From having no Long Island branches in early 2002, TD Bank landed in the local market with both feet and has 58 local offices now and plans for another 15 over the next few years.
The U.S. unit of Canada's TD Bank Group -- the letters stand for Toronto Dominion -- has 1,300 U.S. branches now, all concentrated along the East Coast. Its parent company also owns TD Ameritrade, the stock trading, investment and online banking company.
In charge of the TD banking region that includes Long Island, several upstate counties and part of New Jersey is regional president Christopher C. Giamo, 44, a University of Rhode Island economics graduate with 23 years of banking experience. A total of about 850 people work at the regional headquarters in Melville and at the 58 branches.
You've opened eight branches on Long Island since fiscal 2012. With so many people banking online now, why all the new brick and mortar?
While there is a migration to mobile technology -- higher-functioning ATM machines, online banking -- a lot of clients still like to come into a banking location to deal with a customer service representative or a financial services specialist, and I think as the banking products continue to get more complex and comprehensive, there are certain things that need that face-to-face touch.
For example . . . ?
Certain wealth planning, mortgage lending, any type of consumer lending product. A lot of that stuff needs to be done face to face, and you need the brick and mortar, and you need the expert sales people in those stores to service the clients.
Your banks seem to be about average size. Some banks are moving toward smaller, storefront-type branches. Have you considered smaller buildings?
We have, and we continue to look at that. A lot of it depends on the demographics of the town, the city or village we're opening in and what we have around it. If we have other TD locations that are near and this is a site to retain and help service overflow, then you don't need as large a location.
Long Island's population isn't growing much, and many jobs have been replaced with lower-paying jobs. Looking at those factors, what makes you confident about the local economy?
Long Island as a region is very resilient. Its demographics are very attractive in general. There is density and some very high pockets of wealth. Since the market collapse in 2008, many areas have been on a long road to recovery. But at TD we believe we still have not taken the share we think we can take of the existing market.
What does TD see as its strengths relative to the competition?
I think one of the strengths is in our moniker "America's most convenient bank." I think that convenience factor and customer service is something we do very well.
How is TD Bank more convenient than other banks?
We were one of the pioneers of seven-day-a-week banking. We have typically longer hours than most of our competition -- actual lobby hours rather than just drive-through or ATM hours. We have a convenient customer service call center that is all based in the United States, and those phones are answered by a human being. It doesn't force you to go through a menu of touch tones. We have coin-counting machines that are free for customers.
NAME: Christopher C. Giamo, president of TD Bank for metropolitan New York region
WHAT IT DOES: One of seven regions in the United States, arm of Toronto-baed TD Bank Group.
EMPLOYEES: 850 on Long Island.
TOTAL ASSETS: U.S. personal and commercial banking, as of Jan 31; $236 billion.
NET INCOME: Fiscal 2013, U.S. personal and commerical banking, $1.5 billion.