chief Executive Officer of SCNB.

Bluver added that if any clients are in need of relief, or to help rebuild, they should contact the bank.

To donate to the SCNB Hurricane Sandy Relief Account, please stop in any of the Bank’s 30 branch locations. You can access branch locations and hours at scnb.com. Contributions can also be mailed to SCNB, P.O. Box 9000, Riverhead, NY 11901. Checks should be made payable to: SCNB Hurricane Sandy Relief Account.

Attempted Robbery Suspect Found

Tags: , , ,


SCNB_adjusted


Today, Friday, January 14, Southampton Town Police Detective Division reported the arrest of Stella Vassallo, age 28, of Manorville after an investigation into an attempted robbery, which occurred at the Suffolk County National Bank in Watermill on December 31, 2010.

Police reports filed immediately after the incident indicated that bank tellerSunshine Gumbs was allegedly approached by the Vassallo, whom Gumbs reported walked up to the counter with her hands in her pockets, then handed Gumbs a note, which read: “Give me all your money.”

Police say Gumbs asked the woman if she was joking, then asked if she was carrying a gun. The woman then told Gumbs she did not have a gun, but added that she would get one and come back. The woman then left the bank, at which point Gumbs reported she locked the door and called the police.

Subsequently, Southampton Town Police say they received separate reports from two gas stations on CR 39 Southampton of a female who requested to purchase several hundred dollars worth of scratch-off lottery tickets and then left the store without paying after receiving them. According to police, the first instance occurred at the Gulf Station on County Road 39 on Sunday, December 31st at about 8:35 p.m. and the second instance occurred two days later on January 2, at about 7:30 p.m. Police detectives say investigation into these incidents concluded that this was the same female wanted for questioning in the Suffolk County National Bank incident, identified as Vassallo.

The investigation into Vassallo revealed that she was due to appear in 1st Distrcit Court in Central Islip on Thursday January 13th on unrelated charges. Town Police Detectives arrested Vassallo after her Court appearance. She was transported to Police Headquarters and held overnight for arraignment this morning at Southampton Town Justice Court. At arraignment, she was remanded to Suffolk County Correctional Facility in lieu of $52,000 bail.

Vassallo is charged with attempted robbery in the second degree, a felony, and two counts of petit larceny, a misdemeanor.

The Southampton Town Detectives Division is continuing their investigation. Anyone with any additional information concerning this incident or any other crime are encouraged to call the Southampton Town Police Detectives Division at 702-2230, or the Crime Tips Hotline at 728-3454. All information will be kept strickly confidential.

Attempted Bank Robbery: No Gun, No Money

Tags: , , , ,


By Claire Walla

On the afternoon of Friday, December 31 Southampton Town Police reports indicate a white female in her early 20s walked into Suffolk County National Bank (SCNB) on Montauk Highway in Water Mill and demanded money. However, she reportedly left the bank in an unknown direction before receiving any funds.

It is not clear whether or not the woman was armed, or what her mental or physical state was at the time of the incident.

As of Wednesday evening, police said they have still not identified a suspect.

However, police reports do indicate that bank teller Sunshine Gumbs was approached by the female suspect, whom police describe as having a medium build with dirty blond hair.

According to Gumbs’ testimony, the woman — who was allegedly wearing a navy-blue hooded sweatshirt, red sweatpants and tan-colored UGG-style boots — walked up to the counter with her hands in her pockets, then handed Gumbs a note, which read: “Give me all your money.”

Police say Gumbs asked the woman if she was joking, then asked if she was carrying a gun. The woman then told Gumbs she did not have a gun, but added that she would get one and come back. The woman then left the bank, at which point Gumbs reported she locked the door and called the police.

Police are not issuing any further information, as the case is still pending. Similarly, a spokesperson for SCNB said he could not comment on the matter, as it pertains to the security of the bank.

Southampton Town Police Sgt. Michael Joyce said this was the first attempted bank robbery in Southampton Town in recent memory. The last incident he recalled was a robbery at an HSBC Bank in Hampton Bays that occurred in September 2004. (The suspect in that case was located later that day when he showed up for an unrelated court date.)

Sgt. Joyce confirmed that the SCNB Bank in Water Mill has had no robberies or attempted robberies at least in the last five years.

Online Security Breach at Suffolk County National Bank

Tags: , , , ,


SCNB web 3

A hacker gained access to over 8,000 online passwords from customers of Suffolk County National Bank just prior to the holiday season, including members of the community that use the Sag Harbor branch.

On Monday, January 11, the company revealed the breach in a press release. According to the bank, Suffolk County National Bank (SCNB) “discovered through an internal security review that an unauthorized intruder accessed certain customers’ Log In information via the computer server hosting SCNB’s Online Banking system.”

According to SCNB, an investigation is ongoing and the unauthorized access occurred during a six-day period between November 18 and November 23. SCNB officials said 8,378 online banking customers were affected by the incident, amounting to less than 10 percent of the bank’s total customers.

According to Doug Shaw, a senior vice president at SCNB, not one customer has reported that their funds were used as a result of the incident and all 8,378 were notified immediately.

“To our knowledge, the information has not been used at all at this point,” he said on Tuesday.

According to SCNB, the company immediately took steps to isolate and rebuild the server the hacker gained access to. According to their press release, the company is also vigorously investigating the incident using forensic experts and has notified the New York State Consumer Protection Board, the New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure, as well as all law enforcement agencies in the area.

For those affected by the breach, who were notified via first class mail about the situation, the bank has offered two years of credit monitoring for free to ensure their monies are safe despite the industry standard of six months to one year.

“We value our customers greatly,” said Shaw. “And want to ensure their security and protection.”

Investors and shareholders in SCNB possibly will face a small price for the breach as the company advised them it would need “a provision of approximately $351,000, net of taxes, or about $0.04 per share,” was booked in 2009’s last quarter” to account for expenses involved.

According to Shaw, prior to the hacker SCNB has already implemented a plan to beef up online security and efficiency in its online banking system.

“In our particular case, before this occurred we were already in the process of migrating into a new banking system that has additional security features above the prior system,” said Shaw.

He said he expects the system to be launched in just weeks, although declined to give a specific date.

“We want to give better functionality to our customers,” said Shaw. “We always strive to provide the best services.”

In a statement released by the bank, the president and chief executive officer of SCNB, J. Gordon Huszagh said, “We understand that this kind of incident is a source of concern: both to our customers, even if their personal information is not misused; and to our shareholders for the expense incurred in response. We have responded to this incident as promptly, diligently and forthrightly as we know how, and will continue to do so until it is fully resolved. We apologize for the concern, and any inconvenience caused by this incident.”


Local Banks Get Personal and Win Big

Tags: , , , ,


On Wall Street, the future of the nation’s largest banks, from Citibank to Bank of America, remains uncertain as the Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to slide. On Main Street, however, community banks appear to be in better shape than their Wall Street counterparts. The future for Main Street banks like Apple Bank or Bridgehampton National Bank seems calm, and perhaps, even bright.
The steady course of East End based financial institutions can be attributed to the business choices they made in recent years. As larger institutions lent money to riskier borrowers and made more adventurous investments, local banks say they created realistic mortgages and invested conservatively.
“We maintained a credit standard when we looked at loans,” said Kevin Santacroce, a senior credit officer at Bridgehampton National Bank. “At Bridgehampton, we took the time to sit down with customers and [created] loans with the expectation of getting paid back . . . In the shorter term, it seems like we are hurting the people who weren’t accepted [for the loan], but in the longer term we are helping them avoid being in insurmountable debt.”
According to Doug Shaw, Senior Vice President of Suffolk County National Bank, lending conservatively was business as usual for community banks not just on the East End but nationally.
“Many community banks tended to their nettings,” said Shaw. “As a consequence they didn’t get involved in many of the financial instruments you hear about in the media . . . It isn’t just banks on Long Island, but across the country.”
Steve Bush, the Executive Vice President of Apple Bank, added that his company placed only 20% of their overall investments into mortgages.
Although many East End banks are publicly traded, Shaw added that these banks maintain close relationships with their customers and also feel responsible to these customers.
“Most community banks know their customers better than larger institutions. When you know your customer well, you know what it will take for them pay under any circumstances,” said Shaw.
A few years ago, as mortgages were sold from one institution to another, Sanatacroce said many banks lost sight of the customer and focused merely on making a profit from the transaction. At Bridgehampton National Bank, Santacroce said he has worked with a few customers who had trouble making payments. For people whose mortgages were sold from one company to the next, it is often hard to find a person to talk with about restructuring their payment schedule. “When they made the loan, they were [often] sold right away, so the person who they sat down with when the signed the loan isn’t the person they can go talk to,” said Santacroce.
As national financial institutions continue to go belly up, many local residents are taking their business to community banks. In 2008, business at Bridgehampton National Bank grew by $200 million, which was a record year for the publicly traded company. According to Santacroce, the company’s stock price remains relatively flat despite the volatile fluctuations of the market. Bush, of Apple Bank, said his bank netted a profit of almost $30 million last year.
Santacroced adde that Bridgehampton National Bank is still well capitalized, meaning it still has a great deal of money to lend.
Shaw of Suffolk County National Bank said community banks good standing in terms of capitol is a key reason people are switching to local banks.
“We have the ability to give them the kind of lending larger institutions simple cannot access [right now] because of their colossal losses,” said Shaw.
Local banks, however, have only recently had the upper hand in the banking world. Santacroce remembered almost ten to fifteen years ago people said community banks would be forced to close down as larger banks set up shop on the East End.
“I believe there will always be a place for smaller community banks,” said Santacroce. “People don’t realize that banking is a very personal relationship . . . Finances are personal . . . And people need the person-to-person type of relationship when they are talking to someone about their finances.”

A Wary Main Street Waits On Congress Bailout Vote

Tags: , , , , ,


As the nation waits with bated breath while the United States Congress takes another stab at a $700 billion bank rescue plan some government officials say is aimed at protecting the economy from virtual collapse, communities across the country are wondering how the mistakes made on Wall Street will change their way of life on Main Street in the coming year.

According to Congressman Tim Bishop, if the government sits idly by as credit and loan markets continue to shrink, and banks and investment houses fold, Main Street will undoubtedly feel the effects of the shaky economy in a major way and in some cases Main Street already is.

Last night, on Wednesday, October 1 the United States Senate was scheduled to vote on a new $700 billion economic bailout plan, and early reports showed strong expectations across party lines that the measure would pass. According to Congressman Bishop, the House of Representatives would then consider the bill today, Thursday, or Friday.

The expectations surrounding Wednesday’s vote echoed similar hopes on Capital Hill last weekend, prior to a defeated bailout bill in the House on Monday, 228-205 – a bill Congressman Bishop voted in favor of. On its face, the bill would have provided $350 billion to financial institutions, with another $350 billion available under Congress review. Following the House’s defeat of the bill the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 700 points, a historic decrease. Although the markets rallied on Tuesday with the news that Congress would take another stab at the economic recovery bill, Bishop said on Wednesday if something is not done to help stabilize the economy, Wall Street will not be the only ones affected by what follows, but our local Main Streets as well.

“I think the risk to Main Street is enormous if we do not fix this,” said Bishop. “People talk about this plan as a ‘Wall Street bailout,’ and what we are really trying to do is protect Main Street. Whether we like it or not, our economy is rooted in the credit markets.”

 Bishop said the East End of Long Island was not immune to the downturn in the economy, noting on Wednesday morning he had already received news that he viewed as a possible harbinger of things to come.

“I was just told this morning that one of the largest builders on the East End has laid off 40 workers,” he said. “That is on Main Street, not Wall Street.”

 “So I do believe we have to move aggressively to fix this and doing so is much less about bailing out a reckless and greedy Wall Street and more about protecting our neighbors,” said Bishop.

According to Greg Ferraris, mayor and resident in Sag Harbor, in his professional opinion as a certified public accountant who represents a number of East End businesses, there very well could be ramifications locally as a result of the fiscal crisis if action is not taken.

“Certain industries have already been affected by the slow down and the housing crisis that has turned into a complete economic crisis,” he said.

Ferraris added he believed under the right circumstances the storm could be weathered, and blamed the media for painting a far gloomier portrait of the economic climate to come, which has in turn affected the market. He did acknowledge without the right plan in place, and without people beginning to take more responsibility for spending practices, things could get worse and easily trickle down to Main Street businesses.

One industry that has seen a downturn is real estate on the East End, an economic bastion for many as prices soared over decades.

On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce President and real estate agent with Prudential Douglas Elliman Robert Evjen said one of the biggest challenges facing a slowing real estate market today was tightening loan and credit markets.

According to Evjen, many felt the tightening of the credit, loan, and real estate markets as early as last spring. But regardless, said Evjen, he does not believe the market locally will be impacted as dramatically as the rest of the country.

“I still feel to this day that we are insulated compared to the rest of the country,” said Evjen. “I don’t think any other real estate market is as closely tied to Wall Street as a secondary home market in the Hamptons.”

And while Wall Street may be suffering as of late, Evjen said from a real estate perspective there are two ways to look at the current economy – it can bode badly as Wall Street won’t see the kind of bonuses that led to record breaking sales or it could benefit the housing market as brokers look to invest in, and cash in on, a slowing market.

“I would still look for value in real estate like this before putting my money in the markets, where it is more likely to take a dive,” said Evjen. “Now is the time to buy.”

As for Main Street’s economy, as Chamber president, Evjen said he did believe shoppers would be more cautious in their purchases, avoiding big ticket items, but nonetheless shopping.

“I think Main Street here is insulated in the type of guests we have – visitors that have discretionary incomes, whereas other communities will have a much tougher go of things,” said Evjen. “I think we will be okay.”

What was of particular interest to Evjen was what effect the credit crunch and fiscal crisis would have on local lending institutions, which he said roughly 80 percent of Sag Harbor businesses relied on for revolving loans to cover large, seasonal purchases.

“It’s amazing how we are all tied into this,” he said.

According to Douglas Shaw, senior vice president at Suffolk County National Bank and Kevin O’Connor, President and CEO of Bridgehampton National Bank, businesses should not be worried, as both banks reported their conservative lending practices have protected the institutions from the same catastrophe facing banks that took on risky loans.

Shaw and O’Connor noted what these banks failed to do, and what Suffolk County National and BNB did not overlook, was to assess one’s capacity for paying back a loan in the first place.

 “We’ve been in business for 118 years and while we have evolved the fundamental requirements we have had have not changed that much,” said Shaw “Running our business this way is good for the bank, good for the borrower, good for the employees of the bank and good for the community.”

“We are still making loans and local business can still come to us,” said O’Connor. “We are open for business …We have been asked if we have tightened our credit standards, and our response is we never loosened them.”

Shaw added he believes a number of community banks have maintained these types of conservative standards, which will help weather the storm ahead.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.