15 Minutes With … Michael Gilfeather

Michael Gilfeather President and CEO  of the $702 Million-Asset  Orange County Trust Co., in Middletown, N.Y.

Michael Gilfeather
President and CEO
of the $702 Million-Asset
Orange County Trust Co., in Middletown, N.Y.

Michael Gilfeather on trust services opportunities in New York

IB: Where is Orange County Trust Co.?

Gilfeather: We are headquartered in Middletown, N.Y., in the Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley. Our market is quite diverse. Construction, retail services, medical, nonprofit, manufacturing, and food processing and distribution are major drivers here. The area is also home to a large base of successful organic farming operations.

IB: You recently joined Orange County Trust. What has been your toughest challenge to date? How did you overcome that challenge?

Gilfeather: I’m the first CEO who hasn’t come up through Orange County Trust Co. in its 122-year history, so I don’t have some of the proprietary knowledge about the bank and our customers that some of the previous leaders have garnered over their careers.

Communication has been critical over the last three months. I’ve really focused on interacting with our customers and learning more about their businesses, while also allowing them to learn more about me.
IB: What’s your favorite thing about being a community banker?

Gilfeather: I love working with entrepreneurs. The enthusiasm they have for their businesses is contagious. I get really excited building relationships and operating their accounts in a way that makes sense for their unique needs.

IB: Describe your bank’s trust department. How do you attract new clients?

Gilfeather: The bank started as a trust company 122 years ago, and we’re often still referred to as the “trust company” rather than OCTC. We have a very significant network of attorneys and accountants who refer trust candidates to us. Clients range from individuals to charitable organizations, foundations and endowments.
IB: What’s the best banking idea you’ve come across recently?

Gilfeather: That would have to be a Customer Résumé. It’s a really simple and brilliant idea that lends itself well to community banks. It basically captures and institutionalizes important information about business clients and key employees. For instance, it would detail routine information, like name and spousal information, but also information about how the client prefers to be entertained, whether that’s golf or dinner or coffee.

IB: If you weren’t working as a community banker, what would you be doing?

Gilfeather: I would be running some other services business and coaching youth basketball. I coached all three of my daughters while they were growing up. I really enjoy teaching kids the game.

IB: Tell me about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?

Gilfeather: I enjoy golfing and spending time with my family. I’m also an avid New York Jets fan.