Friday, August 15, 2008

"America's Smartest Banker"

I meant to comment on this Slate article by Daniel Gross when it was first published, but didn't get a chance. Here's the link: "America's Smartest Banker: The nation's financial industry is cratering, so how come Hudson City Bank is thriving?". Gross's answer:

Hudson City banks the old-fashioned way: It takes deposits and makes mortgages to people who buy homes in which they plan to live. And then it hangs on to them. No subprime, no securitization. Hudson City's bankers are steady daters in a wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am era. "We don't have Wall Street bundle up the mortgages and sell them to someone in Norway," [Hudson City CEO Ronald] Hermance says. "We're going to live with those loans." As a result, Hudson City maintains higher standards.

My question about this article is whether Hudson City really is unique in this regard. My bank, NVE Bank (which, after 121 years, has expanded to all of 12 branches throughout Bergen County's Northern Valley) also eschewed securitization, and seems to be weathering the credit crunch fine (here's the bank's latest Statement of Condition).

Another local bank that seems to be doing alright is Pascack Community Bank, which is almost finished building a new branch in Hackensack. I turns out Pascack is publicly-traded (OTCBB: PCCB.OB)

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