Cortland Bank Achieves Solid 2019 Performance

By James M. Gasior, President and CEO
Cortland Bank, an independent community bank since 1892 headquartered in Cortland, ended a profitable and transformative 2019.

Most notably last year, Cortland Bancorp, its parent, began trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market stock exchange. The transition to NASDAQ was an important step in the company’s strategic plan. The company recently announced a 17% increase in its quarterly cash dividend.

The bank operates across Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga counties, with a financial services center in Fairlawn.

Last February, the bank opened its 14th branch in Strongsville. This site offers full-service consumer and personal banking services, mortgage lending, commercial lending, private banking and treasury management. Since its opening, the office has seen positive deposit and loan growth.

Construction on a new, freestanding and customer-friendly office in Hubbard was completed and opened Jan. 6, relocating operations to 342 W. Liberty St.

In light of the bank being challenged by nontraditional banking products in 2019, it increased its total core deposits by 7.1%. The innovative rewards checking account program was expanded to include a new, higher rate checking and savings account.

Our core loan portfolio also grew more than 4%, led by 4.3% core growth in commercial and industrial loans.

The mortgage lending team originated more than $87 million in residential real estate loans in 2019, while the commercial lending team originated more than $119 million in new loans.

Cortland Bank strives to implement the latest technologies consumers seek while still providing face-to-face interactions and assistance with everyday banking transactions.

In the last three years, Cortland Bank has launched online account opening, online mortgage applications and online financial education. Providing these services online allows consumers to manage their finances anywhere at any time.

As technology continues to evolve, so does the sophistication of cybercrimes and data breaches. Businesses are expanding their focus on system securities, and in 2019 Cortland recruited to its board of directors an information systems and security executive. Hicham Chahine, who recently retired as a principal from a professional service firm that provides security and information systems consulting services to the banking industry, brings a valued skill set to the Cortland board.

As a community bank, Cortland takes great pride in serving the communities in which it operates.

The bank continues to provide volunteers and financial support to local schools and to multiple nonprofits and community-based organizations. These include United Way, Second Harvest Food Bank and Junior Achievement of the Mahoning Valley. In 2019, JA honored Cortland Bank with its Special Events Partner award.

Bank leadership has taken an interest in the higher education and workforce development missions of Eastern Gateway Community College and Kent State University’s Upward Bound programs.

The bank also supported economic growth initiatives by partnering with several chambers of commerce and by sponsorship of the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp.’s newly established EDGE revolving loan fund. This fund will provide access to capital for owners of small business in economically disadvantaged populations.

Cortland Bank is a proponent of housing programs and educational advancement opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals. This is demonstrated by an ongoing relationship with the Ohio Capital Corp. for Housing and the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.