Daily News: July 19, 2019

Piermont Bank Launches in NY with Cai-Lee as President/CEO


Piermont Bank, a newly chartered full-service commercial bank in New York, is now open for business. Wendy Cai-Lee will serve as president and CEO of the new bank.

Piermont Bank has completed the required capital raise and received final regulatory approval from the New York State Department of Financial Services and the FDIC. It is the first independent de novo bank charter approval for New York State in the last decade. It is a FDIC designated Minority Depository Institution, and a women-led and women majority board bank.

Piermont Bank is founded by a group of senior banking executives, each with decades of financial services experience.

Cai-Lee is a former executive vice president of East West Bank, responsible for overseeing its consumer banking, real estate and commercial lending businesses, and built successful de novo lending businesses across several industries and geographies. She started her banking career with Chase and spent her entire career in financial services.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Fusco, is the former CFO of Astoria Bank, which was once a $20 plus billion bank that was successfully merged into Sterling National Bank. Chief Banking Officer, Steve LaFredo, spent majority of his banking career with CitiBank in various roles in corporate, commercial and private banking. Chief Credit Officer Robert Tolomer most recently served as the CCO at Greater Hudson Bank (currently part of ConnectOne Bank). Chief Information Officer, Robert J. DeStefano is the former CIO of Astoria Bank with extensive technology and operations experience.

Piermont Bank has built a fully integrated and digitized platform leveraging the best financial technology, which allows it to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and tear down departmental silos. It has also taken a holistic approach to support business owners’ both business and personal financial needs through a single point of contact and total relationship pricing, making banking easy, relevant and purposeful.

“For clients, this means simplicity and efficiency. We can turn around commercial loans from application to funding in a much-reduced timeframe than what you typically would experience,” says Cai-Lee.

“We are combining the best of two worlds – we automated and digitized everything non-client facing and invested outsized human resources in client-facing functions. This approach allows us to deliver services the old-fashioned way with a fully dedicated relationship advisor, one meeting at a time, with greater time and cost efficiency. There are no 800 numbers for our customer to navigate; we strongly believe this is a people business.”

The bank was advised and assisted by Carpenter & Company, as consultant, and Arnold & Porter, as legal counsel, for the de novo chartering process.