Local Banking Executives Discuss “The Value, Benefits & Challenges of Community Banks” at LIMBA Meeting
Douglas C. Manditch (third from right), Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Empire National Bank; James P. Johnis (second from right), President/Chief Operating Officer, Gold Coast Bank; and Christopher J. Hilton (right), Executive Vice President, The First National Bank of Long Island, took part in “The Value, Benefits & Challenges of Community Banks,” a roundtable discussion that took place at the LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) meeting on February 23 at the Courtyard Marriott in Ronkonkoma. Also pictured (left to right): Les Scheinfeld, Director of Development, Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk; Bill Miller, Treasurer, LIMBA; Ernie Fazio, Chairman, LIMBA; and Ken Nevor, Member, LIMBA. Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk was the event’s sponsor.
On February 23, LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) held a roundtable discussion titled “The Value, Benefits & Challenges of Community Banks” at the Courtyard Marriott in Ronkonkoma. The panelists included Douglas C. Manditch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Empire National Bank; James P. Johnis, President and Chief Operating Officer, Gold Coast Bank; and Christopher J. Hilton, Executive Vice President, The First National Bank of Long Island.
When asked what differentiates community banks from the “megabanks,” all three agreed that it is the corporate culture and their personal approach to their customers. Mr. Hilton said his bank cultivates a family atmosphere among both its customers and its employees. Mr. Manditch explained how the corporate culture grew as a result of serving the customers’ needs.
Mr. Johnis said his bank seeks to create long-term, rather than just transactional, relationships. He previously worked for a “megabank,” in which he would have to receive loan approvals from either out of state or overseas; further, the bank would not consider loan transactions valued at less than $1 million. He said that, when it comes to community banks, no loan is too small.
The biggest challenge in the industry is the constant barrage of federal regulations they must meet. Mr. Manditch said his bank spends large amounts of money in order to meet compliance obligations. All three noted their banks already have compliance officers on staff, but Mr. Johnis and Mr. Manditch said they may have to hire additional officers to keep up with the latest changes in bank regulations. In addition, the recent spate of data breaches and cybercrimes has also put a strain on the banks’ manpower and financial resources in fighting this advanced form of theft.
Future loan growth is expected to be optimistic, according to Mr. Johnis and Mr. Hilton. Mr. Manditch said banks would be more profitable if interest rates were higher. He said that, with interest rates being so low for so long, margins have decreased significantly.
For more information, or for a list of upcoming events, call (631) 757-1698 or visit www.limba.net.
Since 1968, LIMBA (Long Island Metro Business Action) has been Long Island’s catalyst for economic investment and improvement, sponsoring lively breakfast forums featuring Long Island business activists and government officials. Its mission is to promote and address issues that affect the quality of life on Long Island. For more information, call (631) 757-1698 or visit www.limba.net.