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ASBURY PARK, NJ-The bad news this week was that a major residential project, Esperanza, was halting construction, at least temporarily. The good news is that this rebuilding oceanfront city will get its first new bank in decades.

Rumson-Fair Haven Bank & Trust, based in nearby Rumson, will open a new branch in this city’s downtown by Q2 of 2008, bank officials have revealed. The company has acquired a 2,700-sf office condo in the Griffin, a new downtown mixed-use building, for $1 million. Further details of the transaction were not released.

The Griffin, located at the corner of Cookman and Grand avenues, is a new building being developed by RDR Properties, a locally based company headed by Steven Ranuro. The four-story building combines 21 residential units on its upper floors with street-level retail. The $12.5-million project was completed this past spring.

The bank branch will be called the Community Bank of Asbury Park, and will be the company’s fourth, joining branches in Rumson, Fair Haven and Shrewsbury. Founded in 2000 as an investment bank, the company evolved into a community bank by 2003 and now has assets of $140 million.

“We have a strategic plan for the next three years that calls for another two or three branches to get us up to $250 million in assets,” says Robert E. Davis Jr., the bank’s CEO.

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