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Moving Forward: Rheinhardt gets elder-law

Page 7.

Page 2.

Banking & Finance.

designation, continuing firm’s focus.

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TMVBJ.COM

ConMed Q4 profit rises, sales fall

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$2.00

Rome microenterprise center welcomes first business tenants

 THE DELI DUO

BY TRACI DELORE JOURNAL STAFF

BY TRACI DELORE JOURNAL STAFF

UTICA — ConMed Corp. (NASDAQ: CNMD) reported that its net income rose to nearly $7 million, or 24 cents a share, in the fourth quarter from almost $5 million, or 17 cents, in the yearearlier period despite a drop in sales. The Utica–based medical-device maker generated net sales of $184.1 million in the fourth quarter, short of analysts’ expectations of about $189 million and down from the $190.6 million the company produced a year ago.

ROME — It’s taken about five years and more than $1 million, but Rome Up and Running is ready for its first tenants at its REACH Microenterprise Center at 201-211 W. Dominick St. “It’s been a very long process,” says Kim Cook, a certified public accountant with Wallis, Loiacono & Cook, CPA’s, P.C. in Rome and one of a number of Rome–area businesspeople who joined together to form the nonprofit Rome Up and Running about a decade ago. Cook serves as the organization’s treasurer. The purpose of Rome Up and Running is to get people in Rome working together on common projects to benefit the city, and the REACH Microenterprise Center is the group’s biggest project. With more than $1 million in state grants, city contributions, and matching funds raised by the nonprofit organiza-

TRACI DELORE/THE MOHAWK VALLEY BUSINESS JOURNAL

Husband and wife Robert and Sally Preston opened Village Deli on Jan. 3 at 35 Central Plaza in Ilion. They offer a full-service deli along with subs and sandwiches, soups, baked goods, and a house line of gourmet mustards, salsas, and spices. See story, page 5.

See CONMED, page 6

See REACH, page 3

Nonprofit health-planning groups to combine efforts BY ERIC REINHARDT JOURNAL STAFF

solidation process. The two groups are “incredibly complementary in terms of governance, in terms of the current activities, expertise, [and] geographical reach,” says Nancy Smith, former executive director of HAC-CNY, who now serves as an independent consultant to the organization. Smith was the executive director of HAC-CNY from October 2006 to April See COMBINATION, page 9

ERIC REINHARDT/TMVBJ

Nancy Smith, former HAC-CNY executive director and current consultant, and Timothy Bobo, executive director of CNYHSA, review materials.

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he Health Advancement Collaborative of Central New York (HAC-CNY) and the Central New York Health Systems Agency (CNYHSA) are combining their health-planning efforts into a single organization. The two groups see their common vision and complementary skills, resources, and stakeholders as reasons to combine

under a formal structure for community health planning. HAC-CNY, based in Syracuse, is currently overseeing the area’s first regional health-information organization. CNYHSA, based in DeWitt, has focused on health planning for more than 30 years. The collaboration, announced Dec. 22, is supported by more than $1 million in state, foundation, and corporate grants, the organizations say. The grants include two awards that are supporting the con-

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TMVBJ.COM BRIEFS News of note for and about Mohawk Valley businesses

NY Tech Summit names keynote speaker VERONA — Larry Winget will give the keynote address to information-technology professionals at the 2011 NY Tech Summit, scheduled for June 9 and 10 at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Winget is a five-time New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author whose works include “You’re Broke Because You Want to Be” and “It’s Called Work for a Reason.” During the summit, exhibitors and attendees will participate in technology-equipment demonstrations and discussions surrounding data and voice issues. The conference will feature more than 40 educational sessions and roundtable discussions along with exhibits by more than 30 vendors. CXtec and TERACAI are presenting the summit. Registration for the two-day event is now open at www.nytechsummit.com. The cost is $195.

LMV names Follow the Leader honorees MARCY — Leadership Mohawk Valley (LMV) recently announced its 2011 Follow the Leader winners. This year’s individual honorees are: Jeremy Earl of Upstate Cerebral Palsy; William Kline, Adirondack Financial Services; Andrea Lazarek LaQuay, Visiting Nurse Association; Lynn Loomis, First Choice Staffing; Lauren Mattia, Northland Communications; Donald Polczynski, Jr., Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy; Patricia Roach, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare; and Susan Woods, United Way of the Mohawk Valley and Greater Utica. This year’s business honorees are Home Care Services of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare and The House of the Good Shepherd. To mark the 10th anniversary of the Follow the Leader Awards, LMV is recognizing James Hill for his work to promote the organization and the Mohawk Valley region. The third annual President’s Service Award will be given posthumously to Thomas Burke, former LMV president who died Dec. 29, for his contributions to LMV and the region. His family will accept the award. An awards dinner is set for 5:30 p.m., March 9 at the Radisson Hotel.

Burrows Paper receives forestry certifications LITTLE FALLS — Burrows Paper Corp. recently acquired the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification. This certification recognizes that Burrows procures all wood pulp for papermaking from responsible, legal, and traceable sources. Burrows also recently received the Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification and certification from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. The company says it received the certifications for its paper mills in Little Falls and Mississippi, following a months-long process, including a three-day audit by an independent certifier.

February 7-20, 2011

Rheinhardt gets elder-law designation, continuing firm’s focus in the area By Traci DeLore Journal Staff

ILION — About 10 years ago, the Radley & Rheinhardt, P.C. law firm in Ilion began to transition away from general practice and focus specifically on elder law. “As I was getting older, so were my clients and so were their parents,” says Jeffrey Rheinhardt, senior partner at the firm. As clients began asking questions about estate planning, long-term care, and other issues pertaining to aging, Rheinhardt found his own interest in the topics growing. His curiosity was the impetus for transitioning the practice’s focus area, but also drove Rheinhardt personally to become a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) through the National Elder Law Foundation, which is the only American Bar Associationapproved group to offer certification. Focusing on elder law in the Mohawk Valley just makes sense, he says. The population base here averages on the older side, and many younger family members have left the area, leaving older relatives to make arrangements for everything from nursinghome care to how they will pass on their estate when they die, he says. That’s where elder law comes into play, he says. It’s “where law meets aging and the challenges aging presents.” Aside from estate and long-term-care planning,

practice areas include probate and trust administration, planning for the preservation of assets, and Medicare and Medicaid planning and qualification. Rheinhardt took achieving the certificaRheinhardt tion as a personal challenge. “I wanted to see where I was [compared] with other practitioners,” he says. Additionally, the certification exam has a relatively low pass rate of about 20 percent, he adds. “It’s pretty rigorous and demanding.” Along with passing the certification exam, an attorney must meet a number of other criteria in order to gain certification. He or she must be licensed to practice in at least one state, have practiced during the previous five years and still be practicing law, must be a member in good standing of the state bar associations in all places where he/she is licensed, and must have spent an average of at least 16 hours per week practicing elder law for the past three years and have handled a minimum of at least 60 elder-law matters during that time. The attorney also needs to complete a minimum of 45 hours of continuing legal education in elder law, and submit references from five attorneys familiar with his/her competence

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and qualifications in elder law. Now achieved, the certification adds an extra layer of expertise to the services that the Radley & Rheinhardt firm offers, Rheinhardt says. “We’re in an age where specializing and recognition of competence means something to people,” he says. While he is not pinning any growth hopes on the certification, Rheinhardt says it does ensure the firm’s capabilities to clients, particularly because there are continuingeducation requirements to meet to keep the certification and because all attorneys at the firm who practice elder-care law will be working to achieve the certification. Rheinhardt declined to disclose the number of clients the firm has. Radley & Rheinhardt (www.elderlawanswers.com), headquartered at 85 Otsego St. in Ilion, has two other attorneys, Christopher Bray and Regan RondinelliHaberek, along with three full-time support staff members and one part-time staffer. Along with achieving CELA status, Rheinhardt, who has practiced law for more than 25 years, is an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and serves as the district delegate to the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. q Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com

MVCC launches free CyberJobs training program By Traci DeLore Journal Staff

UTICA — Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC) recently launched MVCC CyberJobs, a training opportunity for area residents who seek new skills in highgrowth job fields such as information technology and cybersecurity. MVCC is funding the program with a $2.78 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, which will provide training for up to 2,500 local people over the next three years. MVCC administers the program in collaboration with more than 40 local partners. The free program helps people at any stage from entry level to expert. Applicants do not need to have prior IT or cybersecurity experience and will be matched to the right non-credit courses, credit courses, and certifications based on an assessment of their skills. Participants will receive inperson assessments and career counseling, including a long-term career plan. CyberJobs trainees will receive grantfunded scholarships for all or part of the cost of training, depending on the programs See program, page 4


The Mohawk Valley Business Journal • 3

February 7-20, 2011

REACH: Cook: “Lining up the first two tenants is a huge step for the REACH Microenterprise Center” Continued from page 1

tion, it purchased the former Oliver’s Office Supply building in 2005 in hopes of transforming the 28,000-square-foot space into an incubator for growing businesses, Cook says. Rome Up and Running paid $100,000 for the building, along with $38,000 in delinquent county, school, and city taxes. Now, after years of hard work renovating the interior and exterior of the building, the REACH Microenterprise Center is ready to welcome its first paying tenants, Cook says. As part of the plan to keep the center financially viable, four 1,000-square-foot “storefront” spaces along the Dominick Street side of the building were renovated to house “market rate” tenants, she explains. Theses spaces aren’t for start-up businesses, but for more established businesses prepared to pay a normal lease amount, and two such tenants are already lined up to move in this month, she says. Cook did not specify lease prices for the storefront space and the microenterprise space, but did indicate the microenterprise space will lease for a discounted rate.

Tenants

The Ilion law firm Radley & Rheinhardt, P.C. and Joseph A. Gunther, Certified Financial Planner, a Norwich–based financial-planning firm, will both move into one of the storefronts this month, she says. Jeffrey Rheinhardt, senior partner at Radley & Rheinhardt, says his Ilion law firm wanted to open a second office so the firm could more easily serve a broader geographic area. The REACH center offered the perfect space in an underserved market in the area of elder law, which his firm specializes in, he says. “We are really excited,” Rheinhardt says of the new office. His firm will initially employ two staff members there with the firm’s three attorneys splitting their time between the two offices. He hopes to add a full-time attorney to the Rome office in late 2011 or early 2012. (For more on

photo courtesy of Wallis, Loiacono & Cook, CPA’s, P.C.

The REACH Microenterprise Center features four 1,000-square-foot “storefront” spaces along the Dominick Street side of the building that were renovated to house “market rate” tenants. Rheinhardt, see story, page 2.) Joseph A. Gunther says his Norwich– based financial-planning firm already has some clients in the Rome area, so the new office in the REACH Microenterprise Center will make it easier to serve those clients, as well as help the firm grow in the market. Along with working with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, Gunther says he will do some advertising with local media, but he expects the bulk of his busi-

ness to come via referrals from existing clients. His typical client has $250,000 or more in assets. Gunther, who hired an office manager and one other employee, expects the office to serve clients from Albany to Waterville. He also signed affiliation agreements with two financial planners, whom he did not name, who work as independent agents through his office. (For more on Gunther, see story, page 7.)

Lining up the first two tenants is a huge step for the REACH Microenterprise Center, Cook says, and will hopefully be the catalyst for more development at the center. Along with 14,000 square feet of space open to microenterprises as well as other businesses, Cook says Rome Up and Running hopes to add other amenities such as a black-box theater to the facility. But the building’s most important role will be as a place where small start-up companies can find lower-cost office space to lease, she says. “When they’re just starting out, they can’t afford to pay for the professional services they need,” she says. At the REACH center, computer infrastructure is already in place and businesses will share common areas such as conference rooms. Cook says no specific timeline for filling the center is established and it will depend on when the organization can lease out the other two storefront spaces as the lease income from those spaces will help fund further development of the center. Rome Up and Running defines a microenterprise as a business employing between one and five people including the owner, generating gross sales between $1 and $500,000, and needing less than $35,000 in start-up costs. Rome Up and Running, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation. In 2009, the organization generated revenue of $487,691 and expenses of 54,088, according to its Form 990 available at www.guidestar.org. q Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com

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OMISSION Editor’s Note: In the Jan. 24–Feb. 6 issue of The Mohawk Valley Business Journal, we published a Top Ranks listing of colleges and universities, but inadvertently omitted USC The Business College. With a full-time enrollment of 324 students in 2010–11, USC The Business College would have been ranked No. 9 on the list. Below is the rest of its information: USC The Business College 201 Bleecker St., Utica, NY 13501 Phone/ Fax: (315) 733-2300/ 733-9281 Website: www.uscny.edu Year Established: 1896 Full-time Enrollment (undergrad./ grad.): 324/ 0 Part-time Enrollment (undergrad./ grad.): 155/ 0 Faculty (full time/ part time): 15/58 2010–2011 Tuition: $11,680 No. of FTE Employees: 53 No. of Alumni: 10,000 Key Officials: Philip M. Williams, President; John L. Crossley, Exec. VP Admin.; Wendy Cary, Dir., Canastota Branch; Scott K. Williams, Dir., Oneonta Branch/Dean of Students; Richard H. Hilton, VP Finance; Thomas J. Finch, Exec. VP of Academics

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• The Mohawk Valley Business Journal

February 7-20, 2011

New state-wage law to have big impact on employers BY KEVIN TAMPONE JOURNAL STAFF

A

new state law governing wages is set to take effect in April and will touch every employer in the state, attorneys at Mackenzie Hughes, LLP said. The law, the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act, deals with a variety of areas involved in how workers are paid including pay stubs, notices, recordkeeping, and penalties. Gov. David Paterson signed the act into law in December, before his term ended. Lawyers from Syracuse–based Mackenzie Hughes discussed the new law and its implications during a presentation Jan. 11. The act actually amends sections of existing labor law, adding requirements and expanding some areas. And because it amends the law, rather than replacing it entirely, earlier requirements on items like notices remain in place, attorneys said. Among the most immediate new require-

ments is one mandating that employers provide both new hires as well as current employees a written statement outlining details of their pay. Although the statement was always required for new hires, the new law states that employers must provide one for current employees each year before Feb. 1, said Jacqueline Jones, a partner at Mackenzie Hughes. And while the act does not officially take effect until April, Jones advised companies to begin providing the annual statements this year. “The safest thing is to just get these notices together for your existing employees,” she said. Employees must then sign the notice and return it — every year, Jones added. She noted that the law does not include any information about how it will treat employers who use electronic or paperless payroll systems. She didn’t anticipate that they would have to change their practices, but

said it’s something the Department of Labor will have to decide. Electronic recordkeeping is an evolving area of law throughout the country, Jones said. Some statutes deal with it specifically while others make no mention. In addition to new notice and recordkeeping requirements, the act also expands penalties in the labor law. The new penalties apply to the Wage Theft Prevention Act as well as other areas of current labor law governing wages, said Christian Jones, a Mackenzie Hughes partner. As a result of the new act, the law will permit damages of up to 100 percent of wages found to be due in a civil wage case. That’s an increase from 25 percent under current law, Christian Jones said. And if an employer defaults on paying a final judgment in a wage case for more than 90 days, the law imposes an additional 15 percent in damages. In addition, new employees must receive

a notice of wages within 10 business days of the first day of work. Workers can bring civil actions to recover damages of $50 a week for each week that the violation occurred. The damages are capped at $2,500, although there is no cap present if the labor commissioner brings an action against an employer, according to Mackenzie Hughes. The act also expands the types of businesses subject to criminal penalties for nonpayment of wages to include partnerships and limited liability corporations and their officers and agents, Christian Jones said. Current law applies criminal penalties only to corporations and their officers and agents. “These are some big enhancements in penalties for employers,” he said. “New York in the last couple of years has really ramped up enforcement on wage-payment issues. They’re not messing around.”  Contact Tampone at ktampone@tmvbj.com

PROGRAM: CyberJobs features MVCC’s credit and non-credit courses Continued from page 2

selected. Online applications are available at mvcc. edu/cyberjobs or through the Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties at www.working-so-

lutions.org. Hard copy pre-applications are available at MVCC’s Center for Corporate and Community Education offices at the Utica and Rome campuses and at the area’s Working Solutions One-Stop Career Centers in Utica, Rome, Herkimer, and Oneida. CyberJobs features MVCC’s credit and

non-credit courses, and MVCC is working in conjunction with Herkimer County Community College, Morrisville State College, Utica School of Commerce, and SUNY Institute of Technology at UticaRome. “To revitalize the local economy, we need

a well-trained work force, and CyberJobs is one creative way we are working with our partners to get that job done,” MVCC President Randall VanWagoner said in a news release.  Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com

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The Mohawk Valley Business Journal • 5

February 7-20, 2011

TOP RANKS: MOHAWK VALLEY ADVERTISING AGENCIES Ranked by Number of MV FT Ad Staff

growth strategy, innovation, brand strategy, customer strategy & marketing, advertising, software applications, iPhone apps, social media, social-networking development, software development, digital consulting

5

25 15

5

5

10 10 25

-

2.

Paige Marketing Comm. Group, Inc. 258 Genesee St., Suite 204 Utica, NY 13502 (315) 733-2313/ 733-1901 www.paigegroup.com

14

14

11

marketing, public relations, analog & digital implementation platforms, government relations & issue management, media planning

5

5

5

14

5

10 25 30

1

3.

Professional Media Services 185 Genesee St., Suite 1600 Utica, NY 13501 (315) 797-8236/ 724-8094 www.promediaonline.com

10

10

60

media consulting, media placement, Internet marketing

18 20 15

2

3

10

2

20 10

-

Kenneth Roser, CEO Roxanne Roser, CFO Lisa Militano, VP Ops. Lisa Roser, Sr. Marketing Consultant

1981

4.

MPW Marketing LLC 12½ East Park Row, Suite A Clinton, NY 13323 (315) 853-1080/ 853-1081 www.mpwmarketing.com

9

9

19

strategic marketing, B2B, B2C, advertising creative, 10 20 10 20 media buying & planning, TV, radio, print, publications, websites & online marketing, SEO, SEM, social media, custom programming

-

5

5

15 15

Totaline, Carrier Northeast, Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare, Nye Automotive, Masonic Home

Matt Wilson, Owner

2006

5.

The Ad Group Agency, Inc. 114 Cottage St., Suite 201 Oriskany Falls, NY 13425 (315) 306-4009/ 306-4013 www.the-ad-group.com

8

11

65

1

Romanelli Communications 2 College St. Clinton, NY 13323 (315) 853-3941/ 853-3946 www.romanelli.com

8

9

35

7.

Foster Martin Agency 78 Genesee St. New Hartford, NY 13413 (315) 797-5073 www.fostermartin.com

7

7

8

mobile application development, Internet & SEO marketing, website design & development, email marketing, design & creative services

5

10

-

8.

Davis Media LLC 231 Bleecker St. Utica, NY 13501 (315) 794-0895/ 733-9281 www.davismediallc.com

3

3

27

advertising media planning and placement, marketing campaigns, TV and radio commercial production

21 40 15

-

-

9.

Brockett Creative Group, Inc. 4299 Middle Settlement Road New Hartford, NY 13413 (315) 797-5088/ 797-5099 www.brockettcreative.com

2

6

228

full-service design & creative direction, strategic consulting, integrated branding, print marketing, identity campaigns, promotional items, searchengine marketing (SEO/SEM), web development, website-hosting services

5

-

Carpenter & Damsky Advertising 2107 Genesee St. Utica, NY 13501 (315) 734-1720/ 734-1447 www.carpenteranddamsky.com

2

3

30

commercial production, radio & TV, media placement, digital marketing, web, and creative services

5

SIXTH SENSE Marketing Adv. & Communications 332 Brockway Road Frankfort, NY 13340 (315) 765-1102/ 735-9115 www.sixthsensemac.com (under development)

1

1

5

marketing, branding, creative, traditional, digital advertising, public relations, social media

-

.

. 11.

creative, comprehensive in-house production facilities for TV, radio, and print; collateral materials, POS merchandise, websites, branding

Other

100

Company Specialties

Multimedia

25

No. MV Clients

PR

Consumer Mag.

20

Total Staff

Newspaper

Trainor Associates 135 Oxford Road New Hartford, NY 13413 (315) 797-7970/ 797-7975 www.trainor.com

No. of MV FT Ad Staff

Television

1.

Rank

Name Address Phone/Fax Website

Radio

Trade Pub.

Direct Marketing

% of 2010 Billings:

Major Clients

Key Executives

GM, SBLI USA, Oneida County Tourism, Adirondack Bank, Sitrin, Cooley Group, North American Vegetarian Society, Kids Oneida, Maty's Healthy Products

Timothy J. Trainor, President & CEO

Indium Corp., SEACO, Burrows Paper Nancy Pattarini, President & CEO Corp., Cathedral Corp., Shumaker Christine Shields, VP Media Engineering, Saratoga Associates, Director MVWA, OHSWA, NYS DPS, Bank of Claude Schuyler, VP Senior Creative Utica Corp. Director

Year Estab. 1985

1968

16 37 34

2

2

2

1

5

Joe Tahan's Furniture, Fenton Ford, Choice Family Dental, Herb Philipson's, Davidson Automotive Group, Hear USA, Oneida Healthcare Center, Rome Teachers FCU

David C. Bean, President David A. Peroni, Media Director Kimberly Bridge, Head of Operations

1996

informed and strategic marketing communications, 20 20 10 client engagement, and relationship building

5

-

10 10 25

-

F.X. Matt Brewery, First Source Federal Credit Union, JAY-K, JETNET LLC, Mohawk Valley Heart Institute, UFCW Local 1500

Joseph Romanelli, President Beth Romanelli-Hapanowicz, Vice President

1973

-

-

-

30 45

-

-

13 12

-

60

-

-

Christine Martin, President Foster Fahey, Vice President

2002

7

4

9

4

Utica School of Commerce, JM Door, Harts Hill Inn, DK Griffith and Company, Heritage Health Care Center, Oriskany Garage and Tire, Lutheran Care

Bruce Davis, President

2006

-

-

15 70 10

Herkimer Foods, FishNY.com, Lake Ontario Outdoors Magazine, DrRock.com, M&L Trucking, International Wire Group, Radley & Rheinhardt P.C.

Matt Brockett, President/Creative Director Michael Sprague, VP/Director of Web Development

2001

-

-

5

-

15

-

-

George Carpenter, Partner Barry Damsky, Partner

1997

-

-

-

-

-

-

educational institutions, network of nationwide (furniture) retailers, nonprofit organizations, music industry

Rachel Rogers, Owner

2010

Note: Information was provided by representatives of listed organizations and their websites. Other groups may have been eligible but did not respond to requests for information.

RESEARCH BY JULIE SHARKEY 02/11 jsharkey@tmvbj.com

Mohawk Valley includes Herkimer and Oneida counties.

The Prestons hope to fill void in Ilion with new Village Deli By Traci DeLore Journal Staff

ILION — Robert Preston and his wife, Sally, combined their love of cooking with a desire to fill a void in Ilion’s business community and opened Village Deli at 35 Central Plaza last month. Located next to Lennox Bros. Pharmacists, Village Deli sells a full array of deli products from bologna to corned beef, along with salads, fresh breads, sandwiches, tomato pie, soups, chili, pulled pork, and cheeses. “We carry River Rat cheese,” says Robert Preston. The deli also stocks a Village Deli line of gourmet mustards, salsas, jellies, and spices. “We have a couple tables so people can sit down and eat,” he adds. Preston says opening a business like Village Deli has long been a dream for

the couple. His wife works full time as a convenience-store manager, and Preston runs Construction Tools Service, a toolrepair business. Together, with help from their teen-aged daughter, they staff the deli when not working their other jobs. “We had a little money saved up,” Preston says of how they turned their dream into reality. A friend of the family had success opening a similar type of business in Verona, and Preston says he felt a deli would be a good fit for Ilion, which has gone without a full-service deli since the Great American grocery store closed at least five years ago. Currently, Ilion’s only grocery-type store is an Aldi Foods store on Central Avenue. “I’ve had a lot of compliments from customers coming in that this is what Ilion really needed,” he says. Since opening on Jan. 3, Preston says the deli is receiving lots of buzz.

“We’re getting really good feedback on our subs,” he says. Although January and February are “slow” months, he says business is good at the deli. He declines to disclose sales or disclose sales projections, but says the deli sold 40 subs on a recent Friday, its highest total since opening. The Prestons lease the 1,700-squarefoot space from James and Diane Bower. Preston remodeled the space, which used to house a chiropractor’s office, himself. Work included tearing out partitions and repainting the space. He declined to disclose start-up costs, but says the couple funded the project with their own savings and did not receive any financial assistance from the village, which has offered grants and low-interest loans in the past. So far, business at Village Deli has been faring well just through word-of-mouth advertising, Preston says. People stop in and then tell a friend. The deli will begin adver-

tising in Herkimer’s The Evening Telegram in the near future, he adds. Preston says the deli is attracting a small crowd from nearby Remington Arms, which employs about 1,000 people, and he hopes to build upon that. In addition to growing his lunch crowds, Preston says he plans on expanding the deli’s other products — currently including the Village Deli line of products, sodas, and penny candy — by adding items such as Byrne Dairy milk. “I’m even thinking about adding some natural foods,” he says. Preston is also hoping to bottle his own barbecue-sauce recipe to sell in the deli. Village Deli is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The deli is closed on Sunday. q Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com


6

• The Mohawk Valley Business Journal

February 7-20, 2011

CONMED: Ended 2010 with $12.4 million in cash

t l y.

Continued from page 1 B:11 in

For the full 2010 year, ConMed reported net income of $30.3 million, or $1.05 a share, on net sales of $713.7 million. That’s up from net income of $12.1 million, or 42 cents a share, on net sales of $694.7 million a year earlier. ConMed President and CEO Joseph Corasanti, during a Feb. 3 webcast discussing the company’s earnings, said the firm expected the fourth-quarter sales decline. A typical ConMed year shows strong sales in the first two quarters, soft sales in the third quarter, and the fourth quarter usually produces the strongest sales

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of the year, he says. However, that pattern changed in 2009 during the recession, and sales during the first half of the year slowed significantly, as hospitals delayed making capital expenditures. ConMed then saw a strong surge in sales during the third and fourth quarter, skewing the results for those quarters higher than normal, Corasanti said. That made it difficult to know what to expect comparatively for the fourth quarter of 2010, but he said he’s happy with the company’s sales for the quarter. “We finished 2010 meeting or exceeding the vast majority of the objectives we had established at the beginning of the year, especially with respect to profitability,” Corasanti said during the webcast. “All in all, we are pleased with the company’s performance in 2010.” Excluding special items, ConMed’s fourth-quarter earnings per share (EPS) totaled 36 cents. That matched what analysts had expected, according to Yahoo Finance data. However, analysts had predicted net sales of $189.04 million. Going forward, the analysts’ consensus is for first-quarter revenue of nearly $181 million and EPS of 33 cents, according to Yahoo Finance. That’s in line with Corasanti’s estimates of $180 million to $185 million, with EPS between 29 cents and 34 cents. Shares of ConMed’s stock closed at $26.01 on Feb. 2 and traded slightly down in initial trading Feb. 3, shortly after the company released its earnings report. “We are pleased with the profitability and strong cash flow generated by our business in 2010, and are excited by the long-term potential impact to our top-line we expect from a number of our recently launched products, including our tissue-sealing device,” Corasanti said on the webcast. “Moreover, we believe that there will be continued measured improvement in the overall economy in 2011 and base our outlook on this premise.” For 2011, he predicts full-year sales of about $745 million to $755 million with EPS between $1.40 and $1.50.

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ConMed’s international sales in the fourth quarter were $89.1 million, or 48.4 percent of total sales, down $1.1 million from a year earlier. Cash flow from operating activities, at $23 million, was more than three times greater than net income for the quarter. During the quarter, ConMed continued its consolidation of various administrative functions in its ConMed Linvatec division and continued the transfer of additional product lines to its Mexico manufacturing plant. The company spent $800,000 on these efforts in the fourth quarter and $3.9 million for the year. In addition, during the fourth quarter, the company said it terminated a product offering in the Linvatec division with associated costs of $2.5 million. ConMed ended 2010 with $12.4 million in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet, up from $10.1 million at the end of 2009. ConMed (www.conmed.com) specializes in surgical devices and equipment for minimally invasive procedures and patient monitoring. The company employs about 3,300 people worldwide. q Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com


February 7-20, 2011

The Mohawk Valley Business Journal • 7

Banking & Finance

SPECIAL REPORT

Norwich financial planner to open Rome office By Traci DeLore Journal Staff

ROME — After buying a house near Delta Lake, Joseph Gunther knew nearby Rome would be the perfect spot to open a third location for his Norwich–based financial-planning business, Joseph A. Gunther, Certified Financial Planner. The Rome area needs services like those his firm provides, Gunther contends. “We work with individuals and help them to establish a special type of payout of their pension,” he says. His firm segments clients’ pension plans into five-year “buckets” so that payouts are tailored to meet the changing needs of retirement, he says. Gunther already has some clients in the Rome area, so the new office will make it easier to serve those clients, as well as help the firm grow in the market. Along with working with the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, Gunther says he will do some advertising with local media, but he expects the bulk of his business to come via referrals from existing clients. His typical client has $250,000 or more in assets. Gunther, who hired an office manager

and one other employee, expects the office to serve clients from Albany to Waterville. He also signed affiliation agreements with two financial planners, whom he did not name, who work as independent agents through his office. The new Rome office, expected to open in February, is located in the non-profit Rome Up and Running, Inc.’s REACH Microenterprise Center at 201-211 W. Dominick St. The 28,000-square-foot building includes four 1,000-square-foot storefront spaces — one of which Gunther will use — along with 14,000 square feet of space open to microenterprises as well as other businesses, says Kim Cook, treasurer of Rome Up and Running. The facility will offer other amenities in the future such as a black-box theater. Cook declined to release lease prices for the building. Ilion law firm Radley & Rheinhardt, P.C. is also moving into one of the storefronts. Gunther, in business for 24 years, employs nine people at his firm. Joseph A. Gunther, Certified Financial Planner is headquartered at 19 Eaton Ave. in Norwich, and also has an office in Oneonta. The business (www.joegunther.com) has $32 million in as-

sets under management and is affiliated with Integrated Financial Group, a consortium of independent financial planners in 11 states with combined assets under management of $1.2 billion. The firm offers securities through

Securities America, Inc. and advisory services through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Will this new federal bureau provide meaningful change or just add another layer of bureaucracy?

O

  n July 21, a new bureau created   within the Federal Reserve System   by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 will begin oversight of the consumer financial-services industry. Organizations that will fall under its jurisdiction include banks, savings associations, credit unions, bank and non-bank mortgage lenders, non-bank consumer financial-services companies such as payday lenders, private student-loan companies, credit-card issuers, credit bureaus, and debt collectors. The search for a director to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is still under way. According to Elizabeth Warren, Harvard Law professor, and long-time consumer advocate appointed by President Obama to oversee setup of the CFPB, the mission of the new bureau is to level the playing field for consumers without absolving individuals of their responsibility to make sound

financial decisions. The CFPB will have broad authority over the U.S. consumer financial system, including enforcement and oversight of 18 existing consumer-related financial regulations. Congress has also granted the bureau power to issue even more regulations of viewpoint the consumer financial industry. And, the CFPB will directly enforce compliance for financial products and services at banks and credit unions with assets exceeding $10 billion. Existing federal regulators will continue to supervise smaller depository institutions.

CATHERINE LIDDY CASLER

Early focus on non-depository lenders

The new federal bureau will also serve as the supervisory entity for non-depository financial institutions (e.g., payday lenders, private student-loan providers, and nondepository mortgage lenders). These types of lenders were previously regulated only by the states in which they operate. Certain companies in this category have been blamed, whether rightly or wrongly,

as the source of some of the more outrageous abuses of consumer naïveté during the decade just ended. The CFPB’s early efforts have focused on the non-depository area and forging cooperative relationships with state consumerenforcement administrators. On Jan. 4, the CFPB announced an agreement with the Conference of State Banking Supervisors intended to streamline supervision of these industries. State regulators and the CFPB say they will share information and coordinate examinations and enforcement procedures with the goals of minimizing regulatory burden and increasing the efficiency of regulatory resources. The CFPB still needs to make similar agreements with other state agencies that regulate non-depository lenders in order to bring more of these widely dispersed government consumer-protection forces under its influence. The result of some other prior attempts to protect consumers through federal regulation, such as the 2009 CARD Act (Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure), resulted in the negative, but unintended consequence that more people went to high-cost payday lenders and loan sharks because credit from traditional banks and credit-card companies became less available to those with lower credit scores.

Consumers presently receive no less than nine written disclosures required under federal regulations when they obtain a mortgage — four written disclosures for a personal loan, and five when they open a bank account. Most of these disclosures require the consumer to acknowledge receipt. It is doubtful that most consumers read and fully understand all of the multipage notices of jargon and charts they acknowledge when they agree to borrow and pay back money. Warren has stated her desire to see the CFPB simplify the disclosures that consumers receive for credit transactions. At this point, it is still unknown whether the CFPB’s good intentions in creating new regulations and revamping existing consumer financial-protection regulations will yield the benefits of a fairer and more efficiently profitable financial-services industry. And, we don’t know if instead, the new bureau’s efforts will breed the next trap for the uninformed, desperate “Everyday Joe” and drive smaller, long-established lenders from the market.

Bigger bureaucracy

The CFPB will have within it seven new offices and units dedicated to consumer financial protection: See CASLER, page 8


8

banking & finance

• The Mohawk Valley Business Journal

February 7-20, 2011

NBT Q4 profit rises nearly 5%

NBT Bancorp, Inc.

Member FDIC

en committed to delivering the best in community banking. Our bankers are your neighbors, and we’ve been in the ctive and engaged in the community and committed to helping create more local success stories.

believe in a bank that puts customers first. They work hard every day to exceed the By Traci DeLore Mohawk Valley region. In fact, they are part of a team that enjoys some of the highest Journal Staff untry. puts you first. Stop by any of our convenient Mohawk Valley offices today.

NORWICH — NBT Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: wHitesboRo HeRkimeR middleville NBTB) reported that net income rose 4.6 h Manager - ann Pohl, Rome Black River Branch Manager - Rich Callahan, Retail Regional Manager gional Commercial Banking Manager - barb Chilluffo, Business Banker - steve teachout, Mortgage percent to $14.4 million, or 42 cents aOriginator share, in the fourth quarter from $13.8 million, or 40 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Net income for the full 2010 year totaled $57.4 million, or $1.66 per diluted share, up 10.4 percent from $52 million, or $1.53, in 2009. “While the economy and the financialservices industry continued to face challenges in 2010, our team remained focused on aggressively managing our conservative banking strategy, as well as continued strategic investment and new market expansion to support future growth,” NBT President and CEO Martin Dietrich said in the earnings release, issued on Jan. 24. NBT’s earnings per share (EPS) of 42 )

CliNtoN

cents beat the 41 cents estimated by Damon DelMonte, an analyst in the QUARTERLY  Hartford, Conn. REPORT office of New York City–based equityresearch firm 12/30/10 Keefe,10:34 Bruyette & Woods, Inc. AM NBT’s full-year EPS matched DelMonte’s, which he reduced from $1.70 after the third quarter on concerns about interest rates. Going forward, DelMonte predicts NBT will post first-quarter EPS of 40 cents, with full-year EPS of $1.75 for 2011. NBT’s share price rose a total of nearly 3 percent in the first two trading days following the earnings report. At the end of 2010, NBT’s total assets were $5.3 billion, down $125.2 million from a year earlier. Loans and leases totaled $3.6 billion, down $35.4 million; and total deposits were $4.1 billion, up $41.3 million.

During 2010, NBT repurchased 23,810 shares of its common stock at an average price of $20.03 per share for a total of $500,000. The company’s board of directors declared a first-quarter cash dividend of 20 cents per share, payable on March 15 to shareholders of record as of March 1. NBT (www.nbtbancorp.com), headquartered in Norwich, is a financial-holding company with $5.3 billion in total assets. The company operates through NBT Bank (www.nbtbank.com), N.A., a full-service community bank with two divisions — NBT Bank has 124 locations in New York and Vermont, and Pennstar Bank (www. pennstarbank.com) has 37 branches in northeastern Pennsylvania. EPIC Advisors, Inc. (www.epic1st.com), based in Rochester, is a full-service 401(k) plan recordkeeping firm. Mang Insurance Agency, LLC (www. manginsurance.com), in Norwich is a full-

Symbol: NBTB Recent price: 23.23 52-week high: 25.96 52-week low: 19.27 52-week change: 15.85% Exch: NYSE 6-month history

25 24 23 22 20 0

A10 S10 O10 N10 D10 J11 SOURCE: YAHOO FINANCE

service insurance agency. NBT’s Mohawk Valley branches include Utica, Whitesboro, New Hartford, Clinton, Middleville, Rome, Herkimer, Verona, Richfield Springs, and Earlville. q Contact DeLore at tgregory@tmvbj.com

CASLER: Banking industry has expressed concerns about potential misuse of the complaint database Continued from page 7

• Office of Financial Education • Office of Fair Lending & Equal Opportunity • Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans • Office of Service Member Affairs • Private Student Loan Ombudsman • Community Affairs Unit • Research Unit The CFPB’s legal mandate includes implementation of a toll-free telephone number, a website, and a database intended to facilitate the centralized collection, monitoring, and response to consumer complaints regarding financial products or services. The goal is to bring unfair or deceptive practices to the attention of government regulators quickly.

While the banking sector generally welcomes the prospect of curing the fragmented multi-agency system of addressing consumer complaints, it has also expressed concerns about potential misuse of the complaint database. The worry is that a representative of a particular company might make false accusations against a competitor and register multiple, unsubstantiated complaints. Another concern is that the public-complaint database containing consumers’ personal information could be used by identity thieves. In the months leading up to the CFPB’s official date to take control, the existing five federal agencies that already regulate the financial industry continue to issue amendments of existing regulations, requiring more changes by banks and credit unions to lending procedures and consumer dis-

Your local source for business news and information

www.tmvbj.com

closures. The American Bankers Association, Consumer Mortgage Coalition, and Mortgage Bankers Association have recently expressed to the Federal Reserve their joint support for improvements in the disclosure process, along with their frustration over the historical and continuing piecemeal approach to amending regulations. They stated that the result has been unnecessarily complex and sometimes, conflicting requirements, which are costly to implement, and have smaller community-based financial institutions re-evaluating the feasibility and pricing of products and services. Financial institutions that have been making sound loans and credit extensions all along will welcome changes that would remove the “Wild West” atmosphere that

infiltrated the consumer and residential mortgage-lending arena over the past few decades, but they may also be wary of examination by yet another government agency. While there is no doubt that consumers and the nation’s economy would benefit from easier-to-understand financial products, it remains to be seen whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will provide meaningful positive change to the U.S. financial system. Or instead, will it just add another layer of bureaucracy and create more paperwork that goes unread by the consumer. q Catherine Liddy Casler is a certified internal auditor and an audit manager at Dermody, Burke & Brown, CPAs, LLC. Contact her at clc@dbbllc.com

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The Mohawk Valley Business Journal • 9

February 7-20, 2011

COMBINATION: Grant awards will cover the costs involved with combining the organizations Continued from page 1

2010, she says. Formed in 2005, HAC-CNY is a nonprofit collaboration of leaders and organizations in health care, business, and insurance in the area. HAC-CNY’s bylaws state the organization’s purpose is “to create community efforts to address issues relative to the health care delivery and financing system in Central Upstate New York, particularly those that might address the safety, quality, access, and/or cost of health care services.” The not-for-profit HAC-CNY is located on the 10th floor of the State Tower Building at 109 S. Warren St. in downtown Syracuse. HAC-CNY’s founding members include the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, the Hospital Executive Council, the Manufacturers Association of Central New York, the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York, the Onondaga Medical Society, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. CNYHSA, based at 5700 Commons Park Drive in DeWitt, is a nonprofit regional healthplanning agency focused on system and program planning, policy development, data and financial analysis, utilization research, and project review. CNYHSA serves an 11-county area of Central New York. In the upcoming combination, HAC-CNY brings an “extremely strong” board of directors, with the commitment of the business and provider community, says Smith. HAC-CNY is the organization that oversees the regional health-information organization (RHIO). The RHIO is a program within HAC-CNY that represents the policies, the governance, and staffing that oversees HealtheConnections. That’s the clinical-information exchange, launched in June 2010, on which health-care providers can share patient information safely and confidentially, according to HAC-CNY. “So, we have that infrastructure, both for data and for relationships with people that can really help the core piece of a planning initiative,” Smith says. Smith refers to the RHIO as HAC-CNY’s “highest priority.” For its part, the CNYHSA brings historical expertise and familiarity with communityhealth planning, says Timothy Bobo, executive director of the CNYHSA. “That’s been our sole function over the last 30 to 35 years,” says Bobo.

assessment of regional health and health-service needs, according to the CNYHSA. The organizations will also use a grant of $115,000 from the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York and a $35,000 contribution from Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield, the largest insurer in Central New York, to underwrite the costs of the consolidation process. When asked how much it is costing to combine the organizations, Bobo didn’t provide a specific dollar figure but noted the grant awards will cover the costs. The combined organization should become official later this year, Bobo says. He says he’s not sure as of now if it will have a new name.

About the groups

HAC-CNY currently employs two people

Business Journal, is a member of the HAC-CNY board of directors. CNYHSA currently employs four full-time employees. When asked if the combined organization will result in any job cuts, Bobo replied that it’s “too early to tell,” but also added it’s more likely the organization will need additional staff. CNYHSA operates on a budget of $879,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30. In its annual report covering July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, CNYHSA generated revenue of more than $776,000. CNYHSA had total expenses of more than $826,000, resulting in an operating loss of nearly $50,000 for that year. q Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@tmvbj.com

presents

March 28, 2011

Joining forces

Bobo and Smith say both organizations have committees that reviewed their respective missions and the directions each should take. That led to a joint meeting of the two committees and an agreement to submit a proposal to the New York State Department of Health for grant funding that would develop this new model for health planning, drawing on the expertise and strengths of each agency. The $1 million grant funding from the state’s Health Care Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL NY) represents the Health Department’s endorsement of the planned consolidation, they say. The HEAL NY grant provides funding over two years to build the infrastructure for the collaboration and to conduct three studies. The studies will focus on unnecessary emergency-room use, the need and demand for long-term care services, and the identification of future priorities based on a comprehensive

full time, including Robert Hack, the RHIO director who joined the organization last spring. Hack is also overseeing the efforts of five contractors, whom he says he has the approval to eventually hire. “It’s likely by the end of the year that I will be converting them from contractors to employees,” Hack says. Hack also referred to Smith as a part-time contractor for the organization. HAC-CNY operates on an annual budget of $5.8 million, which includes grants and community funding, Hack says. Orrin MacMurray, chairman and CEO of the C&S Companies in Salina, is the current chairman of the HAC-CNY board. Norman Poltenson, publisher of The Central New York Business Journal, The Mohawk Valley Business Journal, and The Greater Binghamton

LAST CHANCE TO NOMINATE! Deadline is February 10

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Celebrate the exceptional work done in our community by the vast number of nonprofit groups in Central New York, the Mohawk Valley Region, and Greater Binghamton. New This Year: Several honorees will be selected from each category, announced prior to the event and will be recognized at an awards luncheon on March 28 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Syracuse. The Honorees will be featured online and in the special event publication in The Business Journals prior to the event. For more information or to nominate, contact Marny Nesher at mnesher@bizeventz.com or call (315) 579-3925

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10

• The Mohawk Valley Business Journal

February 7-20, 2011

OPINION

Business Journal M

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A W

K

V A

L

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The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission: Good Theater

Vol. 11, No. 3 — Feb. 7-20, 2011 Associate Publisher...........William Randall brandall@tmvbj.com

NEWS Editor-in-Chief....................Adam Rombel arombel@tmvbj.com Assistant Editor..............Maria J. Carbonaro mcarbonaro@tmvbj.com Staff Writers............................. Traci DeLore tgregory@tmvbj.com Kevin Tampone (Online Editor) ktampone@tmvbj.com Eric Reinhardt ereinhardt@tmvbj.com Production Manager.................. Erin Zehr ewebb@tmvbj.com Research Manager................... Julie Sharkey jsharkey@tmvbj.com

SALES Advertising Manager....William Randall brandall@tmvbj.com Sr. Account Managers.......................................... Bernard B. Bregman bbregman@tmvbj.com Mary LaMacchia mlamacchia@tmvbj.com

CIRCULATION Circulation Management....(315) 579-3927

ADMINISTRATIVE Publisher..........................Norman Poltenson npoltenson@tmvbj.com Chief Operating Officer......Marny Nesher mnesher@tmvbj.com Business Manager................ Kurt Bramer kbramer@tmvbj.com

The Mohawk Valley Business Journal (ISSN #1050-3005) is published every other week by CNY Business Review, Inc. All contents copyrighted 2010. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Cover price $1.50 Subscription rate: $37 per year Call (800) 836-3539

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

O

  n Thursday, Jan. 27, Phil Ange  lides breathlessly announced the   release of a 576-page book representing the majority report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). To build excitement about the event, he had retained a communications firm to orchestrate the arrival of the book. By Sunday, the retailer Amazon.com had run out of copies. The FCIC, which by chaired was and Angelides composed of six Democrats and four Republicans, was created “to examine the causes of the current financial and economic crisis in the United from the States.” Congress espublisher tablished the commission in May 2009. FCIC reviewed millions of pages of documents, interviewed more than 700 witnesses, and held 19 days of public hearings. The role of the commission was to investigate the probable causes of the crisis in order to avoid future calamities. The report compared the goal of the inquiry to that of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates airplane accidents — uncover the cause of the accident but offer no policy recommendations. Unlike the NTSB investigations, however, the scope of the commission’s investigation was limited to 22 specific topics. Off the table were potential contributing causes such as government policy. The majority report, which only garnered the six Democratic votes, blamed predatory mortgage lenders for the flood of sub-prime loans; Wall Street investment bankers, driven by greed, who packaged toxic securities; lack of regulation and regulators who were asleep at their posts; and the inherent vulnerabilities of the financial system in general. The majority concluded that 30 years of deregulation had stripped away key safeguards against a crisis. The commission Democrats must have forgotten the 1991 FDIC Improvement Act, the toughest bank-regulatory law since the introduction of deposit insurance and long celebrated as the tool needed by regulators to avoid future bank crises. The four Republicans on the commis-

norman poltenson

sion issued not one but two dissenting opinions. Their criticism focused on the limited scope of the inquiry, why Congress would pass major regulatory legislation (Dodd-Frank Act) without waiting for the commission’s report, why the commission spent so little time on subjects such as global capital flows, and why the emphasis was on anecdotal information rather than hard data. The dissenters raised a number of interesting questions that need investigation. What was the role of government policy, if any, in fomenting the housing bubble that led to the collapse of the economy? If lack of regulation were the problem, why was the crisis global, including countries that were tightly regulated? Why did the FCIC focus only on the housing bubble and not on other asset classes like commercial real estate? Why did large, financial firms in other countries, which did not invest heavily in housing assets, also fail? Why didn’t the commission spend more time on inadequate international capital and liquidity standards? Why was no blame ascribed to borrowers for committing to mortgages they could not afford? Why were Government-Sponsored Entities (GSEs) like Fannie Mae exempted from reporting to the Securities & Exchange Commission? Why did borrowers, originators, and securities-rating agencies all fail to do their due-diligence? Why did they assume GSE debt was safe? Why was there no accurate count of the number of non-traditional mortgages issued? One example of the minority-report investigation makes clear why the majority report’s efforts were inadequate. In pursuing any role played by government policy in causing the housing bubble, the dissenters pointed first to Title XIII of the Housing and Commercial Development Act passed in 1992. The Act pushed the Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD) and Fannie Mae to offer low- and modest-income borrowers better access to credit. Where Fannie had originally been chartered to manage the secondary market in mortgages, it now assumed the mantle of supporting affordable housing. The technique for expanding credit access lay in lowering the mortgage-underwriting standards. The new credit guidelines included down-payments under 5 percent, calling cash-on-hand a down-payment, and approving borrowers with a credit history of delinquencies. Enter the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Originally passed by Congress in 1977, the act was created to eliminate

“The FCIC report may turn into a best-seller, but it should be categorized largely as fiction.” the practice of “red-lining” low-income districts. Banks were encouraged to reach out to these neighborhoods and offer credit, especially for home-ownership. In 1995, Congress tightened the restrictions by forcing banks to show that they were making loans in the “underserved” communities. Under the law, “community activists” held the power to prevent any merger or acquisition activity in the banking community unless the banks complied with CRA. In 2007, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition reported that in the preceding decade, banks nationwide had ponied up $4.5 trillion in CRA loans. Government policy took a new turn in 1994 when HUD issued its “best-practices initiative,” encouraging a reduction in underwriting standards. The initiative applied to 117 members of the Mortgage Bankers Association. This action created competition among Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHA, and banks to find enough borrowers to satisfy government directives. All of these institutions lowered their standards to satisfy quotas. Of the 27 million sub-prime loans at the time the housing bubble broke, 71 percent were owned or guaranteed by government agencies. The FCIC report may turn into a bestseller, but it should be categorized largely as fiction. The commissioners did not discuss or decide the causes of the economic implosion — they were handed the subjects to be discussed at the hearing. Commissioners were not included in interviews unless they were public and often didn’t even know who was being interviewed. Drafts of the report were delivered eight months late and the commissioners had only eight days to respond. They never met to discuss the report. The commission report is clearly little more than Beltway theater. Still, it may have value if it stirs others to investigate fully what precipitated the recent economic crisis. With perseverance and an open mind, we may yet heed Santayana’s warning. Norman Poltenson is the publisher of The Mohawk Valley Business Journal. Contact him at npoltenson@tmvbj.com

HOW TO REACH US MAIL: Send letters to: Editor, The Mohawk Valley Business Journal 31 Clintonview Blvd., New Hartford, N.Y. 13413 E-MAIL: letters@tmvbj.com • PHONE: (315) 624-0861 • FAX: (315) 624-0863


The Mohawk Valley Business Journal • 11

February 7-20, 2011

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Business Calendar

BANKING & FINANCE Oneida Savings Bank has promoted Russell H. Brewer to vice president, senior business banking officer. His was previously vice president, business banking officer. Brewer has been with Oneida Brewer Savings Bank for nine years. He graduated from Cornell University and completed his MBA at Le Moyne College. In the bank’s mortgage department, Mark A. Cavanagh was promoted to senior vice president, mortgage Cavanagh originations. He previously served as vice president, mortgage originations. Cavanagh graduated from Niagara University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Deborah S. Stickels was promoted Stickels to senior vice president, mortgage operations from vice president, mortgage operations. Stickels graduated from VVS Central School and Utica College of Syracuse University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Lerch business administration. Amy E. Lerch was promoted to assistant vice president, mortgage operations manager. Her most recent position has been mortgage operations officer. Lerch graduated from Mohawk Donegan Valley Community College with an associate degree. Kathleen J. Donegan has been promoted to senior vice president, retail banking from vice president, branch administration. Donegan is a graduate of Maria Kennedy Regina College and holds a general banking degree from the American Institute of Banking, as well as several AIB Certificates. Randall R. Kennedy was promoted to senior vice president, managed assets. His most Harrington recent position was vice president, managed assets. Kennedy graduated from SUNYIT with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The bank has promoted three employees to assistant vice president. Joni L. Harrington was promoted to assistant vice president, deposit services manager. Her most recent position was deposit ser-

OF EVENTS

a.m. at USC The Business College, 201 Bleecker St., Utica. For further information, contact Bruce Davis at (315) 794-0895.

february 10 n MV Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 421 Broad St., Utica. The event is hosted by Pavia Real Estate and co-sponsored by Pezzolanella Construction. Cost to attend is $10 for MV Chamber members, $20 for nonmembers. For details, visit the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce at www.mvchamber.org

february 17 n The Mohawk Valley Engineers Executive Council’s 61st Annual Mohawk Valley Technical Awards Banquet from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Roselawn Banquet House in New York Mills. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Davy Belk, director, information directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome Research Site. Nominations are still being sought for these annual awards, and the description and nomination forms remain available by e-mailing mveec1@gmail.com. For details regarding the banquet, visit www.mveec.org n How to Start Accepting Credit Card Purchases and Boost Profit Seminar from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Kunsela Hall, Room A-227, SUNYIT, 100 Seymour Road, Utica. Learn about costs, software, equipment, procedures, and how this will grow your bottom line. Refreshments are included. The fee is $20. Call the SBDC at (315) 792-7547 to register.

ONGOING EVENTS n Second and fourth Monday of every month, The Roman Orators Chapter of Toastmasters International meets from noon to 1 p.m. at the Griffiss Institute, 725 Daedalian Drive, Rome. For further information, visit www.romanorators.org n Every Tuesday, The Greater Utica Sunrise Rotary Club at 7

vices manager in the bank’s operations department. Harrington graduated from SUNY Morrisville with an associate degree in business administration. Penny L. Palmer was promoted to assistant Palmer vice president, assistant treasurer from assistant treasurer. Palmer graduated from SUNY Morrisville with an associate degree. Kelly Allen was promoted to assistant vice president, human resource director. Her most recent Allen position was human resource manager. Allen graduated from SUNY Potsdam and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in human services. She was also awarded a professional certification in human resources.

HEALTH CARE Marcia Buckley, RN, recently joined Valley Health Services as the director of quality assurance. Buckley is already familiar with VHS as she spent many hours

here through a prior position with Hospice. She joins the company with a strong nursing and long-term-care background as well as previous experience as the director of nursing at a long-term-care facility.

n First Tuesday of each month, SCORE Chapter 198 of Central New York counseling sessions from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce, 139 W. Dominick St., Rome. For information or to set up an appointment, call (315) 792-7553. n Last Tuesday of every month, The Mohawk Valley Ad Club meets at 5 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, Downtown Utica. Visit mvadclub.org for details. All programs are open to the public with a $30 fee for nonmembers. E-mail reservations to mvadclub. house@gmail.com n First Wednesday of each month, SCORE Chapter 198 of Central New York counseling sessions from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce, 200 Genesee St., Utica. For information or to set up an appointment, call (315) 792-7553. n First and third Wednesday of every month, CNY Biztalkers, from noon to 1 p.m. at Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy. Information concerning Toastmasters can be found at www.toastmasters.org n Second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, The Mohawk Valley Chapter of Toastmasters International at the Heritage Home at Sunset and Burrstone Road. No dinner served, but members can bring their own. n Third Wednesday of each month, Mohawk Valley Business Women’s Network dinner meeting and program, beginning at 6 p.m. at various restaurants in the Mohawk Valley. Call Olga Grandinette at (315) 794-1554 or e-mail: olga.grand@yahoo.com to reserve your seat no later than the Thursday prior to the event. The fee is $20 per person. Visit www.mvbwn.org for more information.   To have your business meetings or events in the Business Calendar, send them to movers@tmvbj.com

Buckley

INSURANCE Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Utica Region announced that Todd A. Muscatello has been named corporate vice president of sales at the health insurer. Most recently, he was vice president of sales for the company’s East region, national accounts, and labor relations. In his seven years with the company, he also has served as vice president of national accounts, regional vice president of sales, and manager of sales in the Rochester

Muscatello

Taylor

region. Muscatello serves on the executive committee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association’s National Labor Office. Steven Taylor has been named vice president of marketing. Most recently, Dober Taylor was employed by Humana, where he served as market practice leader for three years and director of sales for a year. Taylor spent seven years prior to that with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, where he held positions as account consultant, sales manager, and director of sales. Andrew Dober has been promoted to manager, labor relations. An 18-year employee of Excellus, Dober most recently served as labor-relations specialist. Matthew D. Briggs has been hired as an account manager at Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. Prior to joining Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Briggs was a commercial customerservice representative Briggs at Briggs, Bucciero and Smith Agency. He began his career in 1999 at The Ralph Briggs Agency, founded by his grandfather.


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• The Mohawk Valley Business Journal

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February 7-20, 2011

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