One-on-One: Piermont Bank’s Steve Lafredo

Piermont Bank is a new bank that looks to fill the gap between FinTech and traditional banking, reinventing how banking works for entrepreneurs. Chief banking officer Steve LaFredo shared what makes Piermont different and its commitment to help entrepreneurs navigate through the uncertain times.

Q: How is Piermont Bank different from other banks?

Steve LaFredo: Speed and efficiency are a key differentiator. Piermont’s platform is built with the top pain points that entrepreneurs often face in dealing with their banks. We understand entrepreneurs often face high opportunity cost having to wait several months for the credit process, so we automate and digitize our platform to turn around loans in half of the time entrepreneurs would typically experience.

Q: How is Piermont able to execute loan decisions with half the time of a typical commercial bank?

SL: We have developed a proprietary algorithm and a fully digitized platform that allows us to significantly reduce underwriting and processing time. It helps that we are a new platform with no legacy system burden, so we can be creative and leverage the best financial technology. We also have a very flat organizational structure, which enables us to make decisions quickly, consistently and diligently. Overall as a company, we also champion responsiveness to clients; a quick no is better than a very slow yes. All client inquiries are addressed within 24 hours.

Q: How do you think Piermont can help its clients navigate a looming recession?

SL: One of the best ways to find out whether you have the right banking partner is how they can help you withstand a looming recession. People usually don’t think about their bankers when things are going well. When it comes to true relationship banking, it is going through the bad times together as well. Piermont has the advantage of being the new player because we don’t need to worry about our balance sheet, and we have more room to help clients withstanding a looming recession. We also take a holistic approach to our relationship and pricing, which means we have clients’ business and personal accounts. This allows a view of our client’s financial strength we can use to come up with different ways to help them go through difficult times.

Q: What is Piermont doing to help small and medium-sized business navigate uncertain times?

SL: We have an express loan decisioning program, which means we turn around loan decision in three days when a complete loan package is received. If Piermont cannot help we let you know immediately, and we have partners in the ecosystem that we can refer you to. This reduces opportunity cost and allows small and medium-sized companies to find new financing support in a more efficient way.

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