Nicholas J. Palermo, former consumer and international banking executive at two of New York City's leading banks, has settled for a quieter environment as a community banker in Ansonia, Conn.

Mr. Palermo became president, chief executive officer, treasurer, and a director of the $429.2 million-asset Great County Bank, succeeding Frederick Quinn, who resigned. The 55-year-old Mr. Palermo had been appointed interim president and CEO in March.

Board chairman Terry R. Chatfield said, "At this time, when Great Country Bank must concentrate on several significant issues, we have a veteran banker whose experience and vision will provide the necessary leadership."

Facing Up to Layoffs

While Mr. Palermo no longer works in the big city, his job is no picnic in the park. Stepping in while the bank is under strict regulatory control, he immediately had to face up to laying off employees - 41 of them, as it turned out. While expressing regrets over the cuts, he said they would cut salaries and benefits by $1.1 million a year.

Mr. Palermo said the employees affected would be providing with severance pay and outplacement counseling. "In the final analysis, we have identified positions that can readily be eliminated without a deterioration to the overall quality of service," he said.

Before joining Great Country Bank, Mr. Palermo was with the Hay Management Consultant Group, New York, where he was managing director of its national banking industry division.

A career banking executive, Mr. Palermo was instrumental in upgrading customer services at Chase Manhattan Bank, New York. He served as senior vice president for consumer banking and led a program to stimulate cross-selling.

Pioneer in Australia

During his career at Chase, he was also involved in the company's international businesses. Mr. Palermo set up Chase's Australian banking operations in 1984 and 1985. He also established retail and wholesale services in parts of Western Europe and the Far East.

He joined Chase in 1975 after spending 14 years with Citibank.

Mr. Palermo's first chance to run his own show came in January 1989, when he took the job of president and chief executive officer of Amalgamated Bank of New York, owned by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.

Mr. Palermo has a master's degree in businss management from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a bachelor's in political science from Rutgers.

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