Meet Josephine Savastano

Chief Lending Officer for New York and New Jersey

JosephineGrowing up in a home with two working parents taught Josephine Savastano the value of hard work and pushing yourself to success. As our Chief Lending Officer for New York and New Jersey, Josephine is a key leader that’s helping to build communities through providing local businesses with the right guidance and solutions.

Recently, Josephine talked to us about her career and how her immigrant mother is her biggest inspiration.

 

  1. How did you get involved in your current career?
    I started in banking straight out of college, having earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. Francis College. I had always wanted to be in the business world and accounting was an excellent base to start from. I quickly learned through an internship with a major accounting firm that pursing my CPA was not what I wanted to do, but I landed a job at large national bank and started in their commercial banking training program. That start was over 30 years ago, and I count myself very lucky to be working in this industry today.


  2. What do you enjoy most about your career?
    I’ve had the privilege to work with many incredible people and have gotten to learn about many different industries and businesses. While a career in banking can be stressful at times, it is never boring. You can always learn something new and meet new people. It is a people business and is more of an art than a science. As bankers, we have an opportunity to be part of the local business community and to work with community leaders. Banks are part of the economic engine of any community and our investment helps those communities grow and prosper. We help business owners be more successful and continue to grow and invest and to help their employees to be successful and support their families.


  3. Who/What inspired you in your career?
    My mother was a great source of inspiration for me because she was always a take charge type of person, who worked hard to take care of everything and everyone. She had grown up on a farm in Ireland and was one of 7 children. She came to the U.S. as a young woman, by herself, and started her life. She eventually met and married my father, who was born in Brooklyn, and they started our family. I was a young teenager my mom decided that she wanted to become a U.S. citizen even though she had a green card. I remember helping her study for the exam. She was well prepared but very nervous because she had never been a strong student in school. She passed with flying colors.

    After she gained her citizenship, she was ready for another challenge. She had never graduated from high school in Ireland because they needed her to work on the farm, but it had always bothered her. She took a study course and worked hard to pass the GED test. And, again, I helped her study, but this time it was Science and English and Math. She passed the exam and it was one of her proudest moments. This was no small feat for a woman in her late 40’s who was working full time and taking care of her home and family. She taught me that it is never too late to learn and that if you work hard and stay focused that you can accomplish any goal. She was a woman who got things done.


  4. Who do you consider a Visionary Woman?
    When I heard the term “Visionary Woman”, I thought of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was one of only 9 women in a class of about 500 men when she started at Harvard Law School in 1956, after getting married and starting a family. When her husband was transferred to NY, she transferred to Cornell Law School and tied for first in her graduating class. She has been a champion for gender equality, challenging discriminatory laws that affected both men and women through out her long career. She was the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court, following Sandra Day O’Conner, and is the longest serving woman on the Court today. I hope that she continues to work and inspire us for many years to come.

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