Thursday, April 7, 2011

This Weekend, Wilber Becomes Community


This weekend, hundreds of “Wilber National Bank” signs will come down in seven counties around Oneonta, replaced by hundreds of “Community Bank N.A.” signs.
“Five hundred to 1,000,” estimated Joseph E. Sutaris, the 15-year Wilber veteran who will be Community Bank’s chief regional executive, overseeing the new unit of the larger bank.
At 2 p.m. Friday, April 8, an hour ahead of usual, all Wilber’s offices will close down.  The final agreement of merger, approved by stockholders in March, will be signed, consummating the $102 million deal.
Over the weekend, “all the data on our system has to flow to the new system,” said Sutaris.  “When it moves over, you have to validate the accuracy.”
The bank announced ATMs will not be available over the weekend, but the executive said the hope is that they will be accessible to customers much more quickly.
When the doors open Monday morning, April 11, Wilber’s 32,000 customers will be Community Bank customers, and they may soon discover they’re in a better place.
As it happens, the Community Bank structure will allow decisions on larger loans to be made at the local level, Sutaris said.  Plus some of Community’s fees are lower than Wilber’s and some of the rates higher, another benefit to customers here.
Sutaris, a New Jersey native with a Rutgers MBA who joined the bank in 1995, will be joined by other Wilber veterans in the new organization.
Jeff Lord, a Wilber senior vice president, will head commercial lending.  Bob Harter will continue to head human resources; Tammy Neumann, branch administration; Brett Fisk, facilities, and Mark Ackerly, information technology and security.  Charles Perrillo and Priscilla Welch will be vice presidents in the trust department.
Of the recent layoffs of 63 back-office employees – their functions will be absorbed at Community Bank headquarters in Dewitt – Sutaris said the remaining 250 staffers have “heavy hearts.”
But, he said, as Community Bank flourishes, jobs will be added, and the former employees have priority in rejoining the effort.

The Freeman’s Journal
Joseph Sutaris, foreground, becomes Community Bank’s chief regional executive, and Jeff Lord, to his left, will lead the local trust division.  Other key executives are, from left, MaryAnn Gorsch, Sue Tietjen, Dorothy Quarltere, Chris Wiltsie, Charles Perrillo and John Connelly.

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