From Vision to Reality
Paul Heerema had a vision of an independent, full- service, community-oriented commercial bank—but with a difference. The bank he wanted to launch would be founded on Old Testament principles. Its
purpose would be to serve the financial needs of northern New
Jersey communities and foster a better community life by integrating tithing into its corporate and personal mission—that is,
to give back 10 percent of its profits on an annual basis.
Heerema died before he could see the fruits
of his labor, but CEO Paul Van Ostenbridge says
that since the bank’s inception in 1985, Heerema’s
“mission is flourishing.”
Atlantic Stewardship Bank (ASB) has the distinc-
tion of being the only bank on the East Coast that
tithes. Headquartered in Midland Park, ASB has 12
branches in Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties.
ASB donates to Christ-centered organizations,
local hospitals, fire departments, libraries, schools,
and other civic organizations in New Jersey, and
supports a variety of fundraising events. Each
department can express a preference for where it would like
funds to be allocated.
The bank also holds Stewardship Days on which employees
volunteer at organizations the bank supports, such as Eva’s
Village, a Paterson-based nonprofit serving people struggling with poverty, homelessness, hunger and addiction.
Heather Thompson, executive vice president of Eva’s Village,
applauds ASB’s “steadfast support” of the organization for
nearly 25 years.
At Oasis in Paterson, some ASB employees teach English to
at-need women and children. One Oasis client came to America
from Jamaica and was in the midst of an abusive relationship.
Starting with a fourth-grade education, she was able to obtain
her diploma and support her two children thanks to ASB’s dona-
tion to the Oasis scholarship program.
ASB places a special emphasis on missions—local and international—and food banks, such as the Center of United Methodist Aid to the Community in Paterson, and Market Street
Mission in Morristown. ASB helped the latter with its finances
and credit plans.
Some of ASB’s efforts yield remarkable stories.
Ten years ago, St. Anthony’s School in Hawthorne
was in dire financial straits. Ostenbridge and
other ASB personnel showed up at the school
with a donation.
“They didn’t know we were coming,” Osten-
bridge recounts. “We gave the principal the
check and she started crying. I said, ‘Is every-
thing okay?’ She said, ‘The boiler broke in this
school yesterday. I had to hire a plumber to go
ahead and fix that, and go out on faith. I didn’t
have money to pay.’”
As it happened, the check the ASB emissaries had brought
with them, covered 100 percent of the bill. Some would call this
an extraordinary coincidence, and others would describe it as
a miracle. For Ostenbridge, it’s a memory he carries every day.
Since 1985, ASB has given more than $10.1 million to non-
profits. “Each week it increases,” Ostenbridge says. Before 2018
is out, Ostenbridge expects ASB to have committed at least
$900,000 to charitable causes. Annually, about 400 organiza-
tions benefit from the bank’s donations and in-kind services.
Paul Heerema would be proud. — Dominique McIndoe
There’s no better
place than the
to greet representatives of some of
the Morris County
from the bank’s
left: Julie Hess,
G. David Scott,
Market Street Mission, Morristown;
Center; Paul Van
Ostenbridge, Atlantic Ste wardship
the Seeing Eye,
Promise of Morris