By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The city’s economy is getting a lot better and its growth will strengthen this year, a financial expert is predicting.
Anthony Grigos, executive vice president of the Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union, delivered that good news to a ballroom filled with the neighborhood’s movers and shakers who gathered for a party hosted by the credit union at the Bay Ridge Manor Catering Hall April 2.
“Clearly, the economic activity is on the rise, especially in New York City. New York City employment shows a very strong recovery. New York State is in tune with the rest of the country. And there is vey encouraging data on our home values. There has been an upswing over the past two years,” said Grigos, who used data from the Federal Reserve for his presentation.
In fact, Grigos said, the city is at the same point where it was before the economy collapsed in 2008.
The party also doubled as the credit union’s annual meeting. Credit unions are obligated by federal law to hold an annual meeting each year, where the company’s assets, planning and strategy are discussed. But Gene Brody, president and CEO of the Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union, has traditionally tossed aside the idea of holding the meeting in a stuffy board room in favor of opening up the meeting to the public. He throws a party, welcomes the community’s elected officials, civic leaders and business owners and urges everyone to relax, have dinner, and enjoy the evening.
So instead of sitting around a conference table, the crowd was seated at tables festooned with red, white and blue balloons as Grigos spoke.
Among the faces the Brooklyn Eagle spotted in the crowd: retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Gerard Rosenberg and his wife Harriet; Josephine Beckmann, district maanger of Community Board 10; Bay Ridge Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny; state Sen. Marty Golden; Bensonhurst Assemblyman Peter Abbate; Jim Clark, president of the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District; Bob Howe, president of the Merchants of Third Avenue; Bill Guarinello, president and CEO of HeartShare Human Services of New York; Mafalda DiMango, former member of the Community Education Council of School District 20; and Richard Russo, senior vice president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Brody asked Grigos to deliver remarks about the credit union’s economic performance as well as city’s economic outlook. Brody, who has been hosting an annual party in Bay Ridge each spring for 15 years, usually delivers the remarks himself, but a case of laryngitis prevented him from giving the presentation. He attended the party, but left the major presentation up to his executive VP.
As for the credit union, things are going extremely well and the economic outlook is positive, according to Grigos. Over the past decade, the credit union has “have enjoyed a stable growth pattern even through some of the most challenging economic periods,” he said.
“You can rest assured that it will continue to grow for many years to come,” Grigos said.
In 2013, the credit union reported assets in excess of $180 million. The credit union issued $142 million in loans to its members last year. Sixty-million-dollars of those loans were extended to drivers seeking to purchase medallions from New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission so that they could drive taxi cabs.
Ground transportation companies such as taxis and livery services are an important part of the credit union’s business, according to Brody. “We will always been committed to the ground transportation industry in New York City,” he said.
The credit union issued 1,000 small consumer loans to enable people to make home repairs, pay private school tuition for their children, consolidate their debt, and do other things.
The credit union has experienced such growth that last year, it moved to a larger space, opening up an office at 1750 86th St. in Bensonhurst. There is also an office in Sheepshead Bay, at 1609 Ave. Z.
Also at the meeting, the credit union elected its board of directors: Dr. Steven Dickert, chairman; Gene Brody, president and CEO; Alan Brody, director; Bruce Butchen, director; and John Abi-Habib, director.
The supervisory committee is comprised of Bruce Butchen, Charles Capetanakis, and Daphne Konstantinides.
After the meeting’s agenda was completed, it was time to party! A line formed at the buffet table and guests enjoyed choosing from among such dishes as eggplant, calamari, roast beef, stuffed shells, rice and beans, turkey, and sausage and peppers.