Michael Serao has 21 years of banking experience which included time at Commerce Bank in Astoria, NY, Vice President of JPMorgan Chase, and Quontic Bank also in Astoria, NY. He currently serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer at First Central Savings Bank in Glen Cove, NY.
As Chief Administrative Officer, Serao brought First Central Savings Bank, or as the community knows them, FCSB, into the 21st century. Through his advocacy as a game-changing player of the nonprofit sector and a prolific LGBTQ activist, Serao ignited change for clients looking for a full range of personal banking services at a brick and mortar institution with the ability to bank virtually anywhere, anytime. Bringing FCSB’s branding to a new level, Serao inspired the troops to make the change.
Out of the branches and into the community. Serao hired Business Development Officers (BDOs) to generate new deposits and loan growth. The BDOs embedded into the community by joining local nonprofit organizations to expand reach and acquire new customers as well as identify and capitalize on new business opportunities. “We can make it work,” became a reality for customers. The BDO’s mission reflected the bank’s commitment to enriching communities, driving local economic growth, and cultivating lasting relationships by putting the best interests of clients first. With active participation with local organizations, the BDOs learned first-hand about the credit needs of nonprofit organizations and the people they serve. As part of the response to community needs, FCSB began hosting no-cost financial literacy classes offering well-rounded education on critical personal finance knowledge as well as business development services for small business owners. Inside the branch network, Serao recruited new and talented staff for their adaptability and excellent customer service skills. “Tellers” became Universal Bankers, cross-trained to handle all account activity as a one-stop shop for all customer needs. It wasn’t long before clients realized it was a great way to take advantage of higher yields with products tailored to their unique needs. News of the changes spread like wildfire. With the increase in foot traffic combined with the BDO team bringing in new business, the bank’s deposits kicked into high-gear giving the institution the ability to fund new loans.
Happy staff, happy clients. Improving staff morale led to organically enhanced customer experiences. Providing regular employee recognition became a priority. Boosting morale was a result of investing in his team through mentorship, coaching, and treating employees as the bank’s most significant resource. Respect goes a long way as well as recognizing achievements and celebrating milestones. Enhancing communication by increasing employee feedback and providing the right tools helped increased staff retention and continuity by 50%. Clients were also satisfied with new enhancements. With Serao’s direction, FCSB improved the ease of doing business remotely with RDC or Remote Deposit Capture by developing an attractive package of incentives for small business owners. The RDC team goes directly into your business to onboard customers with new technology. Businesses love the minimal interruption to their operations. Serao knew that many customers still prefer physical interaction with branches so he renovated the branch network with a complete facelift including new paint, new furniture, and repairs. He implemented technology upgrades with Business Online, Business Mobility, all-in-one PCs, plus many more features customers have come to expect. The benefits were immediate: stronger community partnerships, and for employees a sense of ownership of their branch that never existed before. Under his plan, senior management began a consistent message to each employee to reinforce the brand, and then employees championed this message to their customers. Serao feels the brand strengthens the institution’s goals by communicating one basic idea—personal service—to all employees. Expanding mobile and online banking while still maintaining phone and branch channels offers the access and convenience that is key to making the customer’s life easier. While FCSB’s footprint has certainly grown, they take pride in playing an active role within the local communities they serve by knowing their customers and understanding their unique needs.
Serao leads the philanthropic mission of FCSB by securing funding for nonprofits including: The NYC Children’s Theatre, The Metro Boys & Girls Club, Long Island Library Resources Council, Freeport Educational Foundation, Long Island Crisis Center, and The American Italian Cancer Foundation, plus many more. Serao believes in the value of giving back. In 2018, he personally donated over $100,000 in charitable contributions to nonprofit organizations including $10,000 to the Long Island Crisis Center. He has worked actively in the LGBTQ community as a former member of OUT Astoria and former President of the Western Queens LGBT Democratic Club. In 2018, Serao was nominated to The Long Island Press Power List as “Rainmaker” for his activism in business and “Person of the Year” by the Long Island Crisis Center for his philanthropic commitment to the LGBTQ community. His honors include: HX Magazine Businessman of the Year, Business Leadership Award from the Powhattan Democratic Club, and Man of the Year from the LIC Kiwanis. In 2014, the Huffington Post named him “The Banker Everyone Loves.” Serao is the Chairman of SHAREing & CAREing, Board Member for QSAC and Chair of the HR & Finance Committee, the former Board Director for the Kiwanis Club of Astoria/LIC, and previously served as an Advisory Board Member to The Immaculate Conception School in Queens. He supports services for children with Autism through Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) as well as senior citizens with disabilities. Serao is the Founder & CEO of Serao Enterprises and is also the President and co-owner of Guy Lombardo Properties, a multi-million dollar real estate business along with his husband, Dr. Fidel Abreu. Serao is a graduate of Queensborough Community College and New York University. He resides in Hewlett Harbor with his husband, Dr. Fidel Abreu, and their three dogs Bernie, CoCo, and Martin. Dr. Fidel Abreu is the founder of Fidel Abreu, DDS PLLC, a full service dental spa that provides a safe space for LGBTQ people and free services for victims of domestic violence.