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.

Three Steps to Financial Wellness in the New Year

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.

Save More

Financial Wellness illustration with plant growing from coin with a dollar sign.

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.

GRB Earns Gold Award from U.S. SBA for Small Business Lending

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's Commercial lending team accepts the Gold award from the U.S. Small Business Administration

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!

New Conforming Loan Limits for 2023

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced new maximum conforming loan limits for 2023.

Conforming Loan Limits for 2023

Wooden blocks with a home and 2023 spelled out.

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.

Contact GRB’s Mortgage Team with any questions.

Cyber Monday Fraud Could Reach All-time High

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.

GRB’s Megan Antonitto Honored in Forty Under 40 Class of 2022

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.

RBJ Forty Under 40 Awards, Megan Antonitto, 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.

Congratulations, Megan!

GRB Celebrates Appearance on 2022 Top 100 List

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. 

Congratulations to everyone on the list for 2022! The full list can be found on the Chamber’s website.

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!

#BanksNeverAskThat – Every Day Cybersecurity Awareness

Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?

Graphic with sample phishing text messages like "Urgent! We need your account PIN to verify..."

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.

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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 And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family to help them stay safe during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

GRB also has a number of Security Resources available on its website. You can also report fraud related to a GRB card or account online.

Stay Safe When Making Back-to-School Purchases

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.

Find more information in an article by U.S. News and World Report on maintaining credit card security.

If you become the victim of a financial crime, recovery plans and resources are available at Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Stay safe!

GRB on 2022 Greater Rochester Chamber Top 100 List

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.

August Sees Changes to Rochester Homebuying Market

The last 30 days have represented a time of change in the Rochester housing market. Coming off two prior years characterized by low inventory, multiple bids, and way-over-asking-price offers, many potential buyers became frustrated and simply put their home ownership dreams on hold. But change – and opportunity – may be on the horizon.

Mike Pulver
SVP, Residential Mortgage Manager

Although anecdotal at the moment, GRB’s mortgage team is seeing a small, but important shift in the market. This could be good news for buyers, especially those counting on grant and discount programs or government-backed loans – like Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) – to secure financing and get an offer accepted.

“It has been a very difficult market for many buyers over the last two years. Rochester has been an exceptionally hot real estate market and buyers with 20% down or the ability to make a cash offer certainly had an advantage,” said GRB’s SVP, Residential Mortgage Manager Mike Pulver. “Many buyers were priced out of the market by overbidding or lost out to conventional or cash financing offers. So, many well-qualified potential buyers just put their purchase plans on hold.”

Getting Back on the Horse

In fact, buyer pessimism grew more prevalent for homebuyers in July, with the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) falling to its lowest level in 11 years. But that broad feeling of pessimism may be a key reason for smart buyers to begin actively searching again and “get back on the horse.”

“If people have backed away from looking for a home, there may be less competition for the available inventory. We’re seeing a couple of favorable conditions start to emerge for buyers across the board,” said Pulver. “It’s too early to call it a trend, but it may be an opportunity.”

So, what has changed?

Graphic illustrating 30-year mortgage rates since 1972
Even with the recent uptick, rates for 30-year mortgages remain among the lowest in the last 50 years.
  • Fed Rate Hikes – While these increases traditionally have more of an impact on short-term lending rates, the boost has helped cool the mortgage market, too. While this did lead to an increase in mortgage rates, recent activity has seen rates pull back a bit. Historically today’s rates, hovering between 5.50% and 6.00% (as of 8/10/22) for a 30-year mortgage, are still very favorable.
  • Housing Inventory Increases – Inventory levels may have hit their lowest point and could be inching upward. More homes to purchase means less demand for each home. For potential buyers, this means fewer bidding wars and a better possibility of getting an offer accepted using a grant program or government-backed loan.

Different Financing Strategies

“Right now, it’s a mental game for many potential buyers. They are struggling to overcome the mindset that they need to wait for rates to drop back to 3.75% so they ‘get the best deal,’ ” said Pulver. “The reality is we can still put together a great deal, it just requires different financing strategies.”

With prices pulling back and bidding wars dissipating, buyers can put some of the extra money they needed for a downpayment towards points, “buying down” the interest rate to something lower. Each point the borrower buys costs one percent of the mortgage amount. So, one point on a $300,000 mortgage would cost $3,000.

“At top of market, we had homes selling for $100,000 over asking price. We’re not seeing that anymore,” said Pulver. “Think about the extra cost of the downpayment funds and financed amount in a situation like that. You can buydown the rate significantly with that savings. The buydown can lower the monthly payment and reduce the interest paid over the lifetime of the loan.”

What Should Buyers do Now?

To be prepared, prospective buyers whould stay engaged in the homebuying process. Although many people did need to “take a break” after some disappointments, you never know when an opportunity may occur and it’s best to be prepared:

New homeowners getting exciting news about a home
  • Stay in Touch with Their Lender – Reach out and make sure you are (still) prequalified or preapproved. Make sure to update your application with any changes to your financial position. Think about salary increases, new employer, additional loan you may have signed for (auto, furniture, etc.) or any other changes.
  • Revisit Their Wish List – Go back and consider what you wanted in your home and go over the rank order of those items again. With the experience you gained from past house-hunting activities, look at current properties on the market with a fresh eye.
  • Look at Today’s Numbers and Don’t Look Back – Talk to your lender or use an app to begin looking at numbers with today’s interest rates and home purchase prices. So much has changed, make sure you are looking at your purchase numbers with up-to-date information. Pulver advises people not to get caught up in past numbers. Move forward with a clean financial slate and mental slate.

Trend or Temporary?

It may be too early to tell if we are entering a new phase of the market or a temporary condition. But being prepared remains critical to making a home purchase as the market evolves.

“There is definitely a different environment out there at the moment. We’re keeping a very close eye on inventory numbers and rates,” said Pulver. “The buyers who are the best prepared are the ones who may really be able to benefit from some of the uncertainty. Whether it’s the start of a trend or a brief moment, buyers should be prepared. You have the best opportunity to take advantage of any opportunity that appears when you know your position.”

If you are ready to begin looking to purchase a home, please reach out to GRB’s mortgage team.