Management Team

Philip Guarnieri Headshot

Philip A. Guarnieri

Chief Executive Officer

Philip Guarnieri is the Chief Executive Officer of ES Bancshares, Inc., and Empire State Bank, where his visionary leadership has been instrumental in establishing the bank as a prominent player in the industry. With a strategic approach, he played a key role in the organization and chartering of Empire State Bank in 2004, focusing on delivering exceptional commercial banking products and services to the Tri-State area communities. Under Phil's guidance, the bank has experienced remarkable growth, surpassing $639 million in assets and emerging as a trusted leader in serving the needs of small businesses.
With over 40 years of extensive banking experience, Phil's career began at Hamilton Federal Savings FA, where he quickly advanced through various positions, including customer service representative, teller, Assistant Branch Manager, Assistant Vice President/Mortgage Officer, Vice President, and Branch Administrator. His proven dedication and expertise led him to assume key roles, including Vice President/Loan Origination at Home Federal Savings Bank and Senior Vice President/Chief Lending Officer at The Yonkers SLA, FA. From 2002 to 2004, Phil served as President/COO of Atlantic States Mortgage Corp., where he successfully managed all aspects of mortgage banking.

Apart from his professional achievements, Phil actively engages in the community and holds various directorial positions. He serves as a director of the Empire State Bank Foundation and holds roles such as Executive Director and Treasurer of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, Director of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Director of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Director and Treasurer of the Asian Real Estate Association of America Brooklyn Chapter. Additionally, he is a Director of Chance of Life, Director of the New Dorp BID, Director of the Victory Boulevard Merchants Association, Vice Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of Patterns for Progress and Director of the Federation of Italian-American Organization of Brooklyn.

Phil obtained his B.A. in Banking and Finance from Hunter College and further expanded his knowledge through a continuing education program focused on Real Estate and Commercial Bank Lending at New York University.

With his extensive experience, strategic vision, and commitment to community development, Philip Guarnieri continues to drive the success of Empire State Bank and exemplify the values and dedication required to succeed in the banking industry.

Thomas Sperzel Headshot

Thomas P. Sperzel

President and Chief Operating Officer

Thomas has been engaged in the community banking industry for more than 20 years. Prior to being a community banker he spent years with a Big Five audit firm operating in the financial services space. As a community banker he has been successful in executing sound banking management as well as fostering and maintaining strong customer relationships while providing value to shareholders.

He served as Chief Financial Officer at Empire State Bank since 2009 and as Chief Operating Officer since 2013.

Mr. Sperzel holds a Certified Public Accountant license in the State of New York and an MBA in Bank Management. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum and has been involved in various community service endeavors over the years.

He resides in northern New Jersey with his wife and two children.

Ralph Branca Headshot

Ralph Branca

Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer

Mr. Branca has more than 35 years of experience in community banking, with particular expertise in risk management, investments, strategic planning, matters of financial accounting, and the maintenance of a control environment assuring accuracy in financial reporting. Mr. Branca has spent his entire professional career focused on the business and regulatory
environment in which banks must operate successfully in order to survive.

Mr. Branca is responsible for leading the Bank’s lending department, which focuses on serving small to mid-sized businesses, business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals. He will lead the Bank’s lending efforts and oversee the management and development of all commercial real estate, commercial, multifamily investor and SBA lending. Mr. Branca is also responsible for the overall management of the Bank’s Lending Department, including the underwriting and loan review analysis process, loan servicing, loan administration, credit information, loan policies, credit risk management, credit functions of commercial loan production and assist in secondary market sales, and procedures and processes to ensure the overall quality of the Bank’s lending portfolio and adherence to the Bank’s Credit Policy.

Mr. Branca holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and Investments from Bernard M. Baruch College as well as his Bachelor of Science in Physics from the City College of New York (CCNY). He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma, an international finance honor society. In addition to his strong background in corporate banking, Mr. Branca is an active member of the community. Mr. Branca’s extensive community involvement includes, among other activities, serving as the Chairman of the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation, Vice Chair of the Friends of Seamen’s Society, Executive Board Member of the Staten Island Boy Scout Council, the past Chairman of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce, the past Chairman on the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families, the past Chairman of the Staten Island Museum, past President of the Staten Island Boy Scout Council, and a past director of the Building Industry Association of New York City.

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