Bankers are New Jersey’s economic first responders

Mike Affuso. (New Jersey Bankers Association)

The banking industry plays a crucial role in the economic fabric of any state, and New Jersey is no exception. As one of the most densely populated and economically diverse states in the nation, New Jersey heavily relies on a robust and vibrant banking sector to facilitate financial transactions, foster economic growth and support the financial well-being of its residents, businesses and communities, as a whole. The growth and stability of New Jersey’s banking industry is vital for the state’s overall prosperity. Banks’ strength, resilience and a personalized approach to banking have played a pivotal role in fostering economic growth, supporting small businesses and strengthening the social fabric of the Garden State. Just as the saying goes, “brick by brick,” our brick-and-mortar banks continue to lay the foundation for everyday New Jerseyans to purchase or improve their own homes, grow their businesses or send their children to college, making their dreams a reality.

Banks provide essential financial services including lending, payment, savings and investment services, which enable individuals and businesses to pursue entrepreneurial ventures, expand operations and invest in innovative projects. By providing capital, banks stimulate economic activities and create job opportunities, thus contributing to the overall prosperity of the state.

From checking accounts and savings accounts to mortgages and personal loans, banks offer a wide range of financial services that are essential for the well-being of individual consumers in New Jersey. Access to safe and reliable banking products and services enables residents to manage their finances effectively, save for the future and secure affordable credit when needed. Banks also provide best-in-class digital banking platforms, allowing customers to access their accounts, make payments and perform transactions conveniently. In a world filled with constant threats, the banking industry’s commitment to consumer protection, data security and financial literacy further strengthens the trust and confidence of customers more than ever before.

The banking industry not only plays a pivotal role in financing dreams, but in times of challenge has served as community economic first responders, most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing financial triage to New Jersey’s homeowners and business owners struggling with painful job loss, government lockdowns and fear of the unknown. In addition to the brave doctors, nurses and emergency first responders, frontline workers in the banking community worked to help save livelihoods. Whether it was advancing monies, waiving fees or processing Paycheck Protection Program loans, banks of all sizes in New Jersey were there to serve during extraordinary circumstances.

Additionally, one of the most important assets of the banking industry to the state of New Jersey are the contributions made to the state’s revenue stream. New Jersey has the highest corporate income tax in the U.S., which helps fund open space, farmland, historic preservation and environmental initiatives. Furthermore, banking activities generate employment opportunities, leading to additional income tax revenue for the state. The financial successes of the banking industry have a positive multiplier effect on the overall economy. Despite the high cost of doing business in New Jersey, banks have continued to believe in the importance of serving New Jersey customers and continue to invest in the state’s future.

Beyond their traditional banking services, the banking community in New Jersey demonstrates a strong commitment to investing in the well-being of their communities. Through philanthropic initiatives, sponsorship of local events and partnerships with community organizations, New Jersey banks actively contribute to the social fabric of the towns they serve. By supporting educational programs, affordable housing initiatives and charitable endeavors, each bank embodies the spirit of communal growth and exemplify the true meaning of being an active corporate citizen.

The strength of the banking industry in New Jersey lies not only in its financial prowess, but in its deep-rooted connection to the local communities it serves. New Jersey banks understand the unique needs and aspirations of their customers, offering personalized service that fosters trust, loyalty and economic growth. By supporting small businesses, providing stability, strength, resilience, adaptability and commitment to their communities make them a vital asset that contributes to the state’s prosperity and the well-being of its residents, businesses and communities.

Mike Affuso is CEO and president of the New Jersey Bankers Association.