Banker Success Story: George Tsanis - M&T Bank
At Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF), we’re grateful for our partners who help spread the word about our products and services, and make it possible for a growing number of entrepreneurs to access affordable financing. Together, we create lasting ripples of success that strengthen our organizations, the clients we assist and the communities we serve.
To show our thanks and demonstrate the power of partnerships, we’re highlighting George Tsanis, Vice President and Commercial Branch Manager at M&T Bank in Rochester, NY. With more than 30 years of experience in business banking, George has helped numerous entrepreneurs find financing solutions for their businesses. When his clients don’t qualify for financing through M&T Bank, George refers them to a reliable alternative lender, like EGF, who can help them with their financing needs. His referrals to EGF have resulted in 2 business owners receiving more than $80,000 in affordable funding.
We recently spoke with George to learn more about what motivates him to work with small businesses, what he finds rewarding about his work, and why he refers his clients to EGF.
How did you get involved in small business banking?
I began my career in banking as a part-time teller and worked my way up to Commercial Branch Manager. My responsibilities as a Commercial Branch Manager are to develop existing business relationships and prospect new business relationships by actively networking and engaging in community involvement.
What do you find most rewarding about working with small businesses?
I have a passion for helping small business owners. My father owned his own business, so I know firsthand how difficult it is to run a business and I do my best to make banking easier and more effective for my business customers. I get to know the business owners, as well as their line of business, and make it a priority to understand their current and future needs. I identify solutions that will support a business that’s just starting up or looking for long-term stability and growth.
What’s a specific moment in working with small businesses that you are proud of?
I worked with a small business that started with two employees and grew to over twenty employees. This business also attained the Top 100 Company award in Rochester.
What’s in your toolkit when a customer doesn’t qualify for financing products with your institution?
I don’t like just saying “no” to a customer or simply letting them know they have been declined. Rather than decline them outright, I work to identify community resources such as Excelsior Growth Fund. I explain that even though they didn’t qualify for traditional financing, there are other options available to them and I will personally introduce them to any available agencies or organizations that may be able to help.
Why do you choose to refer customers to Excelsior Growth Fund?
I refer my business customers to Excelsior Growth Fund because EGF has a quick and easy application process and a fast turnaround time!
How has partnering with EGF benefited your relationship with your clients?
The clients that I have referred to EGF all have positive feedback on their experience! They’ve all thanked me for taking the initiative to introduce them to EGF Assistant Vice President Sherri Falck. My referrals also help them see me as a trusted advisor, which is a great motivator for me and makes me proud of the work that I do!
What advice do you have for other bankers looking to get involved with CDFIs like Excelsior Growth Fund?
I encourage other bankers to find out more about EGF and to offer customers that do not qualify for a bank loan an alternative solution to obtain the financing that they need. By doing this, you’ll provide great customer service and have a customer for life!
Inspired by George’s story? Learn more about how partnering with EGF can benefit you and your small business customers.