During the first quarter, we closed our State Bank acquisition and officially expanded the franchise into the Long Island market. We now operate 44 full service branches in the Boroughs and Long Island. Valley’s total deposits in this market now exceeds $2.8 billion and over one-third of the Valley’s entire C&I portfolio in summer sales in New York.
Long Island’s demographics are similar to our Northern New Jersey market, and will provide an excellent opportunity for our customer-focused sale rep to cultivate both new and current customers. Similar to our previous (inaudible) into the New York market with our Merchants Bank acquisition in 2001, State Bank offered very little consumer-based products. This will be an area of focus for Valley in the future.
We have begun to aggressively market Valley’s residential mortgage refinance program throughout the former State Bank branch network and anticipate introducing an enhanced low fixed-cost residential mortgage refinance program for your customers in the coming months. Currently, Valley’s New York residential mortgage refinance program reflects a flat fee of $1,999, which includes all Bank’s fees and titled insurance. Even at this price, we have begun to reduce initial consumer success on Long Island, as residential mortgage applications from that market exceeded 200 units in the first quarter. We anticipate a much expanded market penetration when we introduce Valley’s new lower-priced, enhanced product.
From a commercial lending perspective, early indications reinforce our belief that there will be significant opportunity to expand upon many of the former State Bank existing customer relationships. The Valley’s larger lending limit, coupled with an increased commercial product offering, will provide the catalyst for Valley to develop a larger market share on Long Island. Valley does not intend to whole its geographic expansion now that’s the State Bank transaction is complete. We believe we can enhance the shareholder value and improve earnings per share by continuing our eastward migration through New York City and onto Long Island. Preliminarily we have made arrangements to open by a de novo branch expansion, two offices in this market later this year. We are preparing plans to strategically open a minimum of five offices annually thereafter. We may elect to expand via acquisition or de novo, nevertheless moving the franchisee eastward will be our strategic trust in the coming years.
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