News & Views
GRB Ranked #23 in Rochester Top 100
GRB joins twelve clients on the list of Rochester’s fastest growing, privately held companies. The Democrat & Chronicle interviewed Phil Pecora as part of their Top 100 coverage.
The Rochester Top 100, which annually recognizes the fastest-growing privately held companies in the nine-county region, is sponsored by the Rochester Business Alliance and KPMG. Here is an interview with Philip L. Pecora, president and CEO of Genesee Regional Bank.
How did Genesee Regional Bank get started in 1996, given the backdrop of local banks being swallowed in larger and larger consolidations?
Our founders started GRB for this very reason. The bank consolidation wave left a void in our community where there was no longer a locally headquartered institution focused on serving the Rochester market.
How would you describe your market? Can you tell us a little about your size, number of locations, etc.?
GRB serves a fairly targeted market. We offer "plain vanilla" core banking products to local businesses and to the individuals who make up those businesses. We have three offices and approximately $230 million in assets. We are not branch builders, but rather we believe strongly in leveraging the latest technology with the highest level of personal service to satisfy our clients' banking needs.
Genesee Regional recently gave a small business seminar on branding. Why is branding so important for a bank?
In the early stages of our development, we quickly understood the importance of consistently delivering on what we promise to our clients and prospects. Too often, companies spend large sums on marketing but fail to deliver on what they are advertising. At GRB, we have five core brand concepts that all our employees know and live. Delivering on those is a key driver of our success.
What sets your bank apart from other locally owned financial institutions?
GRB is the only commercial bank headquartered in Rochester and focused only on serving the greater Rochester area. Furthermore, GRB is privately owned by a small group of local entrepreneurs who have a vested interest in the prosperity of our immediate region. No other financial institution can make that claim.
Why do you think credit unions are so popular in this region, and what do you do, if anything, to protect your market share against them?
Credit unions are popular in this region for many of the same reasons that have made GRB successful in a relatively short period of time: They are typically dedicated to a specific community or group. GRB does not really compete directly with the traditional credit unions because they are focused on serving individuals within their specific group.
We keep hearing credit is tighter than ever, particularly for small businesses. How has the credit crunch affected Genesee Regional?
Tighter credit is a relative concept. Extension of credit was very loose prior to the recent "bust," so some tightening was necessary to create the proper balance. Larger banks were forced to tighten more severely because, in general, they had much greater exposure to the economy's collapse. Intimately knowing our market and our clients allowed us to avoid the pitfalls. As a result, we have stayed the course and have consistently grown through the financial crisis.
Don't tell our unemployed friends, but the recession is supposedly over. Do you see signs of improvement?
It is more difficult for us to gauge the broader economic climate because in our region we never enjoyed the expansion nor suffered the pain of retraction to the degree that other parts of the country did. That said, any recovery that may be taking place is very tepid and won't be seen in the job market any time soon. Companies are taking a very cautious posture on the future.
How did Genesee Regional Bank grow despite tough financial times?
Our growth has always been a market-share game. The ability to "rise with the tide" has not existed here for a few decades now, so every revenue we earn is from establishing relationships with companies and folks that are being underserved by our competitors. Despite the difficult financial times, there are countless successful businesses and entrepreneurs in our area that GRB currently shares or hopes to share a relationship with.
Due to the recession, bankers now seem as unpopular as lawyers and journalists. What advice would you give to a young person about work in banking? Flee or jump in?
Jump in! Banking is a rewarding career. With the right approach, a good banking relationship is one of the key elements to a business' success or an individual's prosperity.
We'd like to know a little more about you personally. If you weren't at home or at work, where would we be likely to run into you and what would you be doing?
My wife Karin and I are blessed with three young children, ages 7, 4 and 2, so as you can imagine, a good deal of time revolves around them. As they get older, I look forward to including them in on some of the pastimes I enjoy like golfing, boating and fly fishing.
Diana Louise Carter, Democrat & Chronicle