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.
We live in an ever-changing digital landscape where one data breach can be devastating for you and your personal information.
This week marks the start of Data Privacy Week, an annual campaign that educates individuals and businesses about the importance of online privacy. To keep your data safe, it helps to know more about the ways it can be used and how you can protect it.
How Companies Leverage Your Data
Some of the top firms in the world built their empires on the data collected from our personal gadgets, electronic transaction history, and search histories. Personal data is also the foundation for millions of small businesses and innumerable startups, who use it to provide individualized digital services, market forecasts, and customer insights.
The commercial use of personal data has grown like wildfire in the last twenty years. But fortunately, the changing tides of public opinion are putting data privacy into the forefront of social consciousness.
The Trend Toward Additional Data Privacy Protections
While we are not safe from all digital attacks, especially from criminal organizations and professional hackers, private organizations are slowly losing their grip over the data stored on their platforms. Selling data such as spending habits, high traffic times, and time per page was acceptable in the recent past. Today, that information is often protected as personal data.
This is not to say that the companies who collect this data are suddenly trustworthy. But the convergence of consumer mistrust, government action, and market competition is forcing their collective hands. The trend is in favor of more protections for consumer data consumer data.
Be Aware of Privacy Policies
Increasingly, consumers have the ability to take control of their data and how it’s used. Consent is key with data allowances and what users agree to in terms and conditions agreements will be what dictates how even the largest online companies can use, store and protect your data.
Reading through those agreements and understanding what you agree to is more critical than ever. Often, that agreement is all that holds online companies to enforceable codes.
Protect Your Data
New year. New goals. When planning out your next 12 months, don’t forget to consider your financial wellness and what steps can be taken to strengthen your financial health. Get started with theses three simple, but crucial steps to help make 2023 a financially fantastic year.
Saving more is something we all say we will do every time the ball drops on the New Year’s. But budgeting and setting achievable goals for yourself can help that plan become a reality. By next year, you’ll be able to put yourself in a better financial positon. Start by increasing your 401(k) contribution, setting up transfers to high-yield accounts, and simply being more aware of your spending. Use an app to track spending categories or try a Certificates of Deposit (CD) to save money and help combat inflation.
Prioritize your Credit
If you have less than stellar credit (score of under 670), improving your credit should be high on your financial to-do list. Your credit score has a significant impact on your ability to obtain loans at a competitive interest rate. Paying down and paying off credit cards and other debt can raise your score. Keep paying bills on time and in full, set up autopay, and pay off long-standing debt. Doing that consistently will raise your score and boost your credit health. Look for additional tools that can help you understand which credit cards and other debt should be paid first to provide the biggest boost to your financial health.
Build a Budget – and Stick to It
Budgets can at times feel constricting. But tracking your spending, and knowing how much you have to spend, is critical to meeting long-term financial goals. A clear budget sets you up for success by actively monitoring how much you have available to save and spend. Starting with your fixed expenses and working out from there allows you to stay in control of your spending while being able to see where your money is going each month.
For more tips and tools on building financial strength in the 2023, go to GRB’s Financial Wellness page.
Genesee Regional Bank (GRB) is pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with a Gold Award for its small business lending activities for the period from Oct. 2021 through Oct. 2022.
GRB accepts the U.S. Small Business Administration Gold Award from the U.S. SBA. From left, Commercial Credit Manager Stacey Szabo, Commercial Relationship Manager Ian McLeod, SBA Rochester Branch Manager Virginia Smith, Chief Lending Officer Timothy Jones, Commercial Banking Team Lead Sam Gueli, Chief Credit Officer Randall Cardon, and Commercial Services Manager Cathy Doran.
Commercial Relationship Manager Ian McLeod receives the 2022 individual SBA Spark Award. From left, Chief Credit Officer Randall Cardon, Ian McLeod, and Chief Lending Officer Timothy Jones.
The bank closed 28 SBA loans totaling more than $10 million. According to the SBA, those loans supported 700 jobs in our community.
We are also proud to announce that Commercial Relationship Manager Ian McLeod received the SBA’s individual Spark Award for his extraordinary efforts in bringing in nearly half of GRB’s SBA loans last year.
Congratulations to the entire GRB Commercial lending team and a special shout out to Ian McLeod!
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced new maximum conforming loan limits for 2023.
Conforming Loan Limits for 2023
In Central and Western New York:
The maximum conforming FHFA loan limit for one-unit properties will be $726,200. This is an increase of $79,000 over the 2022 limits.
Multi-family property conforming limits also increased. Two-family properties are up to $929,850 and three-unit homes are up to $1,123,900. The new limit for four-unit properties is $1,396,800.
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) requires that the baseline conforming loan limit be adjusted each year for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The adjustment reflects changes in the average U.S. home price. The percentage increase in the maximum conforming loan limit follows the Housing Price Index for the prior four quarters.
“The annual FHFA adjustment is an important tool for homebuyers,” said GRB’s SVP, Residential Mortgage Manager Mike Pulver. “The additional boost in limits provides better financing options for loans that would traditionally have fallen into the ‘jumbo’ category.”
For new loan applications or applications already in process, the loan amounts will be subject to 2022 limits as long as the loan closes by Dec. 31. Loans closing on Jan. 1 or after will fall under the 2023 limits.
FHA loan limits are expected to increase as well. We will post updates as they become available.
With more and more people shopping online for the holidays, Cyber Monday is setting up to be the largest fraud day of the year. We all love a deal during the holiday season, but no red tag is worth compromising your digital security.
SEON, an organization specializing in online fraud prevention, predicts that during the upcoming Black Friday weekend, cyber scams will be up more than 100 percent over a typical weekend. The company is forecasting that bots and fake profiles will play a major role in the fraud uptick.
With Americans expected to spend north of $10 billion this year on Cyber Monday, shoppers should follow a few basic rules to help keep their accounts secure as they snag great holiday deals:
1. Do your holiday shopping with reputable retailers
When it is possible, stick to big name retailers whose check out process is more likely to be highly secure. If you are shopping small this holiday season, go directly to the retailer’s website instead of buying through a third party.
2. Learn to spot holiday shopping scams.
It can be easy to look past red flags when you’re rushing to check out, but that is when a scam is most likely to hit. Take your time and if something seems too good to be true, trust yourself and verify it with the retailer before releasing any personal information.
3. Safeguard store accounts with strong passwords.
If you are creating accounts instead of checking out as a guest, make sure that the passwords associated are unique and strong. Avoid reusing passwords from other websites. Password managers can make it easy to create strong passwords and keep them all in a secure place.
4. Actively monitor your acccounts.
If yyou don’t typically use text and email notifications to monitor your accounts, this is a great time to start. Setting up real-time notifications can stop potential fraud quickly. For joint accountholders, talk to each other about where you plan to shop so you are both prepared to monitor charges.
5. Slow down on the click-thrus.
As purchase confirmations hit your email account on Cyber Monday, it’s tempting to click now and ask questions later. Remain vigilant. Take even more time to review the text in confirmation emails, especially if they ask you to click on a link, fill out a form, or provide additional personal information.
This holiday season keep yourself and your information safe, and if you suspect fraud contact your bank and report it as soon as possible. If you are concerned about other digital security issues, please go to our Security Resources page.
It is with great pride that we recognize VP, Risk Management Officer Megan Antonitto as a member of the Rochester Business Journal’s (RBJ) Forty Under 40 Class of 2022.
“This year’s award recipients join a long list of professionals who are changing the business landscape in Rochester and beyond,” noted RBJ Associate Publisher and Editor Ben Jacobs.
With more than 15 years of experience in accounting, auditing and financial services risk management, Megan is responsible for leading GRB’s comprehensive Risk Management and Compliance program. This includes managing the Bank’s interactions with its regulatory bodies on the state and federal level, including the New York State Department of Financial Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Megan holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in accounting and business from SUNY Geneseo, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a Certified Banking Information Security Officer, NAFCU Certified Risk Manager, Certified Internal Auditor, and a Certified Fiduciary & Investment Risk Specialist. Megan is a current Board Member of the Rochester, NY Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), a member of the Risk & Insurance Management Society (RIMS) – Upstate New York Chapter, and a member of the Association of Continuity Professionals. She remains focused on learning and is currently enrolled in the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Wharton Business School.
Passionate about volunteering and helping to build the Rochester community, Megan has been member of the United Way Emerging Leaders Society for more than a decade and currently sits on its advisory council. At GRB, she takes the lead in supporting the Bank’s fundraising efforts for the United Way Annual campaign and organizing volunteers for the annual United Way Day of Caring.
Stacey MichaelsWednesday, November 2, 2022GRB News
GRB is pleased to announce it was named no. 49 on the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce “2022 Top 100” list. GRB is the only bank on the Top 100 list.
To be eligible for the Top 100, businesses must be privately held, headquartered in the nine-county Rochester region, and have earned at least $1 million in revenue in each of the three most recent fiscal years. The Top 100 is computed based on revenue growth, taking into account both dollar and percentage growth.
We are also proud to note how many GRB customers and partners are on the Top 100. The exciting new ideas brought to market by newer companies on the list and the consistent growth of those who make the list year after year are a testament to the strength and innovative spirit of this region.
And a sincere thank you to our GRB employees. Your hard work and commitment to serving our customers made this achievement possible. We are happy to be recognized as part of the Top 100, but we continue to work hard to ensure Rochester continues to provide opportunities for individuals, families, and businesses. Today, we take some time to celebrate. But we know there is a lot of work still to be done. We love this community and look forward to supporting its growth!
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And the problem is only growing worse.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $5.8 billion to phishing scams and other fraud in 2021—an increase of more than 70 percent over 2020.
It’s time to put scammers in their place.
Look Before You Click
Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. And at Genesee Regional Bank, we’re committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.
We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know something sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.
Cybersecurity Awareness Red Flags
These four phishing scams are full of red flags:
Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks Never Ask That.
Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from your bank, but it’s a scam. Banks Never Ask That.
Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number. No! Banks Never Ask That. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.
Payment Apps: Beware of text messages from someone claiming to be your bank saying your account has been hacked. The scammer may ask you to send money to a new account they’ve created for you, but that’s a scam! Banks Never Ask That.
You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For tips, videos and an interactive game to help you keep phishing criminals at bay, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family to help them stay safe during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
It’s back to school time! As you make purchases or prepare a new user for the responsibility of having their own credit card, now is the perfect time to review common financial risks. Stay safe and protect your financial future with these quick tips.
Secure your devices
When you purchase a new device, don’t forget to install firewalls, anti-virus software, and spyware protection. Make sure to complete this process before you begin logging in to your favorite websites and shopping for supplies. Set up strong passwords and update them regularly to help mitigate threats to your private information and keep accounts secure.
Download updates regularly
For mobile devices, install updates for apps as they become available. This can be set up to be automated to ensure you always have the most up to date and secure version. App developers are constantly working to improve their code and create secure digital platforms for their customers. But if you are not running the most up-to-date software, you may be putting yourself at risk for a hack.
Use a digital wallet
Set up your smartphone to pay for purchases using a digital wallet. Digital wallet apps provide encryption, as well as additional security measures such as specific authorizations. PayPal is a digital wallet platform that offers another option for credit card security. The PayPal platform functions as a go-between, so online retailers do not gain access to your credit card information directly.
Set up transaction alerts
Turn on transaction alerts to notify you when your card is being used. It is simple and easy to set up through your banking app, and you can customize the parameters. Transaction alerts are an excellent way to monitor purchases and identify fraudulent ones quickly.
Report fraud right away
If a credit card is lost or stolen or you are notified of a fraudulent purchase, contact the card issuer right away. The faster fraud is reported the quicker financial agencies can react to protect you. Freeze the card (without reporting the card lost or stolen) by calling customer service or via the app or website. This immediately stops further purchases until you can sort things out. Time is of the essence in cases of credit card fraud. The damage from credit card fraud can pile up quickly in a short period of time.
GRB is pleased to announce it has once again placed on the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce annual Top 100 list. Appearing on the list for the 12th time, GRB is the only bank on the Top 100. The Chamber will announce the rankings at the Top 100 event on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
To be eligible for the Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100, businesses must be privately held, headquartered in the nine-county Rochester region, and have earned at least $1 million in revenue in each of the three most recent fiscal years. The Top 100 is computed based on revenue growth, taking into account both dollar and percentage growth.
As always, the Top 100 list includes both long-standing companies and those who are new to the market. We see representatives from a wide range of industries and a great cross-section of our own customers and partners. We wish everyone on the list a sincere congratulations!
The last two years have been challenging for so many in our community. To celebrate this achievement and recognize the extraordinary organizations that continue to make this community a great place to live and work is always a highlight for us at GRB. Thank you to our employees, partners, and customers for their continued support.