144 YEARS YOUNG, A WALL HEADQUARTERED BANK STILL FINDS VIRTUE IN CLOSE COMMUNITY TIES
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMESSÉ PHOTOGRAPHY
When Jim Vaccaro was named president of Manasquan Bank in 2012, he made his main objective unlocking that organization’s hidden potential.
“This is a wonderful, legacy’d bank, with building and loan roots that go back to 1874,” Vaccaro noted. “I had always admired what the bank did for its communities, and believed it had potential to do even more. My primary purpose was to unlock that potential by working with this team of professionals to create a culture that would allow us to thrive.”
He was clearly the man for the job. Vaccaro started his banking career with Citibank, served as chief financial officer of Central Jersey Bank and Trust Company, helped form Monmouth Community Bank, and oversaw the eventual merger of that entity with Kearny Financial Corp.
“When I joined [Manasquan Bank], it had total assets of $835 million. Today those assets are $1.25 billion, so it has grown handsomely,” Vaccaro said. “The organization has changed from a traditional savings bank to a full service community banking entity, and my 160 colleagues here have been included in and empowered by that growth.”
Vaccaro credits this success to his team, led by Mark Beriault, executive vice president and chief lending officer, and Catherine Franzoni, executive vice president and chief financial officer, but added that all of his bank’s operations are collaborative.
“I’m a big believer in teamwork,” Vaccaro said. “The three of us work well together, and our entire team has been instrumental in taking this organization to a very prosperous level. Think about what a bank does. It gathers deposits and lends money. That can be done in a very robotic and impersonal way, or it can be conducted in a customer friendly and helpful way. We chose the latter, and assembled a great mix of staffers to complete the task. Sure, the management team steers the ship, but it takes a terrific support to arrive at the desired destination.”
The community bank serves small and midsized businesses, community governments, and nonprofits. It also offers individual checking and savings accounts and home mortgages. Its president explained that financing is a sector woefully underserved by the big banks.
“Manasquan Bank’s loan applications are processed locally by our own team of loan officers, which leads to faster decisions,” he said, offering details of the bank’s solid loan portfolio, which has delinquencies that are well below industry norms. “Amazing things happen when people talk face to face.” Vaccaro, who lives in West Allenhurst, added that commercial loan applicants are afforded greater loan flexibility and are typically given a decision within two weeks.
For Vaccaro personal service is paramount.
“We have 10 branches, and in every case, personnel are provided with the tools, training, and authority that allow them to assist customers with all levels of banking without leaving their community. That equates to better customer service and enduring customer relationships,” he said.
The need for such personal service is a lesson he learned in a previous job. Before reentering the banking industry, he was the chief operating officer of Springpoint Senior Living, Inc., the largest not for profit provider of senior housing and healthcare in New Jersey. It was there he learned those essential and enduring lessons about customer care.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure at Springpoint,” he recalled. “It gave me the opportunity to serve our greatest generation. It was an uplifting experience that centered on compassion. We emphasized concern for the residents, but also an empathy for the caregivers, who are some of the most selfless people I have ever known.”
While his passion for the world of finance brought him to Manasquan, Vaccaro continues to serve the healthcare community in many ways. He sits on numerous local boards, including for Monmouth University, RWJ/Barnabas Health, the Monmouth Medical Center, the Visiting Nurses Association of Central Jersey, and the Interfaith Neighbors Advisory Board.
“I believe it is necessary to give back to the community at large,” Vaccaro said. “That is the best way for individuals and businesses to grow and change.”
As for the future, the president sees continued growth for Manasquan Bank. “ We occupy some pretty enviable space in the financial arena,” he said. “The banking industry is shrinking significantly the nation has gone from 8,000 banks in 2010 to about 5,600 today. But ones of our size big enough to matter and small enough to care are really succeeding. Historically, banks measure growth by how many branches they open, but we measure growth by acquisition of customers whether it’s through branches or internet or mobile banking. And here, we maintain a couple of corner stones: engagement on a person to person level and an increasing concentration on innovation to complement that human aspect. It has been our recipe for success over the past several years, and it will continue to be our plan of action in the future.”
Headquarters: 2221 Landmark Place, Wall (plus various branches
throughout New Jersey) / 844.626.2265 / manasquanbank.com