Company: First Commons Bank, Newton, MA
Entry Submitted By: Tiziani Whitmyre
Company Description: Founded in 2009, First Commons Bank is a nationally-chartered, FDIC-insured, full-service, community bank dedicated to serving the banking needs of small to mid-size businesses and individuals in eastern Massachusetts. First Commons Bank combines the industry’s most advanced technology with a highly experienced, onsite, management team to provide clients with personalized service.
Nomination Category: Management Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Executive of the Year - Financial Services
Nomination Title: Tony Nuzzo, CEO
1. Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since January 1 2009 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
First Commons Bank is the realization of one man's vision to create a new bank
that would operate and work differently. Tony Nuzzo, the Chairman, President,
CEO and Primary Organizer of First Commons Bank strongly believed that there
was a desperate need for a new bank that could minimize or eliminate the
primary causes of consumer dissatisfaction with big banks. These sources of
frustration had been expressed to him over and over by small businesses and
individuals during his lengthy career in the banking industry. The primary
sources of dissatisfaction and disappointment among bank customers generally
fall into four key areas: unacceptable customer service, bureaucratic and
illogical bank policies, annoying fees, and frustration in accessing money.
Nuzzo’s ideas about how to turn these negatives into positives began to
crystallize and the new bank project began in earnest in 2007 when Nuzzo began
full-time work on his vision. By reaching out to potential investors one by
one, Nuzzo ,with a total of 40 founders, raised $3 million in seed money. Then
in January 2009, Nuzzo and the team received authorization from the Office of
the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to begin capital raise for the de novo,
First Commons Bank.
January through June 2009 was an extremely difficult period in the banking and
financial industry, often described as the toughest economic climate since the
great depression. Many people believed that Nuzzo’s contrarian perspective
during this difficult period was ill advised but with persistence, he and his
initial investor group raised an additional $15 million in the first half of
2009. Remarkably, the 2009 capital raise was oversubscribed and closed with
more than 300 total shareholders sharing his vision.
Nuzzo’s business plan and acumen were quickly realized. First Commons Bank
opened for business on July 22, 2009 and it soon became one of the fastest
growing new banks in the nation’s history. In its third quarter of operations
ending March 31, 2010, the bank reported assets of more than $84 million. This
extraordinary asset growth already makes First Commons Bank larger than 2,300
of the nearly 8,000 FDIC-insured banks in the US filing reports.
In First Commons Bank, Nuzzo believes he has created the future of banking with
a common sense approach that combines talent and technology to build customer
value by eliminating the sources of client dissatisfaction with the big banks.
• The bank recruits top quality personnel and rewards them with an outstanding
benefit plan including a 3% 401K with no match required, 85% coverage of health
and dental insurance, and stock options for all employees.
• Efforts are made to infuse enthusiasm throughout the organization and to
create a strong sense of ownership and empowerment.
• The bank does not employ tellers, superior customer service is enabled by
knowledgeable, client representatives who consult with clients in private high-
tech office pods making office visits fast, efficient, and comfortable
• Loan decisions are made quickly, onsite by bank officers using established
• Accessibility to accounts is enabled by the latest technology such as mobile
2. List hyperlinks to any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that support the claims made in the section above. IMPORTANT: Begin each link with http://, and enclose each link in square brackets; for example, [http://www.youraddress.com]:
3. Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the nominee:
Tony Nuzzo is Primary Organizer, Chairman, President & CEO of First Commons
Bank. He previously served as the CEO of two established banks: Chemical Bank
Delaware; and Fidelity Trust Company in Utah, where he also became Chairman;
and one prior new bank organized as a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan where he
was also Chairman. Mr. Nuzzo ran Small Business Divisions for Citizens Bank and
TD Banknorth; and ran Engage, an Internet Company, for a brief period. Mr.
Nuzzo’s career began in marketing at Procter & Gamble. He has a BA from Boston
College and an MBA from Columbia University.