New Exec Romano Likes Amalgamated's Consumer Focus

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His commute's longer, but John Romano says the hassle is worth it.

Romano started his new job at New York's Amalgamated Bank on Jan. 20. He's No. 2 on the flow chart after President and Chief Executive Edward Grebow, carrying the title executive vice president of operations. Romano is responsible for seven business units at Amalgamated, including retail banking, residential lending and treasury management.

After running the Long Island division for Bridgeport, Conn.-based People's United Financial (PBCT), the position at Amalgamated offers the chance to build out the bank's consumer business, Romano says. That's a more compelling opportunity at a smaller bank like Amalgamated.

"The franchise has a fabulous history," Romano says. "More and more larger banks are deciding that maybe the consumer business is not what they want to be in."

Amalgamated is significantly smaller than People's United. Amalgamated holds $3.9 billion of assets, versus $28 billion at People's United. Amalgamated has 20 offices in New York City, while People's United has 68 offices total in the city and on Long Island.

The Amalgamated job requires Romano to work in Manhattan. The People's United job was based on Long Island, where Romano lives. Now, Romano has extended travel times between home and office.

At least he can read up on bank reports, write departmental memos or take a nap.

"I'm handling the commute on the LIRR," Romano says, referring to the Long Island Rail Road.

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