Atlantic Stewardship Bank's Giving Back Program
Steve Adubato talks to Paul Van Ostenbridge, President & CEO of Atlantic Stewardship Bank, about their unique Tithing Program and giving back to their community.
"We are pleased to welcome, for the first time on our set, Paul Van Ostenbridge, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Stewardship Bank. Good to see you Paul. Very good to see you too. Great to be here. You have a fascinating bank with a fascinating culture. Describe it. It's unique. The bank is actually 31 years old. We're headquartered in Midland Park, New Jersey. The purpose of the bank was first started to be a tithing bank. The Christian concept that comes out of the Old Testament where 10% of whatever we earn is given back and we've been doing that ever since the bank was started, so to date, we've been able to give over 9 million dollars. Wow. To various Christian and local civic organizations. It's a great concept and it's something that's very well embraced by our shareholders and the communities we serve. Why do that? Why not? Everything's basically... What I want to ask you... I must have interviewed a dozen plus CEO's of banks and they do give, but that structure... Why that structure? It comes from the Christian commitment of the founders of the bank and that's something that they do in their own lives and something that they incorporate in their own businesses, so years ago, 30 years ago when we first started the bank, it was the first time that the banking industry in New Jersey started to go through mergers. That's right. Something they had never seen before and they were losing contact with the community bankers that they had known for many many years, so they decided "this is a good time to start a community bank and if we're going to do that, let's build the tithing concept right into it." Certainly in the beginning, there was a lot of skepticism by my competitors, like how are you going to be able to manage that and manage your earnings. Explain those economics. Exactly. But when you build it in right from the beginning, it works and we just kept that with us all the way through. We've tithed every year for the past 31 years. The kinds of employees that you attract, are they connected to that mission? Yes, yes. For the most part, they are. Certainly, you don't have to be Christian to work for us, but it attracts people that are like-minded so they're very strong in their faith and very strong in their commitment to the community so the various organizations that we support, many of my folks are on their boards or they're volunteering on an ongoing basis. So they get to be bankers. That's what they do. That's their profession but they come in and they join our family and it's just worked really well. You know what's interesting? Our chairman of the board of our production company..."