Frank Casale is commercial banking team lead of TD Bank and responsible for the overall management and growth of the Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts commercial banking group. He has 26 years of experience in the banking industry.
He is on the board of The Providence Center, J. Arthur Trudeau Center, Ocean State Business Development Authority, Board of Governors of The Miriam Hospital and the Rhode Island College School of Management Advisory Board. He is a member of the Rhode Island Bankers Association.
Casale has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rhode Island College.
PBN: TD Bank recently did a national survey of chief financial officers, looking at their attitudes toward financial risk and organizational risk management and the challenges in that area. What was the main finding of the survey?
CASALE: The national survey showed that middle market and corporate CFOs are more confident about their organizations’ ability to manage financial and organizational risks. Generally speaking, there is widespread optimism about the current economic outlook and the opportunities that have arisen coming out of the recession. More than a third of the CFOs expressed that they are more confident in the U.S. economy and that their companies are better equipped to manage risk.
PBN: The survey examined the issue of regulatory uncertainty and how that impacts CFOs. What were the findings related to that issue?
CASALE: The enthusiasm the CFOs shared in the survey is somewhat tempered by regulatory change and uncertainty, with more than one-third of the respondents naming regulation as their top concern. What this means is that the CFOs and their organizations have taken more proactive measures to manage risk through internal controls and procedures, increased accountability and evaluation of business relationships. Nearly 50 percent of the organizations are now laser-focused on increasing visibility into the company’s cash position, 38.3 percent are increasing and enhancing risk reporting and 36.9 percent are adopting a more conservative approach to financial risk.
PBN: From your perspective as the commercial banking team lead in Rhode Island, do you think CFOs in the Ocean State generally follow the trends found in the survey? Or do you think, because of the size of the state and its sluggish economy, CFOs in Rhode Island may differ in their views from those in other areas of the U.S.?
CASALE: Generally speaking, I believe Rhode Island companies tend to follow the national trends with surveys like this one. However, with the added local issues such as a mature labor force, high energy costs and an economy that has not kept up with the national recovery, companies in the state tend to be a bit less optimistic.
PBN: What is TD Bank’s role in addressing the concerns that were raised in the CFO survey? What about the bank’s role in addressing opportunities that may have come to light in the survey?
CASALE: TD’s role is to support our clients and prospects with the financial tools they need to remain successful and grow. Optimizing our financial solution package to fit the needs of every client and really getting to know their business are our obligations in the markets we serve. There are many opportunities that have come to light in our survey, of which the most important is to be sure that we, as an institution and as an industry, assist businesses in mitigating their identified risks by delivering dynamic, useful products and services to them.
PBN: As the commercial banking team lead for Rhode Island, what do you see as the most important steps banks in the state can take to work closely with CFOs and possibly look toward the broad goal of strengthening the economy in the Ocean State?
CASALE: The most important steps the banks can take are to promote communication, create an action plan and execute. Visiting clients is one of the most important components of servicing their needs, seeing them operate and assisting in their growth. We need to listen, identify, plan and execute on the needs of our clients and prospects. We all tend to like to talk, but in the case of servicing the client, banks need to do a lot of listening.