Kevin Santacroce, a South Holder native and former local banker, has been named president of the Long Island market for ConnectOne Bank.
In this new role, Mr. Santacroce will lead growth initiatives and oversee expansion direction ConnectOne Bank to the east end of Long Island.
After graduating from Southold High School in 1986, Mr. Santacroce attended Bryant University in Rhode Island, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also attended Georgetown University and completed graduate studies through the ABA Stoney School of Banking.
Mr. Santacroce spent over 20 years at BNB Bank, eventually rising to the bank’s Chief Lending Office, responsible for its entire $3.8 billion loan portfolio.
ConnectOne Bank, a nearly $10 billion financial institution headquartered in New Jersey, has two branches on Long Island, one in Melville and one in East Hampton, the latter of which will be based in Mr. Santacrosse.
The Suffolk Times asked Mr Santacroce about his career in banking and the state of business in North Fork today.
Suffolk Times: Tell us about your previous banking experience.
gentlemen. Church of the Holy Cross: Long Island and the North Fork community have always been an integral part of my life. My parents are from here and I married my wife and raised four kids on Long Island. A strong sense of community has also helped lead my career in banking, knowing I could have a direct impact and shape the business landscape in a place I know very well. I have served as Chief Lending Officer at several large banks in the North Fork, helping to meet the financial needs of SMEs, but most recently I served as President of the Long Island Market for ConnectOne Bank, a regional community bank that emphasizes “putting people first” with a sense of urgency mentality, is what I’m most excited about for the future of business owners on the North Fork. While customer relationships are a top priority, ConnectOne Bank’s forward-looking emphasis on technology and its high-tech, high-touch approach is also a big plus for me. Appeal.
Which North Fork businesses can you help in your new role?
What sets ConnectOne Bank apart is our ability to build custom solutions for specific businesses. Banking relationships are rarely about money. It’s about getting as many “yes” as possible, but also having a trusted advisor ready to call with any questions or concerns, and celebrating accomplishments. I’m a very hands-on person; I rarely sit behind a desk. By getting out there and really listening to my clients’ motivations and goals, I can create solutions that are better than what they ask for. Whether you are an entrepreneur, part of a company, or working in your family business, we are here to support your financial needs and facilitate your success.
What can local North Fork business owners look to you for in your new position?
As President of Long Island Markets, I will oversee the strategic direction of ConnectOne Bank’s expansion into the East End of Long Island. I will also lead ConnectOne’s growth initiatives and line of business strategy in this area. Opportunities abound, and it’s critical to choose a bank like ours with the diversity and industry expertise to meet your business needs, from real estate to construction to law firms, professional services and many other niche industries. I’m excited to be part of an industry-leading team that values relationship banking, understands communities and their business needs, and doesn’t have to rely on cookie-cutter decision-making to secure funding. I can assure local business owners in North Fork that they have direct access to me and the decision makers at ConnectOne Bank.
What is the biggest challenge facing a North Fork local or family business today?
With today’s ever-changing economic climate, now is a great time to analyze your business model and come up with new ways to connect with customers. Labor market and supply chain challenges also continue to be obstacles for businesses across the North Fork. Local or family-owned businesses may be challenged to think outside the box – now is not the time to repeat the same mistakes. Connect with your customers and make them feel valuable and important. Diversify your suppliers and suppliers. Be transparent with your employees. In all cases, communication is king here. Candidly demonstrate your ability to provide them with products and services and assure them that we are willing to work together. Now is the time to build long-term trust.
What is the biggest challenge North Forkers faces now when looking to start a new business?
Building cash reserves and working as efficiently as possible is extremely important in today’s business environment, but it can also be a challenge as a new business. Assess the community and whether your service or business fills gaps and needs. Make sure you have a business plan that includes the current financial situation or details a projection of how your business will be profitable. Being able to stress test your business and understand your tipping points is something you should discuss with your ConnectOne banker.