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.
Congratulations to Genesee Regional Bank’s (GRB) President and CEO Philip Pecora on being named to the Rochester Business Journal’s (RBJ) Power 30 Banking & Finance 2021 list.
From the RBJ Power 30 Banking & Finance article, “The people on this list have helped Rochester’s banking and finance industry reimagine itself to serve customers virtually, keep businesses open and keep families in their homes. They have pushed innovation forward to deal with the challenges of COVID-19 and have led the way through a period of tremendous uncertainty.”
Performing in a pandemic
Under Pecora’s leadership, GRB provided 893 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans throughout the pandemic. This included supporting dozens of companies that could not complete loans with other banks.
“Last year took everything we knew as a bank and turned it on its side. But the upside of being a nimble organization like GRB is that last year really helped us leapfrog ahead in a number of key areas,” said Pecora. “We looked for ways to provide customers and employees with changes that were positive. I know our employees and customers never doubted our commitment to them and to this community.”
Building on our strengths
According to Pecora, one of the key’s to GRB’s continued growth is the bank’s unique focus on the Rochester community.
“As a banker, I get to see firsthand the innovative spirit that makes the Rochester community a great place to live and work. I’m a Rochester native and I’m proud of how this community continues to transform itself,” said Pecora. “We’ve grown from 17 employees to more than 160 during my tenure and we have been the top SBA lender in Rochester for the last three years. Knowing that GRB is part of the stories of so many of the region’s businesses really reinforces the importance of community banking in our region.”
In the last decade, GRB has consistently appeared on the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Top 100 list and the Best Companies to Work for in New York list.
Recently, GRB received a Diamond-level Lender from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Last year, the bank provided more than $20 million in (non-PPP) SBA loans. This makes GRB the top SBA lender in the region three years running.
Genesee Regional Bank (GRB) is pleased to be recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) with a Diamond Award for its small business lending activities for the period from Oct. 2020 through Oct. 2021.
The bank closed 37 loans totaling $20,278,500. According to the SBA, those loans supported 891 jobs in our community. As published in a recent issue of the “Rochester Business Journal,” this also makes GRB the top SBA lender in the Rochester area.
In addition to the new businesses and business expansions made possible through SBA lending, GRB continued to assist local businesses with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and forgiveness throughout 2021. In rounds 1 and 2, GRB provided 893 PPP loans to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. While many larger banks were unable (or unwilling) to help customers with PPP lending, America’s community banks stepped up.
We are also proud to announce that Commercial Relationship Manager Dave Leaderer received the SBA’s individual Ignite award for his extraordinary efforts throughout the PPP loan process and for new SBA lending activities in 2021.
We know we don’t have a branch on every corner. But having a presence isn’t the same as being present.
GRB is here for this community. We are present for small businesses, families and individuals. We are present when times are good and when there is a crisis.
You will always find GRB right here, whenever you need us.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced new maximum conforming loan limits for 2022.
Conforming Loan Limits for 2022
In Central and Western New York:
The maximum conforming FHFA loan limit for one-unit properties will be $647,200. This is an increase of $98,950 over the 2021 limits.
Multi-family property conforming limits also increased. Two-family properties are up to $828,700 and three-unit homes are up to $1,001,650. The new limit for four-unit properties is $1,244,850.
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 important for homebuyers,” said GRB’s SVP, Residential Mortgage Manager Mike Pulver. “It 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 2021 limits as long as the loan closes by Dec. 31. Loans closing on Jan. 1 or after will fall under the 2022 limits.
FHA loan limits are expected to increase as well. We will post updates as they become available.
With Small Business Saturday® just around the corner and so many small businesses still reeling, the #ShopSmall movement is more important than ever.
According to a report released by the NFIB Research Center, 76% of small businesses say they have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 68% of owners say they’re very concerned about its potential impact on their business. It’s also important to remember that more than two-thirds of every dollar spent at local small businesses stays in the local economy. So Small Business Saturday makes a real impact.
Here are a five things you can do to help your favorite small businesses this holiday season – and every day:
Leave a Positive Review (or a Few)
Do you buy anything these days without reading the reviews? A positive review can have a tremendous impact on a small business. Set a goal of leaving three rave reviews for your favorite small businesses.
Refer a Friend
If you received amazing service, found a great deal, or purchased a unique item, tell someone else about it. It’s a little like a review. But your family and friends are even more likely to follow your lead and shop at a small business you’ve recommended. Your referral is incredibly valuable. Make a point to tell three people about your top picks in the area.
If parking or weather becomes a concern on Small Business Saturday, many local businesses have wonderful online stores, too. You can always stop in and pick up your purchases when it’s more convenient or have them delivered.
Make a #ShopSmall Tradition
Many people have long-standing traditions for Black Friday shopping, why not do the same for Small Business Saturday? Wear an ugly sweater. Start out early and have a wonderful breakfast at a local restaurant. Shop ’til you drop the rest of the day at local stores or select a village setting and hit every store on the block. Then, have dinner at another local restaurant. Don’t forget to leave great reviews everywhere you go!
Need Help Finding Small Businesses?
Sometimes we pass by wonderful businesses without really understanding what they do or what they sell. Make an effort to select a busy street and use a mapping tool to zoom in and find out more about all of the businesses in the area. You can also use the #ShopSmall mapping tool to find great local businesses.
In 2010, American Express created Small Business Saturday® on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. Since then, the movement has grown with more than 100 million U.S. consumers shopping independent restaurants and retailers each Small Business Saturday.
Have a safe and healthy holiday season and don’t forget to #ShopSmall!
The newest trend in cybercrime is the use of cybercriminal-controlled call centers to trick you into providing your bank or credit card information. Cybercriminals try to use real people in fake call centers to convince you that a scam is legitimate.
A recent call center scam starts with an email that appears to be an invoice for a very large purchase. It is not clear what company this invoice is from or what was purchased, but the payment amount is listed six times. The email also starts and ends with a line directing you to call their number if you did not authorize the transaction. If you call the number provided, a representative happily offers to refund you. But first, they’ll need your bank or credit card information. Unfortunately, the representative is actually a cybercriminal who plans to use your payment information for their own devious purposes.
Follow these tips to stay safe from this social engineering attack:
The invoice in this attack is specifically designed to cause alarm and frustration. Cybercriminals target your emotions in hopes of tricking you into acting impulsively. Always think before you click.
A valid phone number doesn’t mean that an email is legitimate. Cybercriminals are real people who can lie over the phone, just as they lie in phishing emails.
Instead of calling the provided number, reach out to your bank or credit card company to verify the details of the transaction. If by chance there has been unauthorized usage, your bank or credit card company can help correct the issue.
Thanks to KnowBe4 for providing the information on these fraud practices!
GRB is pleased to announce it was named no. 13 on the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce “2021 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. The last 18 months have completely changed how many of you do your jobs. Your ability to adapt and continue serving our customers with focus and commitment is nothing short of spectacular. You are appreciated each and every day!
It is not lost on us how challenging the environment was for so many last year and as we enter the last quarter of 2021. We are happy to be recognized as part of the Top 100, but we know there is a lot of work to do in our community to ensure Rochester continues to provide opportunities and growth 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 the challenge!
GRB is proud to support the American Bankers Association (ABA) in this year’s #BanksNeverAskThat anti-phishing campaign. In conjunction with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re providing tips to help even more consumers beat scammers at their own game. Last year, nearly 1,700 banks in all 50 states joined forces, including GRB, for the first #BanksNeverAskThat campaign. We’re happy to participate in 2021’s event with social posts, in-branch materials, and other educational resources.
Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. We want to help change that by raising awareness among our customers with best practices for creating a personal phishing defense. And phishing scams are costly, leading to losses of as much as $3.3 billion each year.
Some of the questions below may seem harmless. But every piece of information a scammer obtains brings them one step closer to stealing your identity or accessing your accounts.
If you receive an unexpected phone call, text or email from someone claiming to be GRB, think twice and protect yourself with these strategies:
Add GRB’s phone numbers to your phone. If a call isn’t coming from a recognizable GRB number, it might be a scam. Call us on a number you know is legitimate. We are happy to verify any requests you receive by phone.
If you don’t have text banking set up for your account, and still receive a text message, be suspicious. Often, these text messages are meant to sound urgent so you’ll click. Contact GRB and ask for verification.
Email messages with blurry images, misspelled words and poor grammar should be suspect. Requests to verify information or provide personal information via email should also be avoided.
More anti-phishing resources
If you want additional information on ways to protect yourself from phishing attacks, go to BanksNeverAskThat.com.
It’s that time already. Students returning to campus, and scammers often come along for the ride. Fraudulent offers and discounts are targeted at college students looking to save money wherever possible.
The list below provides information on a few of the scams commonly targeted at young college students. But the list is by no means complete. Scammers come up with new ideas for separating you from your money all the time. Always complete your due diligence and check for any malicious actions or warning signs when the deal looks too good to be true!
Property Rental Scams
Thieves may pose as someone selling or renting a property and approach students looking to live off-campus. Scammers promise to rent the property once they receive payment. But once the payment is received, the scammer disappears.
Protect yourself by never paying a deposit without seeing the property in person. Always review thelease agreement before paying or signing.
Laptop + Cell Phone Scams
Scammers entice young adults with misleading or false advertisements offering hefty discounts on cell phones, laptops or other devices. Victims end up on predatory websites where “big-ticket” products are offered at aggressively low prices, or even for free. The scammer’s goal is payment for a product they will never send or to collect personal information from the victim.
When making a large purchase, such as a cellphone, laptop, or tablet, be sure to make your purchase through reputable websites rather than through targeted advertisements.
Online Textbook Scams
Fraudsters create fake websites offering discounts on college textbooks. Unfortunately, students never receive the books. They waste class time without the proper materials and they lose the money spent on the book.
Be sure to purchase or rent your textbooks through your university bookstore or reputable publishing companies, and use buy-back programs.
These scams target students looking for assistance paying for college tuition. The goal is to get students to provide personal information or pay upfront fees for non-existent scholarships. Keep in mind that most scholarship information is available for free.
Your best defense against scholarship scams is to visit the Department of Education’s website on scholarships. Students will have access to free resources on scholarships or find alternative options for financial assistance.
GRB is Here. For You.
At GRB we do our best to stay up to date on the latest scams and fraud trends to keep you and your finances safe. To learn more about how to protect yourself, visit our Security Resources page.
If you are a GRB customer and believe you are a victim of fraud, visit our Report Fraud page to receive the proper help.
We are pleased to announce GRB has ranked no. 6 in the the mid-size employer (100-250) category for “Best Companies to Work For New York“. This is a significant achievement during a year filled with challenges.
Awards for the “Best Companies” are based on feedback provided through employee surveys, which focus on:
Leadership & Planning
Corporate Culture & Communications
Relationship with Supervisor
Training, development & resources
Pay & Benefits
Continuing to serve our customers during a pandemic demanded constant flexibility and patience. Because of Team GRB’s tremendous effort, we were able to maintain our stability and efficiency and provide support for small businesses and families throughout the Greater Rochester area.
GRB’s eighth appearance on the “Best Companies” list is truly a testament to our strong leadership team and the commitment of our employees. GRB would not be what it is without our employees, and we appreciate each and every individual.
In celebration of making the “Best Companies” list, GRB celebrated with a fun virtual event.
After a trying year, receiving the “Best Companies” award was a special way to recognize all the ways that we supported each other, our customers, and the community last year.