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May 21, 2009

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The Chestnut Hill Local
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Valley Green Bank shines 1 year later

With banks struggling nationwide and an abundance of branches on the Avenue, Valley Green Bank’s move to 23 W. Highland Ave. just over a year ago was met with more than a few groans from residents. What many did not know was that the bank, which had opened its first branch (7226 Germantown Ave.) in November 2005, was already poised to become a local institution.

Since its incorporation, the bank has attracted many local merchants and residents, racking up 4,000 accounts and more than $70 million in deposits.

“In a three year period we’ve become the third largest bank in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill,” said Valley Green president and CEO Jay Goldstein.

Goldstein was referring to the number of deposits, but the bank has made other strides in lending as well.

“We’ve put over $100 million back into the community,” Goldstein said.

It is just one example of the bank’s success.

George Blood, owner of George Blood Audio, has banked with Valley Green for a year and a half. He switched to the locally owned and operated bank before the Chestnut Hill branch opened.

“I like that I know the people at the bank but its more than that,” Blood said. “They take the time to understand the obstacles I’m facing.”

Blood said the personal attention goes beyond the tellers and the lending officers knowing his name. They are friends and part of this community, he said.

“When I’m having a bad day with receivables, they know about it,” he said. “And it seems to show in the support they give.”

According to Goldstein, Blood’s experience is not unusual, rather it is a precise vision for local banking success.

“We are able to make quicker decisions because we know the community,” Goldstein explained. “We get to know the customers quickly and are able to provide personalized service.”

Karen Boyd, owner of Bredenbeck’s Bakery began banking with Valley Green after the Mt. Airy branch opened. She likes the small-bank feel, where you can pull up a chair and talk to someone. Valley Green has helped the bakery get loans to make improvements.

“They have been a big help,” she said.

Boyd also hit on another common theme with Valley Green’s patrons: its independence. In a town where large banking institutions are represented in spades, Valley Green has retained a sense of small-town values.

“We never got involved in subprime mortgages,” Goldstein explained. “We haven’t run into the same problems and as a result we are still lending and have a solid loan portfolio.”

“In today’s economy you really want to feel as secure as possible,” Boyd said.

Art Howe, whose wife, Lisa, is co-owner of Artisans on the Avenue, said the difference is clear.

“Valley Green is managed by a board that is truly ingrained in the community,” he said.



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