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N.Y.-based Provident Bank makes entry into N.J. market

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    Making commercial loans to middle-market New Jersey businesses, with revenue from $5 million to $100 million, is seen as a promising new growth opportunity by New York-based Provident Bank, which has expanded outside its base in Rockland and Orange counties with a Paramus office.

    The bank is not related to Jersey City-based Provident Bank, and it operates as PBNY in New Jersey.

    In August, PBNY Bank named Peter J. Dawson to lead a commercial lending team in Paramus. Dawson came from HSBC, where he oversaw commercial lending in New Jersey and New York. Linda Lemond, senior vice president of PBNY, was named to head another Paramus-based commercial lending team, while a third team, led by Brenda Wiener, is focused on New Jersey commercial real estate.

    Like the many New Jersey community and regional banks already competing here, PBNY Bank said it sees an opportunity to gain market share by offering a higher level of services, and a more personal touch, than the large banks may be providing to midsize businesses.

    Dawson said for the past year, the Paramus office has had success developing a New Jersey commercial real estate business that "gave us a nice base to now push forward, and that is what we are doing now with the expansion into the commercial business by the teams that Linda and I will be running."

    He said the bank's team approach is crucial to its strategy. Access to senior managers at banks "is a big deal … something that often gets lost as organizations get bigger. Our customers will be able to reach out and have touch points at the senior management level."

    PBNY won't have traditional bank branches in North Jersey downtowns, but technology, such as electronic remote check deposits, will enable the bank to provide commercial customers with a full range of services, including payroll accounts and cash management, Lemond said.

    Dawson said he is well aware the competition is fierce in New Jersey for the kind of banking business PBNY Bank is looking to cultivate.

    "The New Jersey marketplace is clearly one of the most attractive markets in the country," he said. He said he has simultaneously overseen commercial lending in New York City and New Jersey for much of his banking career, "and if you asked me which is most competitive, I would tell you it's New Jersey."

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    Beth Fitzgerald

    Beth Fitzgerald

    Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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