By: Yolanda Rivas
2 min read February 2020 — The Southern New Jersey region is mainly driven by the healthcare, education and retail sectors, but small businesses remain key cogs in the region’s economic machinery. Their financial needs are among the busiest service areas for lenders along with commercial and construction lending, according to local banking leaders who spoke with Invest: South Jersey.
Small businesses represent growth opportunities for South Jersey financial institutions, as evidenced by the robust professional sector in the region that continues to grow rapidly as more individuals start their own businesses.
WSFS Bank has about 50,000 primary core customers in South Jersey, with millennials being its second-largest demographic. Phil Corradino, Senior Vice President and New Jersey Regional Director at WSFS, is focusing on growing alongside millennials as they launch their own companies, purchase their first properties and start their families.
“In terms of small business, we feel that we’re in a great growth position. The small-business sector went through a very difficult period from 2008 and onward, even as recently as 2015, but now you see a lot of small business growth and lending, especially in South Jersey. We’ve put dedicated lenders in place at the local level to serve these business owners, and it’s their mission to be there to help educate them, with roundtables, focus groups and networking events.”
Louisville, Kentucky-based Republic Bank has consistently been a top small-business lender in the region over the last few years and is also experiencing growth in that segment. “We focus on small businesses because South Jersey is known for its mom and pop shops. We promote our commercial customers and make donations to help attract consumers to their businesses and support their growth. We don’t limit our services to just one industry or type of business, we try to serve every business and prospect in any industry,” said Joe Tredinnick, market president at Republic Bank.
Financial institutions are positive about the near-term growth outlook for the small-business segment.”The small-business potential and growth that I believe we are going to see over the next three to five years in South Jersey is going to be monumental, and WSFS is excited to be in the middle of it,” Corradino stated.
According to Parke Bank President and CEO Vito S. Pantilione, its construction lending product is enjoying strong demand in the Philadelphia and South Jersey areas. “It is a very attractive product, especially because many banks have discontinued this banking product. Even though the regulations for construction lending have become much more stringent, our structure allows us to handle it because we are well-capitalized and we have the experience and expertise,” said Pantilione.
Most recently, the bank has also seen an increased demand further north, in the Bronx and Brooklyn areas of New York City. “We carefully entered the Bronx and Brooklyn markets and now have multiple multifamily projects and commercial loans in these areas,” he said.
Similarly, New Jersey-based OceanFirst Bank is seeing fast growth in its commercial lending activities. Vincent D’Alessandro, OceanFirst’s southern region president, said the bank’s growth has been driven by its talented commercial relationship managers. “Our business customers have a specifically assigned relationship manager who focuses on those businesses. Our expansive growth has enabled our relationship managers to dive deeper into businesses that they may not have been able to tap into before, in providing more sophisticated products and services.”
To learn more about our interviewees, visit:
Parke Bank: https://www.parkebank.com/
OceanFirst Bank: https://oceanfirst.com/
WSFS Bank: https://www.wsfsbank.com/
Republic Bank: https://www.myrepublicbank.com/