Thomas X. Geisel is chief executive of Sun Bancorp., a bank with $3.2 billion in assets and executive offices in Mt. Laurel. Sun lends to businesses in New Jersey, as well as New York and Pennsylvania. Geisel sees his bank's mission as supporting the growth of New Jersey businesses and the expansion of the state's economy.
We asked him to talk about how small businesses are coping with the slow recovery and how banks can help.
In order for New Jersey to have a sustainable rebound, you need small businesses around the state to start to feel good, spend some money, hire some people, buy some inventory. That will move the state forward.
Banks have to be advisers to small businesses. Banking is a commodity, but you cannot just go to a small business and say, "You need money, we'll lend you some dollars." Maybe they don't need a loan, but they may need advice or services like cash management.
Government regulation of banks is a real concern. Suppose you are a small business and you want to borrow money, but in the last two years you've lost money. If I lend you money I open myself up to regulatory scrutiny — even though I know you, and I know I won't lose any money lending to you.