N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Designates L.I. Community as 'Underserved' by Banks

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted Banking Development District designation to Brentwood, an underserved minority neighborhood in Islip on Long Island.

Brentwood is the first community on Long Island to qualify as a Bank Development District since the state first created the designation in 1997 as a way to encourage banks to open branches and offer services in underserved markets.

The majority Hispanic community also is Suffolk County's most densely populated area and "has fewer banks per capita than most" neighborhoods in the county, town officials said. As a result, many residents rely primarily on check cashers, officials said.

The Town of Islip applied for the BDD designation in a joint application with New York Community Bank, the banking unit of New York Community Bancorp (NYCB).

The BDD designation, New York Community stated in the joint application, will help it "continue operations at its Brentwood branch and expand services," including starter savings accounts that require as little as one dollar to open and checking accounts with no minimum balances, while preserving their existing accounts. The community bank also plans to provide financial education programs for residents and businesses.

Banks that operate in designated districts are generally rewarded with deposits from state agencies. Under the program, branches in those areas are eligible for up to $10 million in subsidized public deposits and other benefits. Roughly 40 neighborhoods have been designated as Bank Development Districts since the New York Legislature established the program.

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