Main Street News

The Bank of Greene County Celebrates 135 Years

By Published On: January 23rd, 2024

The Bank of Greene County celebrated its 135th anniversary on January 22, 2024. 

On Monday, bank officials and employees made a special trip down to Times Square in New York City to ring the bell to close the Nasdaq stock exchange in celebration of their 135th year. The celebration also marks the bank’s 25th year as a publicly traded company on Nasdaq.

“After the celebration in January, we get to have a year-long party,” said Susan Timan, the vice president of E-Communications for the bank. “We have branch events, promotions and giveaways, and we’re looking to do something in the warmer weather as well to keep the celebrations going.” 

Bank history 

The Bank of Greene County was originally founded as the Building & Loan Association of Catskill in 1889. Thomas E. Ferrier, the town supervisor and owner of a brickyard and knitting mill, was elected president. 

In 1911, the name was changed to Catskill Savings & Loan Association, and the bank continued to operate out of their rented storefront on Main Street in Catskill. In 1930, the Catskill Savings & Loan Association purchased their first office at 389 Main Street in Catskill. 

In 1962, Catskill Savings & Loan Association built their first full-service office, complete with a drive-up window at 425 Main Street, again in Catskill. 

Between 1972 and 1974, Catskill Savings & Loan Association changed their name to become Greene County Savings Bank and opened their second location in Coxsackie. 

Between 1989-99, Greene County Savings Bank opened their third branch in Cairo, which was managed by 23-year-old Donald Gibson, who was the youngest branch manager in bank history and would later become president of the bank in 2007. 

Between 1997 and 1999, Greene County Savings Bank officially changed their name to The Bank of Greene County. The bank also established a holding company – the Greene County Bancorp, Inc. and issued 44% of their stock to the public, raising $8 million in capital. Also during this time, the bank established a charitable foundation to support education, the arts, affordable housing, and other causes in the area. They also opened their administrative headquarters in Catskill at 302 Main Street in a historic art deco building. 

In 2000 and 2001, the Bank of Greene County opened their fifth branch in Tannersville and sixth branch in Westerlo. 

Between 2005 and 2006, they opened their seventh branch in Hudson while they relocated and expanded their Cairo and Coxsackie branches. During this time, they also converted a former car dealership on Main Street into their new Lending & Operations Center. 

2007 through 2010 saw rapid expansion, with the bank opening their eighth branch at Catskill Commons, ninth branch in Greenport, tenth branch in Chatham, eleventh branch in Ravena-Coeymans, and twelfth branch in Germantown. 

In 2015, The Bank of Greene County opened in Kingston, their thirteenth overall branch and first in Ulster County.

In 2017, they produced their ninth consecutive year of record earnings, surpassing the previous year’s net income by 25%. They also exceeded $1 billion in assets for the first time in September of that year, and opened their fourteenth branch in Copake. 

In 2018, they produced their record earnings for the tenth straight year with a net income up 29% and opened their fifteenth branch in Woodstock. 

In 2019, they celebrated their 130th anniversary and achieved record earnings for the eleventh year in a row. They also opened their sixteenth branch in Kinderhook-Valatie and their charitable foundation awarded over 270 grants totaling $239,000 for the fiscal year. 

Present day 

The Bank of Greene County prides itself on being a community-oriented bank. 

“We’re so involved in giving back to the community,” said Martha Keeler, the director of marketing. “We just closed the window for our Charitable Foundation, and that’s one of the biggest ways that we make a difference.” 

This year, The Bank of Greene County will be donating their largest sum of money to date to local nonprofits and institutions in the region, including those in education, health and wellness, social and civic services, culture and the arts, and housing for low and moderate income individuals, among others. 

In addition to giving back to the community, The Bank of Greene County also prides itself on being present within the community.

“One of the most important things to us is that we live and work here, too,” Susan said. “We joke that Main Street in Catskill is our main campus and it’s almost a mile from one building to the next. Our bank president, Don, walks up and down the street from building to building, he goes to lunch on Main Street, and you can see a lot of our employees on a daily basis. We are local people living our lives here in the community, too.” 

Currently, The Bank of Greene County has six buildings on Main Street in Catskill. “We’re in several historic buildings,” Susan explained. “We’ve come full circle with our newest edition – the wealth management center – being in the same location as the founding building. It’s a cool piece of history.” 

As outlined in the history, the bank has seen incredible growth in the past 20 years. “We have 18 branches in the Capital Region, Columbia County, and the Hudson Valley, and we’re continuing to grow,” Martha said. 

Their next spot is a business banking center located in Albany that is slated to open within the next few months. “It’s going to be in a prime location and we’ll have banking and lending teams. It’ll be really accessible and the teams will be working strictly out of that area. It’s a lot of growth for us.” 

Reflecting on 135 

“I’m so excited and proud about the 135th anniversary,” Susan said. “Not a lot of businesses can say that they’ve made it to 135 years. There have been so many local banks over the years that have been sold or bought out by bigger banks, but the bank had the foresight to set up a unique ownership structure.” 

Though they are a publicly traded company, the majority of the bank’s stock is held in a mutual holding company, which means that less than 50% is held by the public. That allows the bank to remain independent. 

“All of our growth is organic, which is so amazing to reflect upon.”

To learn more about The Bank of Greene County and their 135th anniversary, visit their website here. 

Photos courtesy of Nasdaq