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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

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Mark Gentile, a senior technical director at Symantec Corp., is highlighted in a Democrat & Chronicle article about entrepreneurship. Gentile sold his company, Odyssey Software, to Symantec last year.

 

From the article:

 

Back in the mid-1990s, when Mark Gentile was starting his software business, potential investors reminded him that many startups fail. They asked about his backup plan.

 

“Naively, I said, ‘Failure is not an option.’ And everyone kind of chuckled,” said Gentile [...].

 

His attitude epitomized the confidence and spirit that permeates the world of entrepreneurship, where men and women risk everything to pursue their dream. They have a drive and a decisive ability that separates them from the rest of us nine to fivers, according to experts.

 

Gentile goes on to talk about the persistence and passion that drove his success.

 

Read the full article here.

Tagged in: entrepreneur
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Posted by on in Community

In early January, GRB fielded a team at the Second Annual Rochester-area CPA Firms Sand Volleyball tournament. We got the added benefit of supporting our client, Hot Shots Volleyball Club. Proceeds benefitted Flower City Habitat for Humanity.

 

Our team lost a close match in the first round of playoffs, but nonetheless had a fun day. Thanks to Ami Panipinto for organizing GRB's team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GRB was deeply saddened by the shooting of four West Webster firefighters and the displacement of a number of Webster residents whose homes were destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve. A number of our employees and clients live and work in Webster, so we wanted to do something to show our support for that community.

 

The weekend of the funerals for Firefighters Chiapperini and Kaczowka, GRB donated eight hotel rooms at the Webster Holiday Inn Express for firefighters attending the funerals. Clients of GRB, including Zeller Corporation and Progressive Machine also donated rooms.

 

Our thoughts continue to go out to the families of the firefighters and everyone affected by this tragedy.

 

#WWFD is the hashtag that has permeated social media sites to mark information about the West Webster Fire Department. Our donation was mentioned on a Facebook page that serves as a clearinghouse for those wanting to help.

 

 

 

 

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Pam Sherman, author of the popular "Suburban Outlaw" column and blog for the Democrat & Chronicle, recently profiled local restauranteur Charlie Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons owns several restaurants, including Black & Blue Steak & Crab, Jo Jo Bistro & Wine Bar (both with outposts in Buffalo as well), the Village Bakery in Pittsford village. His most recent venture is TRATA, the Restaurant at the Armory, in the newly developed Culver Road Armory.

 

Read Sherman's article here.

Tagged in: entrepreneur
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Posted by on in Community

With the help of employees, clients, and friends, GRB donated 44 baskets of food for Thanksgiving meals to the Small Business Council's annual SBC Cares food drive.

 

 

The SBC exceeded their 2012 goal of collecting 1000 baskets, delivering 1061 baskets, worth over $50,000, to local organizations.

 

Carolyn Thaney, daughter of GRB Executive Assistant Julie Thaney, raised $675 at Calkins Road Middle School to help GRB collect an additional 13 baskets.

 

GRB employees and their families were among the volunteers on Saturday, Novmebr 17, who delivered the baskets to Sojourner House, Mercy Residential Services, Wilson Commencement Park, Veterans Outreach Center, The Community Place, Catholic Charities, YWCA, Alternatives for Battered Women, Baden Street Settlement, and the Open Door Mission.

 

Thanks to all who helped us and the SBC surpass donation goals, providing over one thousand local families with the supplies for a holiday dinner.

 

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Marissa Kaiser, daughter of GRB SVP Paul Kaiser, delivering baskets.

 

L to R: Carolyn Thaney, Marissa Kaiser, Julie Thaney, Trevor Kaiser, Paul Kaiser delivering baskets for SBC Cares.

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Posted by on in Community

Congratulations to the 2012 winners of the Greece Chamber's Small Business of the Year Awards!

 

Small Business of the Year: Caring for Cats Veterinary Hospital

 

Microenterprise of the Year: The Victors Gymnastics, Inc.

 

Winners were announced at the annual award luncheon, held today at the Greece Marriott. GRB is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this event since its inception four years ago.

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Posted by on in GRB News

GRB Manager of Human Resources, Jean Gardner, was quoted in an August 2012 Rochester Business Journal Article on the state of hiring in the local financial services sector.

 

Despite some challenging economic times over the past few years, local financial institutions continue to grow and add employees, including GRB.

 

Gardner notes, "Community banking is a people business, so our growth requires us to continuously recruit talented individuals to service our clients and ensure quality in our operations." She also discusses the bank's hiring strategy and what we look for in candidates.

 

Read the full article here, and connect with Jean here.

 

 

Tagged in: hiring RBJ
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Posted by on in GRB News

In his regular column, On Performance, for the Rochester Business Journal, Brand Integrity's Gregg Lederman writes about the importance of branding and company culture to drive performance and profits.

 

The October 26, 2012 column suggested using a 60-second reminder to keep company values top of mind, with employees "living" them on a daily basis. As Lederman mentions in the article, in 2011, GRB worked with Brand Integrity to refresh our values, add actionable behaviors, and created the GRB Experience:

 

  • Lead by Example (how we do our best work)
  • Unified Team (how we depend on each other)
  • Remarkable Client Experience (how we delight our clients)

 

These values are what GRB employees strive to deliver to both each other and our clients every day. The 60-second reminder that we use here is regularly scheduled meeting agenda items. At weekly meetings, managers from all departments discuss with their teams the tenets of our values, or examples of the values in action.

 

In no small part because of this weekly attention to our values, GRB's scores on an employee survey of how consistently the behaviors were delivered increased almost 10%. Sixty seconds a week, worked into already existing meetings, is strengthening our brand because our employees are actively engaged with it.

 

Read Gregg's full column here.

 

 

Tagged in: GRB Experience RBJ
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Posted by on in Community

The Empire State Lyric Theatre announced expansion plans last week, becoming Rochester Lyric Opera.

 

GRB is a proud supporter of Rochester Lyric Opera, and we look forward to this newly formed organization putting on an even more exciting Chamber Opera Festival in April, 2013.

 

Tickets for all Rochester Lyric Opera events can be purchased at the three GRB locations.

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Posted by on in Sponsorships

The Greece Chamber of Commerce has announced the finalists for the 4th Annual Small Business of the Year and 2nd Annual Microenterprise awards.

 

Finalists for Small Business of the Year:

  • American Custom Exteriors & Interiors
  • Caring for Cats Veterinary Hospital
  • Deborah L. Fox, DDS

 

Finalists for Microenterprise of the Year:

  • Bansbach, Zoghlin, P.C.
  • Benefit Representatives of America
  • The Victors Gymnastics & Cheerleading

 

GRB is proud to be the presenting sponsor of these awards, as we have been since their inception four years ago. This event highlights outstanding business owners in Greece, and celebrates the strong business community there.

 

The luncheon and awards ceremony is Friday, November 16 from 11:45am - 1:30pm at the Greece Marriott. Register online here.

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Posted by on in GRB News

GRB is pleased to announce that we have received a Silver Award from the Small Business Administration (SBA), for the fiscal year ending Septemebr 30, 2012. This places us third among local banks who participate in SBA programs. 

 

The Silver Award recognizes instutitions who have produced over $5 million in SBA-guaranteed loans.

 

Partnering with lenders and providing loan guarantees, SBA programs provide much needed capital to small businesses. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information on how GRB can utilize the SBA to grow your business.  

Tagged in: SBA small business
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Posted by on in GRB News

The Rochester Top 100 recognizes the fast-growing privately held companies in the Rochester region. GRB is proud to have been included in the Top 100 for the past 3 years, ranking 41st in 2011. CEO Phil Pecora discusses GRB's strategy and the current banking environment in a recent interview with the Democrat & Chronicle.

 

Read the Democrat & Chronicle interview here.

Tagged in: Phil Pecora Top 100
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Posted by on in GRB Employees

GRB Senior Vice President for Commercial Lending, Paul Kaiser, is a featured panelist at the Small Business Council's inaugural Decision Makers' Forum on Tuesday, July 24.

 

The panel, Show Me the Money - Acquiring Capital for your Small Business, starts at 5:00pm at Midvale Country Club. John Halleran of Halleran Financial Group is the moderator; participants will break out into small group discussions with the panelists afterwards.

 

The Decision Makers' Forum is a new program from the SBC, offering business owners and senior managers the chance to engage with and learn from local experts, on a variety of critical business topics. SBC members are $30; $45 for nonmembers. For more information, see their website or contact Cindy DeVoldre at 256-4619.

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Posted by on in Community

Congratulations to Leann Hicks, CFO at Pharos Systems. She was honored today with the award for Financial Executive of the Year - Small Business Category at today's annual luncheon.

 

Co-presented by the Rochester chapter of Financial Executives International and the Rochester Business Journal, the award recognizes financial executives who have made outstanding contributions to their organizations and to the community during the past year.

 

Read the RBJ's article here.

 

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Local entrepreneur Ann Germanow believes no woman should have to choose between food for her family or feminine hygiene products. Every year, thousands of families across the United States apply for public assistance, yet these programs do not cover many personal care items.

 

With that in mind, Germanow, founder and CEO of Scensible Source, is organizing a "Pad Party" on Tuesday, May 15 from 6 - 8pm at Shear Ego Salon and Spa. With the aim of collecting feminine hygiene products to distribute to women in need, the Pad Party will also feature food, drinks, networking, and spa pampering.

 

Read the full article from herRochester.com. Click here for more information about the Pad Party.

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Posted by on in GRB News

Loans to Rochester small businesses are alive and well, reports the Democrat & Chronicle. Small Buiness Administation (SBA) lending in Rochester has been climbing, with 406 made in fiscal 2011, surpassing the 360 made in fiscal 2010.

 

For the current fiscal year, GRB was one of the banks that has doubled SBA loans made in the same time period last year.

Tagged in: Phil Pecora SBA
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Posted by on in Community

April is Community Banking Month, and GRB is getting the word out about the benefits of banking locally. This article, from the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, lists the top five reasons to choose a community bank (or credit union).

 

GRB lives up to all of these reasons, and proves that banking locally supports the Rochester community in many ways.

 

Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union

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Posted by on in GRB Board

Midtown Athletic Club's member magazine, Spirit, recently interviewed GRB Chairman Phil Saunders. In part one of a two-part article, Phil talkes about his first business, making water skis at age 16, and other ventures in transportation, distribution, and energy businesses. Part two will be published in next quarter's issue.

 

Read the full article here.

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Posted by on in GRB News

April is Community Banking Month, and Genesee Regional Bank (GRB) is celebrating the vital role that community banks serve in the economic, civil, and cultural life of their communities. This commemorative month is a program of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). 

 

“It is GRB’s mission as a community bank to help grow Rochester business,” said Phil Pecora, GRB President & CEO. “With our stable assets and local decision making, we have the flexibility to find creative solutions to small businesses’ financing needs. Building deep-rooted relationships with clients by offering highly personalized service and local economic expertise is part of the unique banking experience we provide.”

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Posted by on in GRB News

Thanks to a stable regional economy and a local customer base well-known to lenders, regional commercial lending standards have stayed the course since the 2008 financial crisis, reports the Rochester Business Journal.

 

Dave Halladay, senior vice president and GRB's chief lending officer, is quoted extensively in the article. "Customers who put expansions on hold are now looking to grow." He adds that GRB is making loans in sectors from manufacturing to sevices.

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The inaugural padde tennis tournament benefitting the EquiCenter, a GRB client, was a big success. Held at Midtown Athletic Club on Saturday, 3/3, close to 80 teams participated and many more enjoyed the traditional after party.

 

GRB was proud to be the headline sponsor, and some of our employees even volunteered to bartend at the party.

 

Jeana Aranzullo, Erin Stull, and Ami Panipinto bartending.

 

 

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Posted by on in Community

Continuing his contributions to the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester, GRB Chairman Phil Saunders was on hand to judge a pizza creation contest. Held at UNO Chicago Grill's Henrietta location on February 23, twenty kids from the Boys & Girls Club devised pizza recipes that were cooked by UNO chefs.

 

Photo courtesy of Henrietta Post.

Tagged in: Phil Saunders
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Adding another fundraiser to it's annual calendar, the EquiCenter's inaugural Paddles for Saddles paddle tennis tournament is Saturday, March 3. Sign up for men's or women's doubles; all levels welcome! 

 

Check out our banner at Midtown:

 

 

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Posted by on in Sponsorships

Empire State Lyric Theatre presents a chamber opera festival, March 2 - 4, 2012, and GRB is proud to be a major sponsor.

 

Susan Cotroneo, Executive Director, says that this festival is the first of its kind in the region. "Chamber opera is opera on a smaller scale; one act staged performances," she notes.  Even those new to opera will find these accessible and entertaining.

Tagged in: Rochester
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Posted by on in Sponsorships

GRB is proud to be a sponsor of one of our clients' events, the 5th Annual Meaghan's Hope 5K on April 21, 2012. Money raised supports the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and the Lipson Cancer Center, directed towards lung cancer research. Click here for race details and to register.

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Posted by on in Community

Duncan Moore, a University of Rochester professor, has written a great op-ed piece about Rochester in the New York Times. He notes that since we've nurtured a "fertile entrepreneurial class" through our universities and private/public partnerships, Rochester is thriving. Moore challenges local businesses to continue to invest in the community.

 

GRB is proud to embrace this enterpreneurial spirit and be a resource for companies who are doing just that.  

Tagged in: entrepreneur Rochester
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Posted by on in GRB Employees

Cathy Doran has been hired as a Senior Collateral & Documentation Specialist.  She previously worked for 6 years at RBS Citizens, NA as a Commercial Banking Loan Specialist. Cathy resides in Pittsford with her husband and 2 daughters.

 

Sharon Brownyard has been hired as Collateral and Documentation Specialist. She previously worked for Northwest Savings Bank for the past five and a half years in various capacities. Sharon resides in Irondequoit with her husband, Tom.

 

Nick Urbanik has joined GRB as Internal Bank Auditor at the Linden Oaks location. Nick previously worked at Deloitte & Touche as a Consultant and has 5 years of combined audit experience with Deloitte & Touche and Stewart Title. Nick resides in Brighton with his wife and two kids. 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in GRB Employees

Recently promoted to Portfolio Manager, Tim Levine is a true GRB success story.  He originally joined the bank in January, 2011 as a Credit Analyst Intern while completing his degree at St. John Fisher College.  Tim quickly mastered his position, and made significant contributions to the Commercial Credit team. 

 

 

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Posted by on in Community

According to an article on TheStreet.com, a financial news website, Rochester is one of 10 cities poised for greatness in 2012.

 

Tagged in: Rochester
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Posted by on in Community

Congratulations to Pactech Packaging, Monroe County's Business of the Month for November. Read the county's press release here.

Tagged in: SBA
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