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Farno to focus on advising businesses at SunTrust

Greg Farno

Greg Farno (Submitted)

Greg Farno wants to use his new position as SunTrust Banks, Inc.’s Baltimore market president to boost businesses, whether that means helping them attract talent in a competitive employment market or advising older business owners on a transition plan.

Farno was named market president in August, moving over from a position as managing director in SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Corporate Banking Group, where he had responsibility for corporate and investment banking in the Maryland and Pennsylvania markets, based in Baltimore.

In an interview with The Daily Record, Farno said much of the bank’s efforts will focus on advising businesses.

“What we try to be is a trusted adviser to the business owner,” he said. “The banker at SunTrust has got every conceivable product a client would need. What we think separates us is being the adviser, getting the owner to talk to us, share with us his dreams (and) aspirations.”

Farno wants clients to come to the bank for help during what he called a “war for talent,” where businesses are having trouble finding qualified employees because of a tight labor market.

“The unemployment rate nationally is about 4 percent. That’s as low as it’s been in a long time,” Farno said. “And that’s great, that’s fantastic. But when I talk to our clients as well as our teammates, the biggest obstacle to everyone’s growth is finding and retaining talent. The thing that’s interesting is it can be extremely highly skilled talent, it can be entry level, it can be full time it can be part time.”

How can a bank help with that? Farno said it would involve sitting down with a client and figuring out exactly what its needs are. For example, if a business is looking to expand, it could be a financing option that would allow it to grow the workforce.

The bank has also developed a business transition team to help baby boomers who own businesses but are getting to an age where they are asking what to do next. Farno wants SunTrust to get involved with these businesses early in the process so they can plan out a number of steps they will have to take.

“It is by far the most important financial decision they will make in their lifetime, and it is extremely emotional,” Farno said. “No one banker could give that business owner what they need.”

The SunTrust team can provide merger and acquisition advice, wealth management expertise and financing for prospective buyers, like employees or family members.

“It’s the culmination of years and years of work so it can’t be executed quickly,” Farno said. “There has to be thought and consideration given over periods of time with trusted advisers who know what they are doing and have done it before and are providing a comprehensive solution.”

Farno also listed several top Maryland industries as those he wants the bank to be involved with, including health care, cybersecurity and manufacturing. Within those industries, there will be room for SunTrust to get involved with startups.

“Once a company becomes Under Armor or McCormick, everybody wants to be their bank,” he said. “But Under Armor and McCormick started in somebody’s basement or garage. And there was a bank there initially to help them. We want to be that bank and then work with them and see what it will become.”


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