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Over 140 Years of History

Three years after the end of the Civil War, March 27, 1868 to be exact, the State of New Jersey Legislature granted a special charter to 29 individuals to open a savings bank in the small City of Hudson. Garrett D. Van Reipen, who had served as the city’s first mayor, became the first President of Hudson City Savings Bank.

Within a few years, the City of Hudson merged with two cities to create today’s Jersey City. Suddenly, Hudson City Savings Bank was serving the State’s second largest city! By the end of the 19th Century, New Jersey boasted a population of more than 1 million, and Hudson City’s assets and deposits had grown to over $1 million.

As Hudson City’s assets passed the $2 million mark by the middle of the decade, Americans saw congress declare war on Germany in 1917. Hudson City participated in the wartime Liberty Loan and Victory Loan drives, selling its allotment of bonds, as well as purchasing a half million dollars of bonds.

In the summer of 1921, Jersey City made history when it hosted the Dempsey/Carpentier World Heavyweight Championship Fight. It was the largest crowd to date to watch a sporting event and the first to be broadcast on radio. During the decade, Hudson City opened its second office, introduced the Christmas Club to depositors, and moved its main office from Newark Avenue to 587 Summit Avenue in Jersey City.

The Stock Market crashed in 1929, and the Great Depression of the Thirties saw insolvent banks close. Throughout it all Hudson City Savings remained open—sound as ever—with total assets exceeding $11 million and reserves of $800,000.

Between 1941 and 1945, World War II gripped the nation and 15 million men registered for military service. Curtis-Wright’s aircraft engine factory in Woodridge, N.J. produced more engines during the War than any other American manufacturer. Hudson City Savings Bank sold millions of dollars in U.S. War Bonds in support of the war effort. By the end of the decade the Bank had three Jersey City offices and more than $26 million in assets.

During the decade of the Fifties, the “baby-boom” generation was born. New Jersey grew twice as fast as the rest of the nation, adding 1.2 million residents. From January 1918 to his death in August 1950, Robert J. Rendall enjoyed one of the longest tenures as Bank President. In 1959, Hudson City made over $25 million in VA and FHA mortgage loans and had assets in excess of $50 million. By the late Sixties, the computer was beginning to revolutionize American society and new State banking laws permitted banks to move across county lines. In 1969, Hudson City opened its first Bergen County branch in Waldwick. This was the Bank’s fifth office, and total assets had reached $175 million.

Under the leadership of Kenneth L. Birchby, who became President and CEO in 1968, the Bank expanded aggressively during the 1970’s with 37 branches established in 12 New Jersey counties. In 1978, Bank headquarters were relocated to Bergen County, occupying a new crescent-shaped building designed by a local Jersey City architectural firm. Total assets and deposits both exceeded $1.1 billion.

The Eighties and early Nineties proved troublesome for the banking industry in general. For savings and thrifts, double digit inflation and record high interest rates had a severe adverse effect on the industry. While many banks faltered during these times, Hudson City continued to enjoy a position of strength and stability. Leonard S. Gudelski became President in 1981 and Chairman of the Board in 1996. Under his leadership, the Bank continued on its path of growth and expansion. By the beginning of 1990, Hudson City had 69 branches and total assets of $3.2 billion.

The Nineties brought about dramatic changes to the New Jersey banking industry. Some of the State’s largest banks became part of interstate banking giants. As others disappeared, Hudson City held its course. We continued to grow, maintaining independence, and gaining strength. In 1992, Hudson City established itself as New Jersey’s largest savings bank and MONEY magazine cited us as one of the safest New Jersey banks. In 1995, MONEY named Hudson City “Best Bank In New Jersey.” In 1997, Ronald E. Hermance, Jr. was named President of Hudson City Savings Bank, only the 11th person to be named to that position in the 129 year history of the Bank, and today is President, Chairman of the Board, and CEO.

As we approached the Year 2000, Hudson City was once again poised for new opportunities. A Plan of Reorganization and Stock issuance, approved in February 1999, saw the Bank become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hudson City Bancorp, Inc. with the Bancorp raising over $500 million of new capital and assets exceeding $8 billion.

With the July 2005 completion of the largest stock offering ever by a U.S. bank, Hudson City raised $3.9 billion in new capital and completed its journey to become a fully public company. The Bancorp’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol “HCBK.”

Today, with over $40 billion dollars in assets (as of September 30, 2012), Hudson City is the largest savings bank headquartered in New Jersey, Hudson City also serves customers throughout the surrounding metropolitan area with over 130 branches located in Fairfield, Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties, as well as in Long Island, and the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia.

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