Five Questions With Mona Macero

Mona Macero serves as Brookline Bancorp’s Senior Vice President, Managing Director in the Commercial Markets Payments Group. She joined the Bank in July 2019 as SVP, Director of Cash Management. With nearly 40 years of experience, Mona has held leadership positions at Century Bank, Fleet Bank, US Trust, Citizens Bank, and Blue Hills Bank. Ms. Macero also has 4 years of experience as CIO at Endurance Capital. From 2010 to 2015, she ran her own business – m4m.Solutions – which specialized in business integration support for system conversions, implementations, mergers, and acquisitions. Mona holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

1. Describe your position as Managing Director of the Commercial Markets Payments Group.
I am responsible for providing well-crafted, technology-based cash management and foreign exchange solutions to a broad array of commercial clients. My team is highly skilled in building and implementing product strategy and strategic initiatives while increasing operational efficiencies, as well as effectively managing day-to-day development, sales, implementation, and responsive customer support. Our services are delivered via Brookline Bank in Massachusetts, BankRI in Rhode Island, and PCSB in New York. By leveraging partnerships with each of the banks, we are able to provide a continually evolving suite of services to assist our clients in running their businesses as efficiently as possible.

2. Payment processing is such a crucial part of the bank’s operations, how have you seen things change over the past few years to improve efficiency?
Our industry has shifted from analog to digital processing. This is especially true with payments. In a relatively short time span, commercial payment processing has evolved from paper-based check payments (dependent on U.S. Mail for delivery) to electronic payment options such as online bill payment, ACH payments (e.g. direct deposit of payroll and automatic account debits), and wire transfers.

Technological advancements have created faster payment options supporting same-day and instant or near-instant payments. Regardless of the new payment method, the Clearing House RTP, the Federal Reserve FedNow, or Zelle, these new payment technologies are able to deliver and integrate payment data, from or to, financial accounting software used by our clients. This seismic change in payment processing opens the door for Fintechs, once considered disruptors to financial institutions, to play an integral role in the payment ecosystem through innovation and their ability to bring to market solutions to banks, and even direct to small businesses and companies.

The ability to send and receive payment information in an automated and real-time manner brings significant processing efficiencies. However, with these benefits comes a correlating increase in fraud and security threats which require financial institutions to look at fraud mitigation in a layered approach to protect their customers’ payment flows.

3. What specifically changed during the pandemic?
Deposits increased significantly at that time due to the influx of government funds to our customers taking part in the Paycheck Protection Program. Now, our clients want expedited payments and the option of having real-time payments and real-time deposits. We can provide those services with multiple options. It’s all about providing our clients with several options for sending and receiving payments and deciding which works best for their businesses.

4. What types of industries/customers do you work with?
Our clients represent a wide range of industries including real estate developers, property management, healthcare companies, manufacturers, distributors, educational institutions, and not-for-profit entities.

Through partnerships with our commercial relationship managers and retail banking colleagues, we are able to inform, educate and deliver industry-specific solutions. For example, we are currently working on a new product initiative to provide an escrow sub-accounting system for businesses that handle funds for their clients/tenants in unique accounts, including law firms, funeral homes, property management companies, and municipalities.

5. How do you interface with your customers?
Customer engagement is paramount to our success. Interactions are supported in a multi-channel model including calls, video meetings, email and in-person meetings. Our goal is be a financial partner that makes every process easy and efficient.

Our approach to developing great customer relationships is listening. Our sales staff doesn’t just sell products with a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, we listen to customers about their needs and their business pain points, and recommend well-crafted solutions.

To facilitate a smooth transition, we invested in and utilize a digital onboarding system to establish cash management services for new clients. Automated onboarding simplifies the process, establishes accountability within bank operations, and tracks all related onboarding tasks and activities to meet target quality service levels.

The next frontier is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its potential to improve the customer experience by analyzing and suggesting services to meet specific needs. Our business is all about leveraging technology to help our clients solve problems. We are trusted partners in their success.