Corny or not, that desire to be of service to others led Gamalero to leave the world of big banks and take a position four years ago as financial advisor at the little
"I got started in banking on the corporate side," says Gamalero. "What got me excited about a little community bank was the personal touch."
But the move to
The bank, founded in 1999, only has
He adds, "I haven't had that happen but I did have one person come in and invest
His goal as an advisor, he says, is "to put as many sticky pots in a customer's hands as we can."
Meanwhile, Gamalero isn't just sitting at his desk meeting with clients and prospects. For four years, he's been active in the community's
Gamalero is also part of the Relay for Life Committee, an event of the
In addition to his current role as president of the
But it doesn't stop there. Gamalero is also a youth leader at his church, and handles the finances for the K-8th grade private school that his sons attend. "There's a lot that I've had to say no to," he admits, "because once you say yes to one thing, people come to you asking you to do something else. But I love doing these things."
Not that all that volunteer work is bad for business. "I never do any prospecting for business in my volunteer work," says Gamalero, "but it does help you to build a client base. It all comes back to relationships. When you are out there helping out in the community, you build up trust, and people feel confident that they can go to you. They just show up."
Despite his strong Southern accent, Gamalero actually hails from
It also helps that he's basically the only game in town when it comes to investing money.
"There are five banks along one mile of
Gamalero doesn't just rely on walk-ins to build his client base. He has worked with tellers and other bank employees to actively promote the bank's investment program and boost referrals, and once a quarter he also conducts seminars or lunch- and-learn sessions.
"Sometimes it's just 'Come learn about our investment program,'" he says, "and other times it may be an IRA session or a market information seminar. One of my best seminars was on 529 educational funds and IRAs. I actually got a few accounts from that one."
His investment strategy is simple and straightforward. "I subscribe to the three-bucket strategy: conservative assets in short-term CDs, money market funds and bonds, moderate assets in fixed-income annuities and mutual funds, and an aggressive bucket of individual stocks, growth funds, REITs and ETFs," he says.
If a customer is conservative, he'll go with equal portions in each bucket. "Of course, it also matters whether you're talking about a small investment or
He's also working to land the business of some of the old family wealth in the community, and to manage the accounts of more of the bank's board members. "With the wealthier people, there may be some prejudice against handing money over to a local guy instead of to a big broker in
He reports that one board member with
Long-term, Gamalero, who has
In the meantime, he says he is happy with the way things are going: Growing slowly and steadily.
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