Hudson City Savings Bank took its name from the community of Hudson City, an independent municipality in Hudson County from 1855 to 1870. Significant to both the bank and city was the leadership of Garret D. Van Reipen. He was the second mayor of Hudson City and the first president of the bank.
Hudson City was initially chartered by the New Jersey Legislature in April 1852 as the Town of Hudson and as the City of Hudson in April 1855. The community of approximately 3,000, popularly referred to as Jersey City Heights, was located along the Palisades of New Jersey with Hoboken to the East and Meadowlands to the West. The transportation hub at Five Corners, took travelers onto New York City or Hoboken. Since 1840 the court house for the new County of Hudson was located near Five Corners, first at the Lyceum Classical School on Grand Street. The Town Hall of Hudson City was at the former Simpson Methodist Church at 25 Oakland Avenue; it was later razed for the construction of the Third Precinct Police Station.
Hudson City's first mayor was General E.R.V. Wright. His mansion, called "Forest Home" was on a wooded estate in the area of Oakland Avenue. Wright served as a county prosecutor and congressman, but he could not capture the Democratic party's nomination for governor in 1859 (Grundy 40). The following year, Wright was succeeded by Garrett D. Van Reipen who served as mayor until 1868 when he was elected president of Hudson City's Saving Bank.
Van Reipen was born in what was Bergen Township on January 26, 1826. He was a descendant of Dutch settlers who settled in Communipaw in the 1650s. During the Civil War, Van Reipen was a Lieutenant of Company A, Second Regiment, and was later promoted to Captain "for bravery in the field." He became paymaster of the Fourth Regiment, N.G.N.J. after the war. A Democrat, Van Reipen won election to the state legislature (1863-1864), was a member of the Jersey City Board of Finance (1874-1875), was elected annually president of the County Board for the Equalization of Taxes from its inception in 1873 to 1899, and was a director of the Hudson County National Bank. He died at his home at 553 Summit Avenue on August 1, 1899.
Hudson City Savings Bank was founded by investors who most likely noted the population growth of Hudson City. By 1865 it had 13,151 inhabitants from a population of 3,322 ten years earlier. The bank was incorporated by the State Legislature on March 27, 1868, and opened its office at 659 Newark Avenue in the Five Corners area. Van Reipen became the bank's first president and, except for a five-year presidency by Benjamin F. Sawyer, he was the bank's president and treasurer until 1899.
In 1870, two years after the bank's founding, Hudson City joined with Jersey City and Bergen City to be incorporated as today's Jersey City; Greenville was added in 1874. The small independent communities found the demands for efficient government and services at the time of population growth a drain on their resources. The same Benjamin F. Sawyer was the mayor of Hudson City at the time of consolidation.
In 1922, the headquarters of Hudson City Savings moved to 587 Summit Avenue; the interior and exterior design of the building was modernized in 1963. In 1928 the bank also opened its first branch at 2530 Hudson (now Kennedy) Boulevard at the corner of Jewett Avenue. The neo-classical limestone building in the Art Deco style features terra cotta bas reliefs, polychromatic brick and steel casement windows. The Bayview branch at 532 Ocean Avenue opened in 1947. With the growth of bank branches throughout New Jersey, Hudson City Savings built its headquarters and main office in Paramus, NJ, in 1982.
Begun as a mutual savings bank, Hudson City Savings was managed by a board of managers. In 1999 it was reorganized as a stock savings bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hudson City Bancorp, Inc., listed on the NASDAQ, and the largest savings and loan bank in the US.
In 2015, Hudson City Savings was acquired by M & T Bank Corporation that was founded as Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company in Buffalo, NY.
"Garret D. Van Reipen." New York Times 2 August 1899.
Grundy, J. Owen. The History of Jersey City, 1609-1976. Jersey City, NJ: Progress Printing Co., Inc. 1976.
"Hudson City Savings Marks 95th Year of Service." Jersey Journal 1 April 1963.
"Hudson City Savings Bank Is 110." Jersey Journal 16 March 1978.
Hudson City Savings Bank. "About Hudson City." http://www.hcsbonline.com
"Our Early Years." Hudson City Savings Bank, 1868-1968.