OSWEGO, N.Y. – The Pathfinder Bank CEO and president, Thomas Schneider, finds the purity in using his position in power for good and for giving.
“The bank, as a local community bank, has the ability, if we make our decisions correctly, to have a positive impact on socioeconomic environments we operate in,” said Thomas. “The impact on community is the number one thing.”
Rewind back 33 years, when Thomas, also known as Tom, did not have a seat at the table. Schneider’s Pathfinder career did not take long to evolve after landing a job as the controller and head of accounting back in 1988, when he left his hometown in Staten Island to move to Oswego. From there, Schneider worked and networked to be who he is today.
After working at Pathfinder Bank for seven years, Schneider was promoted to the position of executive vice president as well as the chief financial officer. That was in 1994.
”He has an uncanny ability to see the big picture. The global overview.”— Tonya Crisafulli
January 2000, he landed the CEO position.
Schneider views his position as the leader of the Pathfinder Bank as his opportunity to show his gratitude towards the community.
“I’m very grateful for all of the opportunity that Oswego and Central New York provided me, particularly as somebody not from the area. They accepted me and gave me opportunity, so I have this sense of gratitude that I should be doing things that give back to the community,” said Schneider.
Alongside the bank, Schneider works closely with the SUNY Oswego campus as a board of directors for the Oswego College Foundation. Approached about it in January 2019, by the now retiring campus president, Deborah F. Stanley, it was an offer Schneider couldn’t refuse.
“No organization is more important to the success of Oswego County than SUNY Oswego. I certainly want to do everything I can to support it and I have great respect for its leadership. So when leadership asks me if I can do something, I’m very happy to do it,” Schneider said.
Participating in the Oswego College Foundation committee has given Schneider the opportunity to meet a group of diverse Suny Oswego alumni. He has spent a lot of time with the investment committee where he spends most of his hours managing and overseeing endowment and how it is being invested in the overall market.
On Oct. 1, College Foundation Board Chair Rose Cardamone Crane announced the renaming of the Marano Camus center as the Deborah F. Stanley Arena and Convocational Hall. The Oswego College Foundation accumulated $2.4 million as a tribute to Stanley and changing the name.
“It was easy because of the amount of respect everyone at that table has for President Stanley and her impact,” Schneider said.
Schneider focuses on using his resources, power and abilities to give back and help as much as he can. His executive assistant, Tonya Crisafulli, has been working closely with Schneider for the past 22 years. She says she has seen his devotion to Pathfinder Bank, to Oswego County as well as to SUNY Oswego.
“He covers a whole lot of territory – Customer interactions, internal employee interactions. He is constantly working with external financial institution people, political people. He’s got a lot of connections everywhere, and all to the benefit of this organization. He’s done an amazing job at growing us for the last 20 years,” said Crisafulli.
Schneider’s staff showed extreme admiration for him and his leadership skills.
”He has an uncanny ability to see the big picture. The global overview. How things connect and intertwine. He can put them all together in his head, figure out who the players are, who he needs to speak to move certain things forward,” Crisafulli said.
Though he has many responsibilities on his plate, Schneider commits himself to being magnanimous through it all. As the Pathfinder CEO, he takes on the task and responsibilities of the bank and provides the board of directors with ideas and understanding of their customers as well as lending market opportunities.
As a board of director member in the investment committee for the Oswego College Foundation, Schneider’s responsibilities involve scholarships endowments.
As a human, Schneider says he views it as his responsibility is to give back. No matter how big or small.