Today Frank Sorrentino frequents board rooms as ConnectOne Bank's CEO, but three decades ago, you would find him on a construction site laying brick. A fourth-generation Italian-American and mason, Frank is proud of his roots. His hands-on experience brings a unique perspective that continues to shape his approach as a financial industry executive.
In this podcast, Frank talks about watching his grandfather's pride in his tools and work. Those values were carried through the generations to him. He started early in the family business as a mason, but he was more fascinated with the operations side of the work. Frank liked the idea of bringing his expertise together with contractors and capital to deliver a product and make a profit. He was around 20 years old when he walked into a bank for his first construction loan.
Over time, Frank leveraged his relationships and acquired more knowledge about all facets of the construction industry. His construction business opened the door to the insurance industry. He discusses how his love for understanding and refining processes improved that business.
It was also through construction that he learned about the banking industry. His lightbulb moment was his experience dealing with different banks, several mergers, and the firsthand impact of poor customer service. Frank knew that he could bring exceptional customer service to fill a gap in the market, leading to the foundation of what is today ConnectOne bank.
Since starting the bank, Frank has weathered several storms, including the great recession of 2008, initiating an IPO when no one else was, several mergers, and taking a pay cut to become CEO. As you'll hear from Frank, every risky move took a blend of courage and commitment to the values he learned as a kid laying brick.