Bridgehampton National Bank has opened its first full-service branch in Riverhead and already has plans in the works to expand to larger quarters.
The bank will move into the former Citibank building on West Main Street later this year, senior vice president Patricia Horan said Monday. That building has an existing drive-up window and plenty of space, she said. BNB’s architects are working on renovation plans for the interior, which Horan said looks like it had not been updated “since the 1970s.” Citibank closed the branch in December 2014.
Bridgehampton National Bank has been interested in the Riverhead market for years, but was prevented from opening a branch here under regulations that prevent a nationally chartered bank from opening in the hometown of another national bank — in this case, Suffolk County National Bank. When SCNB was acquired by Connecticut-based People’s United Bank, the restriction no longer applied. (Other nationally chartered banks are in Riverhead as a result of various mergers and acquisitions. And the restriction did not apply to credit unions or savings banks.)
After the People’s United-SCNB acquisition gained final approval, BNB moved quickly to get permission from regulators to convert its lending office at 40 Peconic Avenue — the ground floor of the Summerwind Square building — into a full-service branch.
The new Riverhead branch is managed by David Barczak, a 25-year Suffolk County National Bank employee who moved over to BNB with several staff members from the Hampton Bays branch he managed for Suffolk.
“He was a natural fit,” Horan said. The bank doesn’t pick a location and look for people to fill it. “Fist we find the person, the banker, because it’s all about relationships,” she said. “He’s the poster child for what we want in somebody.”
Barczak is Riverhead born and raised, a man with deep roots in the community. His maternal grandfather owned the Sweet Shop on Main Street. His paternal grandfather operated Barczak Nursery on Route 58. He attended St. Isidore’s and Mercy High School.
“Bigger banks tend to underestimate the importance of relationships, especially here on the East End,” Barczak said.
“We take that very seriously,” BNB vice president and director of marketing Claudia Pilato said. “We encourage the staff to be involved in the community and support them in it.” BNB staff members are rooted in the communities where they work, like Barzak, and belong to and support the various civic and fraternal organizations that are the fabric of those communities.
Bridgehampton is currently the only major community bank headquartered on Long Island, Pilato said. BNB acquired Community National Bank in 2015 and today has 43 branches in a territory stretching from Montauk to Manhattan.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said he is “delighted Bridgehampton National Bank has decided to come to Riverhead and occupy that facility. It’s a good institution and we welcome them.”
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