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Welcome to the GRBblog! Get to know GRB, Rochester's only locally owned and managed commercial bank. A commercial bank, but also a community bank, with an entrepreneurial spirit about everything we do. We're committed to Growing Rochester Business and making our community a better place to live and work.

The GRBblog is where we post bank news and information, stories about the great organizations we support, and share relevant local and national business news.

Recent blog posts

Posted by on in GRB Mortgage

On March 12, GRB Mortgage had a table at the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors' annual Agents Fair. It was a great opportunity for our mortgage team to strengthen relationships with local Realtors and make new ones. 


GRB was also the sponsor for the Women's Council of Realtors National Speaker. This year's speaker was Craig Grant, founder of the Real Estate Technology Institute.


20150312 agents fair photos

Tagged in: GRAR mortgage Realtors
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Posted by on in GRB Mortgage

In a recent article in the Democrat & Chronicle, GRB Mortgage Originator and Assistant Vice President Mike Davis talked about the bank's Conventional Plus mortgage product. 


"Realizing that lack of cash and tight budgets may be deterring some buyers, Genesee Regional Bank launched a Conventional Plus Mortgage, Davis says. One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to buying a home is the amount it requires for closing and the monthly payment, Davis says.


The Conventional Plus loan at GRB requires the same 3 percent down that a FHA loan does, but the amount for Private Mortgage Insurance is significantly less, with a buyer being able to save up to 40 percent based on his or her credit score. But the interest rate will be slightly higher, Davis explains.


On a 30-year loan of $125,000, which is the median existing home price in the 11-county Rochester region, a conventional loan may charge interest rates of 3.875 percent, while FHA at 3.75 percent and GRB's Conventional Plus is at 4.125 percent. The PMI payments will be around $135 a month for FHA, $88 for conventional and $79 for Conventional Plus, Davis explains.


There are caveats to qualify for GRB's Conventional Plus loan such as having to meet income requirements and credit score minimums. The credit score should be above 620 and the income for an individual cannot exceed $69,500, Davis says. You do not need to be a first-time home buyer to qualify, Davis says."


Click here for more information about GRB's Conventional Plus or other mortgage products. 



Mike Davis at desk

Mike Davis discusses loan options with first-time home buyer Marcy Pontius, 27, of Rochester.

Democrat & Chronicle photo by Kate Melton. 

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Posted by on in GRB News

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides loans, loan guarantees, couseling, and other resources to small businesses, helping them start or grow. GRB works with the SBA to provide clients more options for their financing needs. 


Virginia Smith, the Rochester SBA branch manager, visited GRB today to present us with the Bronze Award, for participating in over $1 million in the bank guarantee program for fiscal year 2014 (ended 9/30/14). On hand to receive the award were Senior Vice Presidents Paul Kaiser and Dave Halladay.


Some statistics about GRB's 2014 involvement with the SBA:


  • GRB completed 22 SBA loans for a total of $2.7 million.
  • GRB ranks 6th in the Rochester market for number of loans approved
  • GRB ranks 9th in the market for total dollar amount of loans approved. 


Virginia Smith of the SBA; Paul Kaiser and Dave Halladay of GRB.


Tagged in: SBA
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Posted by on in GRB Mortgage

As of Monday, November 24, the entire GRB Mortgage department will be located at GRB's headquarters at 190 Linden Oaks. 


Our team of originators, underwriters, processors, and closers are now under one roof. This in-house, local decision making means a quick turnaround time for mortgages. Learn more here.  

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Posted by on in Community

GRB employees, clients, and friends gathered together 113 Thanksgiving food baskets as part of the 2014 SBC Cares Thanksgiving Appeal. Coordinated by the Rochester Small Business Council, food baskets are delivered to local orgnizations in need, including Sojourner House, YWCA, Veterans Outreach Center, Baden Street Settlement, Alternatives for Battered Women, and more. Well over 2,000 baskets will be donated by local companies this year. 


We are proud of our employees for stepping up and providing so much for local families in need this holiday season! Thanks to Paul Kaiser and Julie Thaney at GRB for organizing this effort. 




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Posted by on in GRB News

GRB was honored as an Outstanding Corporate Volunteer Group at the 2014 Greater Rochester Awards, sponsored by the Rochester Business Journal and the United Way. We were nominated for this award by the Mary Cariola Childrens' Center.


Mary Cariola is one of the organizations GRB has chosen to support not only financially, but with our employees' volunteer time. We've enjoyed helping out with their annual Beach Party for the kids, with school supply drives, by grilling hotdogs and hamburgers at school picnics, and raising a team for the annual Walking on Sunshine event. Dave Cushman, a Community Relationship Manager, has served on the Walking on Sunshine committee. 


The Rochester Business Journal and the United Way of Greater Rochester present the Greater Rochester Awards, which celebrate the exceptional work done by our community’s human services sector. The awards, given in several categories, honor non-profit staff members, executives, volunteers and programs that make our community a better place to live.




L to R: Dave Cushman, GRB; Karen Zandi, Mary Cariola President & CEO;  Linda Henning, Mary Cariola; Joanne Fisher, Mary Cariola.



GRB attendees included, L to R, Alex Broccuto II, Paul Keenan, Dave Cushman, Ami Panipinto, and Gary Schwingel.

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Posted by on in Community

The Greece Chamber announced today the finalists for its annual Small Business and Microenterprise of the Year Awards. GRB is proud to be the presenting sponsor of these awards that honor the best of the Greece business community.


Small business finalists: 

  • AP Plumbing
  • Bartolomeo & Perotto Funeral Home, Inc.
  • Ridgemont Country Club


Microenterprise finalists:

  • Critic's on the Mall
  • Danc'letics of Rochester
  • North Greece Physical Therapy


Winners will be announced at a November 6 luncheon at the Greece Marriott. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. 

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Posted by on in GRB News

Home Depot has confirmed that their payment data systems were breached, affecting customers who used a credit or debit card at their US or Canada stores from April to September 2014. 


GRB is proactively working with our fraud detection system to ensure the safety of our customers' account information. We advise our clients to be cautious and aware of the security of their personal information online. Some best practices for enhancing your online security can be found on our website.


Visit Home Depot’s website for more information on the security breach, and the free identity protection services Home Depot is offering to affected customers. 

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GRB's CFO Gary Schwingel and Commercial Relationship Manager, Rich Owens, both RIT alums, golfed at the Saunders College of Business Alumni golf tournament on June 9. GRB was also the dinner sponsor. The tournament raised over $10,000 for the college's Recent Alumni Scholarship.


From left: Gary Schwingel, Rich Owens, RITchie, and two GRB guests.




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Posted by on in Community

On May 29, more than 20 employees from Genesee Regional Bank joined ten thousand others at RIT for the 24th annual Chase Corporate Challenge. This year's race beneficiary was Hillside Work Scholarship Connection. We're proud to play a part in one of the largest fundraisers in Rochester.


Team GRB



GRB President & CEO, Phil Pecora (L); VP & Residential Mortgage Manager, Armando Capuano (R)



Tagged in: Corporate Challenge
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Posted by on in Community

GRB was the proud recipient of the Corporate Volunteer of the Year award at Mary Cariola Children's Center annual dinner this week. Dave Cushman and Kevin Flanagan received the award on GRB's behalf, and a number of other employees were on hand as well. 


Mary Cariola is one of the organizations GRB has chosen to support not only financially, but with our employees' volunteer time. We've enjoyed helping out with their annual Beach Party for the kids, with a school supply drive, by grilling hotdogs and hamburgers at school picnics, and raising a team for the annual Walking on Sunshine event.


Dave Cushman and Kevin Flanagan



Kevin Flanagan, Audrey Fletcher, Rich Owens, and Dave Cushman

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Posted by on in GRB News

You might be aware of recent news headlines regarding the Heartbleed bug, which may compromise encryption used by some websites and allow for personal identification information to be stolen.


Please be assured that GRBonline and Virtual Check Deposit are not affected by the current OpenSSL vulnerability.


As a best practice, we advise our clients to be cautious and aware of the security of their personal information online. Some steps you can take to enhance your online security are:


  • Change the passwords you use for your GRBonline account.
  • Make sure you use unique user names and passwords for each of your online accounts.
  • Protect your user name and password information. Don’t store this information next to your computer.
  • Keep a close eye on your accounts. Enroll in GRBonline and check your accounts frequently.
  • Protect your account information, as well as all other personal identification information, such as your Social Security number, birthdate, or any other personal information. Never provide this information to someone who contacts you by telephone or email requesting this information.


Review Online Transaction Safety for more helpful information.

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Posted by on in GRB News

For the second time, GRB has won a Best of the Web award in the banking/finance category at the RBJ's annual event. We previously won in 2011. Many thanks to our marketing agency, Mason Marketing, for designing the website.


The judges commented that the photos and quotes from our clients and employees "humanized" the bank, and that information was easy to find. Marketing Manager Kate Jacus was on hand to receive the award at the annual event. 



Tagged in: Best of the Web RBJ
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Posted by on in GRB Employees

Chief Lending Officer Dave Halladay was quoted in an RBJ article about business refinancing. As interest rates begin to rise, businesses with variable rate loans are looking at refinancing to a fixed rate. The article examined the closer relationship commercial borrowers have with their lenders; it's much less transactional than for peple refinancing homes. 


"A certain component of [refinaning] is interest-rate driven, but it really comes down to what's going on in an individual business and where they are in the business cycle," Halladay says.  Since businesses' capital needs evlolve as they change and grow, it is imperative that commercial lenders are regularly connecting with their borrowers. 



Read the full article here

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Posted by on in Community

GRB is proud to be a sponsor of the Pittsford Chamber of Commerce's Business Person of the Year event, honoring restaurateur Charlie Fitzsimmons. Charlie's successful local restaurants include Black & Blue, Jo Jo, Village Bakery, and TRATA. 


The award dinner will be held at Monroe Golf Club on March 13, 2014 from 5:30 - 8pm. It's open to the public and tickets are $35/$25 PCC members. More information on the Pittsford Chamber's website


Congrats to Charlie for this well deserved award!


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Posted by on in Community

The Greece Chamber of Commerce sent word today that their 2014 Small Business of the Year, American Custom Exteriors, and their 2014 Microenterprise of the Year, Christie Carpets, were selected as U. S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Award winners. 


The U. S. Chamber notes that the Blue Ribbon Award is a program that recognizes companies for their dedication to the principles of free enterprise and contributions to restoring jobs and supporting economic growth. This year's winners were selected from a record number of applicants across the nation, and each demonstrates exceptional business practices in areas including strategic planning, employee development, community involvement, and customer service. 


There are just 100 Blue Ribbon Award winners annually.  You can read the U. S. Chamber's full press release here, and see the full list of winners here.


GRB is proud to be the headline sponsor of the Greece Chamber's Small Business and Microenterprise of the Year Awards, and we congratulate American Custom Exteriors and Christie Carpets for their well-deserved national recognition! 






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Posted by on in GRB News

GRB is excited to announce that we are a finalist in the Rochester Business Journal's annual Best of the Web awards. 



We have some tough competition. The award breakfast is March 13. Stay tuned to see if we win!

Tagged in: Best of the Web RBJ
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Posted by on in Community

Personal Finance site NerdWallet recently released a study that named Rochester as #10 in consumer banking options out of the 100 largest U.S. cities.  Original post: "Ten Best Cities for Consumer Banking 2014."


Selecting cities based on the diversity of banking options, average savings account interest earnings, fees charged, and branch accessibility, among other criteria. Cincinnati tops the list. 


GRB gets a mention in the ranking list


Rochester makes its first appearance on this annual list in part by being home to a high number of bank and credit union branches. There are more than 70 branches per 100,000 residents operating within the city, meaning that residents have more ready access to in-person financial services. Even local institutions like Genesee Regional Bank offer a number of physical branches to help reach consumers. Rochester's ranking is also helped by a lower than average monthly checking fee, at approximately $8.24. 



Tagged in: Rochester
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Posted by on in GRB News

As you may know, there was a data breach on some credit and debit cards used at Target stores between November 27, 2013 and December 15, 2013. GRB customers who made a card transaction at Target during those dates may be affected. 


We encourage you to monitor your credit card and bank account activity on a regular basis for suspicious transactions. If you discover any unusual activity, be sure to report it immediately to your financial institution.  


To monitor your GRB account(s), you can use your monthly statements, or review them more frequently using GRBonline. If you suspect that there has been unauthorized activity on your GRB account, please contact us immediately. Call 585-249-1540 between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, or visit a GRB branch location. To report fraud during non-business hours, please call 585-662-9133. 

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Posted by on in Community

For the 18th year, the Rochester Small Business Council sponsored SBC Cares, a food drive to bring more than 2000 local families with a Thanksgiving meal. This is one of our favorite volunteer efforts during the year, and GRB, along with our partner, Calkins Road Middle School, was proud to supply 81 baskets of food. 



GRB food baskets collected before delivery.




Loaded up for delivery!


Several GRB employees volunteered their time on Saturday, November 23, to deliver the baskets to organizations including YWCA, Catholic Charities, Veterans Outreach Center, ALternative for Battered Women, Sojourner House, and the Open Door Mission. 


Check out this great video about the 2013 food drive! 








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Posted by on in GRB News

Genesee Regional Bank is pleased to announce the addition of 40 new employees to our Residential Mortgage team. These industry veterans are former employees of First Rochester Mortgage and divisions, Eastcap Mortgage and CenterPointe Mortgage.  The company’s founder, Armando Capuano, will become Vice President and Manager of Residential Mortgage Lending at GRB.


“Adding such depth to our team is testament to GRB’s continued growth and the strong opportunity in the local residential marketplace,” says Phil Pecora, GRB President & CEO.  “We have served hundreds of clients since we started our residential mortgage department six years ago, and look forward to our substantially increased capacity.”  In 2012, First Rochester and its divisions originated $200 million in local mortgage volume.


GRB’s mortgage team offers a high level of personal service, with quick lending decisions made locally. 


“My team and I are excited about joining another growing organization focused on serving the local community, says Capuano. “Both First Rochester Mortgage and GRB have been Rochester Top 100 companies, and we anticipate continued growth now that our employees are working together.”


The new GRB MortgageTM offices are located at 919 Winton Rd. S. and 2024 W. Henrietta Rd., Suite 2A.  More information here.  and read the RBJ article here



Tagged in: mortgage
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Posted by on in GRB News

We are excited to announce that GRB has been ranked #73 on the 2013 Rochester Top 100 list. Our consistent growth has helped us place on the list five out of the last seven years. Thanks to our clients and partners for helping us achieve this honor.


The annual program of the Rochester Business Alliance Inc. and KPMG LLP spotlights the region's fastest-growing private companies, based on dollar and percentage revenue increases over the past three fiscal years, with a minimum of $1 million in annual sales required. 


Read the RBJ's coverage here and the RBA's online database of Top 100 companies here



Tagged in: RBA RBJ Top 100
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Posted by on in GRB Employees

We are recognizing our Personal Bankers and all they do for GRB, in celebration of National Tellers' Appreciation Week. We consider our Personal Banking team more than tellers; they handle routine transactions, but also work to build relationships with our clients. Kudos to our Greece and Pittsford branch Personal Bankers for the high level of customer service they provide day in and day out. 


Linda Makowiecki, manager of the Greece branch, notes that the Personal Bankers exemplify GRB's trait of "Remarkable Customer Service," and that she is proud to be part of the team.


Pittsford branch manager Ben Norton echoes those sentiments, adding that the team always goes the extra mile to make customers feel welcome, doing whatever it takes to help meet their financial needs. 



Greece branch


Pittsford branch

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Posted by on in Community

GRB's Community Involvement Committee has chosen the Mary Cariola Children's Center as a beneficiary of bank-supported volunteer time. Giving back to the community, not only financially, is important to the bank.


GRB volunteers have helped Mary Cariola staff put on their annual Beach Party, grilled hot dogs and burgers for a summer picnic, collected back to school supplies for the kids, and sponsored a team for Walking on Sunshine, the Center's largest fundraiser.


Thanks to Mary Cariola for some press about our volunteering in their Autumn 2013 newsletter!


Some members of Team GRB at the Walking on Sunshine event on 9/28/13.

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Posted by on in Community

GRB fielded two teams for the Rochester Marathon relay on September 22. Nancy Maynard, a GRB Commercial Relationship Manager, serves on the board of the local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, the organization that puts on the marathon. 


Along with our running teams, we were proud to support the Arthritis Foundation by being a sponsor of the Friends & Family tent at the finish line.


Congrats to all who participated!



GRB runners Nancy Maynard, Tim Levine, Harrison Taylor, & Stephanie Marks

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Posted by on in GRB Board

GRB board member John LiDestri is highlighted in the Fall issue of Wegmans' Menu magazine.  


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Posted by on in Community

GRB is proud to support several events for Camp Good Days and Special Times. Stephanie Marks and Jessica Halladay, daughter of Dave Halladay, volunteered at the Just Clowning Around 5K on July 13. 


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Recently, GRB took to the golf course - not for a round with clients, but for a photo shoot for an upcoming ad. GRB President Phil Pecora played the part of caddy to Colm Murphy, who runs Webster Golf Club. Our new ad highlights GRB's special level of personal service. 


The photography was done by John Smillie and the ad designed and produced by Mason Selkowitz Marketing. 


Here are some behind-the-scene shots!





And here is the final ad, to be run in the Rochester Business Journal, Rochester Magazine, and Midtown's Spirit Magazine.




Tagged in: advertising golf
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Posted by on in GRB Employees

On May 21, GRB runners and walkers participated in the annual Rochester JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. The beneficiary of this year's event was the YMCA of Greater Rochester, an organization GRB is also proud to support. 




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Posted by on in GRB News

GRB is pleased to announce that it has been named one of the 50 Best Companies to Work for in New York State for 2013. The bank earned the #7 spot on the list of 30 small/medium companies.


Phil Pecora, President & CEO, says, "Inclusion on this list is a testament to the strong culture we've built, with our employees focused on delivering an unparalleled level of service to our clients, and to each other. This has truly been the main driver of our success."


Created in 2007, these annual awards are a program that evaluates and ranks the best places of employment based on employee satisfacton and engagement, as well as workplace practices and policies.


To be considered for participation, companies had to enter into a two-part survey process and fulfill the following eligibility requirements:  

  • Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity.
  • Be a publicly or privately held business.
  • Have at least one facility in the state of New York.
  • Have a minimum of 15 employees working in the state of New York.
  • Be in business a minimum of 1 year.


GRB was honored at a public awards dinner at the Albany Marriott on Tuesday, April 30, 2013.  Four employees represented GRB at the dinner, and shared a table with another Rochester winner, Pharos Systems. 



GRB and Pharos Systems employees head to Albany.


Jean Gardner, HR Manager, receives our award.





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