2005-11-09 / Editorials

Long Island City Designated As Banking Development District

Assemblymember Catherine Nolan announced that Long Island City has received designation as a Banking Development District (BDD). This designation was made possible through legislation passed by the Assembly in 2004. This enabling legislation was carried by Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette, chair of the Queens Delegation, and shepherded through the Banking Committee by its chair, Nolan.

“The Banking Development district program became effective in 1998 through a legislative measure and the program was extended by the legislature for an additional seven years in 2004 (Ch. 300),” Nolan said. “The aim of this program is to provide financial services to areas which are designated as “underserved” by enabling municipalities to provide incentives for the establishment of bank branches in these areas.”

In an effort to increase access to financial services in Long Island City and all of Queens, an extensive team of advocates has joined forces: Nolan, Borough President Helen Marshall, who, under the BDD statute, is responsible for designating which banks may participate in this program, and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, who serves on the federal Financial Services Committee. Nolan is also working with City Comptroller William Thompson, Jr. and New York State Banking Superintendent Diana Taylor, who are also involved in the running of the BDD program.

“Queens has received two prior designations,” Nolan said. “Jamaica was the first [neighborhood] to be designated as a BDD in the Borough of Queens. Subsequently, Carver Federal Savings Bank, in conjunction with Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, applied for the designation and opened a full service branch at Jamaica Center, in April of 2004. The recent BDD designation in Corona has allowed Queens County Savings Bank, a division of New York Community Bank, to create a full-service branch to meet consumer needs in Corona Heights.

“With Long Island City’s designation as a BDD, this type of enhanced access to financial services will soon be experienced by Island City,” Nolan went on. “I am working with Helen Marshall and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, as well as a number of local groups to attract a financial institution, similar to those which have opened in Jamaica and Corona, to Long Island City.

This year, Nolan has held a hearing on the effectiveness of the BDD program, a community meeting with residents and credit unions on this topic and has introduced several legislative responses to further enhance the effectiveness of the program. Additionally, Nolan is working on the designation of Long Island City as an enriched BDD, a new program developed by the New York State Banking Department, and is in conversations with a number of credit unions in hopes of providing enhanced banking opportunities for the residents of Queensbridge.

“I am confident that working as a team we will be able to deliver to the residents of our wonderful community,” Nolan said.

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