Archive for August, 2011

Are You a “Leader” or a “Boss”?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Recently, I wrote a book review on Brian Townley’s Inspiring Leadership: Unleashing Motivation in the Workplace that was published in the American Bankers Association Banking Journal. To see the online version, click here, or you can read the review below.


Brian Townley’s Inspiring Leadership brings a refreshing perspective to the genre of motivational guides. He shares lessons from his perspective as a bank employee who was battle tested in an institution that was acquired in a failed bank transaction in 1991.  He is still with that banking company today, as senior vice-president and director of both marketing and HR, and is also head of an affiliated motivational consulting firm.

The book begins with a terrific quote by President Harry Truman: “A great leader is a (person) who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do, and like it.”

Simple, accepted ideas come to life through a solid assessment of what should be considered a bank’s most precious asset:  unleashing motivation in the workplace and creating an environment of growing leaders. From the development of leaders to coaching, from attracting talent to keeping an “I” on employees, or creating a lean mean winning sales machine, Townley deftly guides his readers through the motivational process and in the end proposes a manual for on the job training along with a well-knit list of forms, quotes, lists, and to-dos. Frequently Townley makes key points through stories drawn from his own career.

Two paragraphs from the book help express Townley’s leadership philosophy:

“Employees have to feel it’s about them before it can be about the organization, and as leaders we must communicate it that way. Then we have a cohesive team with players who are all working toward the same goals and objectives that benefit both the company and the employees.”

“A good leader can create an environment where people actually like their job and want to do it well. That is the difference between being a ‘boss’ and being a ‘leader.’ A boss gives orders. A leader inspires and influences others. Leadership is the power to encourage people, not power over people.”

Townley’s discussion on how to handle multiple generations–whether they be veterans, boomers, Gen X, or Gen Y–will help anyone understand how to maximize a work force that may appear to be polarized. Townley demonstrates how such a group can actually be homogenized into an unstoppable unit.

For C-Level managers who understand that people do business with a banker, not a bank, and who understand that employee training is not only the job of HR, this book will give a fast and understandable look into how to create the customer service environment that all community bankers talk about.

In Townley’s words: “When we inspire others to motivate themselves, then they will be great travel companions on this successful journey. What is an inspiring leader? Someone who takes pleasure in seeing the best qualities in another, unleashed […]”

Inspiring Leadership takes us on that journey.

The Crisis in Confidence

Thursday, August 11th, 2011


This week on CNBC I discussed what we at NJCB are hearing and seeing from our customers… Clearly there is a crisis of confidence… 

We have heard questions like:

  • Should I cancel the contract on the home we just made an offer on?
  • Should I be looking to cut back on my staff? Even though I just made some hires?
  •  We are in contract to acquire a competitor, should we cancel?

Our answer in each case is to step back from the noise of markets and make decisions based on your own individual circumstances. If your job is secure, you  have a bit of savings and your own personal situation hasn’t changed, then why would you let the noise around whether the US raises the debt ceiling or not, or the S&P Downgrade, or the debt crisis in Europe, challenge your decision?

We live in a challenging economic, political, regulatory, and global environment. 

However, this may be one of the best times ever in history to take advantage of the vast opportunities that lie before us… Never before have we had interest rates so low, or assets in some cases so depressed…Those who can see through the fog of the media, and the endless distractions will be the winners in this environment.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase describes America as having the greatest economy in the world, and advises Americans to stay optimistic despite the drop in the market. You can watch the full interview here:?video=3000038447&startTime=28&endTime=106

As reflected in our Second Quarter Report, we still continue to grow our loan portfolio, open accounts, and acquire new client relationships. To learn more about NJCB, you can visit us at

We at NJCB have not changed our game plan because the market is up or down on any given day… Neither should you…

NJCB Announces 2nd Quarter 2011 Results with Continued Growth & Profit

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I am pleased to report that our impressive second quarter numbers are our best to date. Our continued success in generating high quality assets contributed to another quarter of record earnings. This was all accomplished while we continued to prudently increase the reserves against our loan portfolio. All of this leads to NJCB being named as one of the Top 5 best performing banks in the nation by SNL, the leading bank analytic firm. Some of the highlights of the quarter are as follows:

  • Loans increased by $37 million from $533 million in the 1st Quarter to $570 million in the 2nd Quarter
  • Assets increased by $25 million from $631 million in the 1st Quarter to $656 million in the 2nd Quarter
  • Deposits increased by $23 million from $530 million in the 1st Quarter to $556 million in the 2nd Quarter
  • Net income before payment of our Preferred Stock Dividend increased by $70 thousand from $1.543 million in the 1st Quarter to $1.613 million in the 2nd Quarter

While the numbers speak for themselves, there are some other exciting developments that we are pleased to report. As the bank continues down a path of consistent and stable growth, we have continued to add outstanding talent to our Executive Management team to help us maintain and enhance our leadership. As a result, we have split the role of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, both currently held by Laura Criscione. As we previously announced, in June Frank Baier joined the team as Chief Financial Officer. His extensive experience at a large community bank and his background in the capital markets will be a welcome addition as we continue to grow the institution both in size and complexity. Laura Criscione will now be able to focus chiefly on her role of Chief Operating Officer, as she will be responsible for all operational, regulatory and compliance functions. Additionally, Elizabeth Magennis has been promoted to Executive Vice President, and is responsible for all lending, business development, and relationship management activities.

We are also pleased to announce that Steven Goldman, Esq. has joined our Board of Directors. Steve brings his immense experience in corporate law along with his recent regulatory experience as the former New Jersey Commissioner of Banking and Insurance. Steven brings a level of experience not commonly found on most bank boards, and we are proud to have him join our board.

We have opened a new branch office in Holmdel, NJ. Monmouth County now represents our third county in NJ. The bank already has a significant client base developing in the county, and with the similar demographics to Bergen we expect to leverage our game plan and extend our reach into this new market. If you are in the area, stop by, meet our wonderful staff, led by Carleen Lombardi and enjoy a great cup of coffee.

While we continue to face the headwinds of a challenging economy, new and undefined regulatory pressures, and increasing competition, NJCB has met the challenges and continues to seek out new business opportunities. Our relationship focus has allowed us to continue to offer many fee-free services. We continue to develop new clients simply by asking “Have you looked at your bank statement lately?” and then demonstrating the savings they will enjoy by banking with NJCB.

For more information please see our website at or click here for a link to our Second Quarter Report.