September 17, 2020 11:19 am Exclusive Interview with Frank Gaudio – CEO of The First Bank of Greenwich
A photo of Frank Gaudio and his team. Retail Banking Manager Emily Newcamp and Branch Manager, Amy Huertas were also part of the interview.
You describe yourself as a community bank. Can you describe some of what makes your bank different and more responsive to the community?
We know our customers and local businesses well and give them the highest level of service and attention. You could call us a Private Bank without being one. No one is just a number to us. Our Advisory Board is made up of customers and local people of all means, working together. They keep in close touch with us and let us know what is going on in the community. In our bank, all the top decision makers are available to customers and support their activities. (Frank’s cell phone number and email is on all our advertising as well as our billboards)!
We believe in supporting our local community and non-profit organizations. For example, our Charitable Checking program makes quarterly contributions to organizations that bank with us, based on their bank balances. We sponsor many events featuring local residents, such as art exhibits, golf outings, and concerts, which are attended by hundreds (before Covid, obviously).
Do you really serve coffee and cookies to your customers?
Before Covid, we did. The cookies were from a local bakery and were hard to resist. Since March, we had to stop offering them for safety reasons.
Do your customers have access to all the financial instruments and services that they would get at, say, JP Morgan Chase?
We offer all of the products and services that the big banks offer. We have online banking, with a mobile banking app, remote deposit, checking and savings accounts, and commercial, residential and consumer lending. Our response time, unlike the bigger banks, is exceptionally quick. Our lending department is in Cos Cob, where Frank is, and when he authorizes a loan, he always tries to meet the people he is loaning money to, so he can understand their needs and goals.
What is the purpose of your Women’s Network? Explain why local moms should use your bank?
The mission of our Women’s Leadership Network is to create an environment with opportunity for women to come together and exchange ideas, share business tips and spur creativity and leadership. Each year we host an event on an important topic. Moms should use our bank because we do so much for their kids. Our Start2Save program issues actual passbooks to encourage kids to save money at our Kids Teller window. They can spin our prize wheel every time they are in the bank. We help older kids to spend wisely with a parent funded debit card. We are offering a Financial Literacy Course to teach kids before going to college to manage their money. That course will be online for now, and in person after Covid. Not only moms should bank with us, but grandparents should too.
Tell us some of the local organizations that The First Bank of Greenwich supports.
There are so many: Abilis, the Undies Project, Adopt-a-Dog, GEMS, the Historical Society, and Silver Shields, to name a few.
Here is a big one — How has Covid-19 changed the way the bank does business? What has been your biggest challenge? What are you proud of?
Frank: Because of Covid-19, we closed our bank lobbies, so we have no customers inside the bank. We also had to cancel several large events. I am very proud that we did so many PPP loans for customers and local businesses. We worked hard to get as many loans approved as possible. We have been pro-active, rather than reactive on everything.
Emily: I would say we haven’t missed a beat. We are as busy as ever. We go out of our way for our customers, offering curbside banking, night drops, banking by email or over the phone. We just opened a Walk Up Window for people who want to see us in person, or who find the line at the Drive Up too long. Our customers are used to spending time with us, chatting about developments in their lives and in the community.
Tell us about yourself. Do you live in town? What led you to the banking business?
All 45 members of the banking staff live in Westchester and Fairfield. Frank lives in Westchester, but spends the work-week in Greenwich, both at the bank and at community events. He receives countless emails and phone calls every day from customers of the bank. Frank began his career as an accountant, which led to mortgage banking. He joined The First Bank of Greenwich 12 years ago because he had so many clients in the area and wanted to be part of a community bank.
When Covid-19 is finally contained, what do you most look forward to?
We can’t wait to interact in person with our customers, without masks, doors, or screens. We want to continue hosting events, as soon as we can do so safely.
Besides the Cos Cob, Port Chester and Stamford locations, do you have plans to further expand the bank’s footprint in the area?
Greenwich Branch Headquarters
444 East Putnam Ave
Cos Cob, CT 06807
203 – 629 – 8400
900 Summer Street
Stamford, CT 06905
203 – 413 – 6101
500 Westchester Ave
Port Chester, NY 10573
914 – 908 – 5444