How Massimo Gerosa’s Grit And Curiosity Grew His Banking Career From Milan, Italy To Austin, Texas
Massimo Gerosa’s financial career journey from CPA in Milan, Italy to Private Banking Relationship Manager at The Bank of Austin is one that was earned with immense grit and unending curiosity. From taking his first job upon arriving in America as a cashier at H-E-B, to transitioning into banking as a part-time teller, then working his way up through positions in relationship management, as a credit analyst and now private banking, the consistent thread woven throughout Massimo’s path leading him from one role to the next was his dedication to providing personalized customer service that always put the needs of his clients first. He shares about his career background, his mission in his role at The Bank of Austin, and how his secondary performance career as a professional musician has more parallels to the creative process of providing financial solutions to clients than one might think.
What is your career background and how did you end up at The Bank of Austin?
I am a native of Milan, Italy. I was an accountant and fiscal consultant for a CPA firm there for about eight years, until I met and married an American. We moved to the U.S. in 2009, first to Pennsylvania and then we landed in Austin. I was a cashier at H-E-B until I could get a job as a part-time teller at a national bank.
For six months, I worked as a part-time teller during the day and was a cashier at H-E-B at night, before I decided to point my efforts toward banking full-time. I was promoted from part-time teller to personal banker, so I noticed that I could move up in a banking career fairly quickly. Over the course of the next several years, I moved my way up through the bank—first as a credit analyst for underwriting in the commercial banking group, then a relationship manager in the commercial group, and ended up as a senior relationship manager in the private bank, where my manager was Bruce Irick.
From there, Bruce recruited me to join him at The Bank of Austin. I really enjoy working with him and I greatly value his advice and opinion, so I decided it was time to move. The culture at my previous bank had changed; what motivates me about private banking is the opportunity to deliver a service-focused client experience as opposed to one that’s primarily transactional. That's what drew me to The Bank of Austin—the care and partnership we provide for each relationship is personalized and distinctive.
What is your specialty at The Bank of Austin, and how do you help clients in your role?
I work with high-net-worth clients to create customized solutions to increase their cash flow and manage their personal balance sheets. I help them leverage their investment assets, analyze how to make them perform well and generate cash flow more efficiently. Given my background in accounting, it comes naturally to me to look at the big picture when helping my clients assess what their lifestyle needs are, and how to help them achieve their financial goals.
What makes you proud to be a partner at The Bank of Austin?
I am very proud to be able to support my clients and their businesses throughout the Austin community. I am also extremely proud of the speed and agility with which I can serve my clients here at The Bank of Austin. It means a lot to them, and to me, that our bank is rooted in a culture of customer-first service.
When you work in a big corporation, you have very little decision-making power, and so do the people around you. It used to take me a week or longer to get back to my clients when I worked for a national bank. Yesterday, for example, I had a loan opportunity come in from a client. Within 45 minutes I responded to him with the terms I was able to offer. That’s The Bank of Austin difference and I am very proud of that.
Are you involved with any nonprofit organizations, or do you have additional hobbies outside of The Bank?
I volunteer with Meals on Wheels in Austin, and I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. I have built a few houses, and learned how to do those manual jobs, which I enjoy. One of my favorite volunteering experiences was at the Dell Children's Hospital. We worked with the police to dress up as superheroes to cheer up children.
My time outside of banking is very occupied with my second life that I call my second profession. I'm a part-time professional musician. I've been performing all over the world since I was young. I'm glad that I'm not a full-time musician, because it would have been a much different life. The reason why I do both (banking and music) is because music is my stress release valve. And when I do that, I don't think about work or anything else. I can’t do either practice without the other.
Are there any similarities between the creative process of performing music and the banking process?
There are many similarities between music and banking. The first one is a scientific one: the foundation of music is math. When you study music, there is a lot of math involved. And when you are an accountant, there is a lot of math involved. The second similarity is with the creative processes of each practice. When you look at financial statements for your clients, you are looking at pieces of the puzzle, not a complete picture. So you have to rearrange these pieces, and make it look better. You have to improvise and compose and interact with people to achieve a common goal the same way you do when you are rehearsing and performing music.
What professional advice would you offer to anyone who is in a customer service-oriented role in their career?
I think that there is a common denominator between all of the positions I have held in banking and as a CPA. It is the art of really understanding what people want to accomplish and how you can help them meet their goals. Whatever position you are in, if you have that as a primary focus, and you can ask questions to really understand what your clients want...I think that's the secret behind delivering a great service that sets you apart from the competition.
Once you show your clients that you are aligning what you can deliver to what it is they want, they will feel important and know that you really care for them. To me, that is how you deliver white glove service. You can do that as a teller in your brief interactions, and you can do it as a banker.
What is your favorite Italian restaurant in Austin?
The first five or six years that I was here, I was desperate. I could not find a good pizza. Now, with the growth in Austin and San Antonio, there are several good Italian restaurants and pizza spots. My favorite pizza place is owned by somebody who is not Italian, he’s from California. The name of his restaurant is Pieous, and it's in Dripping Springs. Every time I go, he stops what he's doing and cooks my pizza for me. He wants to be sure that it's to my satisfaction, because I’m from Italy.
Another place I love is called Numero 28, in downtown Austin. All of the owners are Italian, so it’s kind of a retreat—a place for us expats to get together. And the food is authentic.