Profile

Jeffrey Carstens M.B.A. ’84

Alumni, Executives and Leaders


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Published:

April 3, 2012
 

Jeffrey Carstens M.B.A. ’84


 

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Market President, Sovereign Bank Commercial and Corporate Banking

Value of an Adelphi Degree: The quality of an Adelphi education is appreciated and known…I draw from it everyday.

Greatest Professional Achievement: Starting the bank business here at Sovereign, seeing it flourish to where it is today, and being on the cusp of reaching a whole new level.

Professional Perspective: Business is a part of your life; remember it’s not the whole part.

Advice: Don’t forget who helped you along the way. Stay loyal to those who guided you in your education and career. 

Finding Success in Banking: It All Comes Back to Behavior

Jeffrey Carstens has never sponsored a loan that wasn’t paid back, a noteworthy accomplishment in any economic climate.

Since it was established in 2005, Mr. Carstens has headed Sovereign Bank’s Corporate Banking team on Long Island. Today, he is Commercial Banking Market President of Sovereign, overseeing all corporate and middle market banking in Nassau, Suffolk, and Queens Counties.  Together with his experienced team of bankers, Mr. Carstens provides corporations and middle market companies with financial products to help their growing businesses meet diverse and complex financial needs.

Mr. Carstens has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, including extensive commercial lending experience in the areas of new business development, relationship and loan portfolio management. Before joining Sovereign, Mr. Carstens was a senior vice president with Bank of America’s Metro New York division, responsible for a sizable portfolio of middle market and mid-corporate relationships.

In early 2005, Mr. Carstens convened with several former colleagues, including some hand-picked knowledgeable bankers, to assemble a team for Sovereign. By May 2005, they became a franchise. “At the time Sovereign had no name recognition,” Mr. Carstens explains. “We thought we could drive it with our own experience and reputation.” And that they did – their business has grown by one-third since it was initiated three and a half years ago. 

About three years ago, Sovereign Bank formed a relationship with Banco Santander Central Hispano, the fifth most profitable bank in the world.  The former CEO of Santander, seeking a banking partner in the United States, approached Sovereign.  At that point, Santander owned 25% of Sovereign Bank. In October 2008, Santander and Sovereign reached an agreement for Santander’s acquisition of 75% of Sovereign’s ordinary shares.

“You run a company and there is a list of things you would like to do,” says Mr. Carstens. “But…you need money.”

This partnership with Santander allowed Sovereign to offer even better service and more innovative products to its clients. With more resources to draw from, Sovereign has even greater opportunities for growth and expansion. ”We want to be big enough to do the best quality of work,” says Mr. Carstens, “but not big enough to get lost.”

Being in the business of lending money means Mr. Carstens is also in the business of assessing risk. With so much money at stake, the bank needs to be extremely selective. 

“If you don’t think you’re going to get money back, you don’t lend,” he says. Risk management is a necessity; finding success in this area requires the ability to understand people.

“You study economics and think it’s about statistics, charts, and graphs.  At the end of the day, it’s about how people act.” Mr. Carstens jokes that in this business, you become more of a psychologist than a financial analyst.

Mr. Carstens chose to pursue his graduate studies at Adelphi because of the University’s strong business program. From his home in Miller Place, Adelphi was a reasonable commute and offered convenient class hours that accommodated his work schedule.

During his undergraduate studies, Mr. Carstens found it difficult to grasp how the concept of business actually connected to the real world. It wasn’t until he took graduate courses at Adelphi that he began to understand how the concepts he had been learning are actually put into practice.

“I found all my classes at Adelphi refreshing,” Mr. Carstens says. “I could finally see the relevance because the courses were about real business.”

Mr. Carstens is a member of the Risk Management Association’s Long Island Chapter, serves on the board of directors for The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, and is an active member of his Manhasset parish.

Today Mr. Carstens lives in Port Washington with his wife Kalli (née Palma), who he met in a corporate finance class at Adelphi, and their three children. In his free time, Mr. Carstens enjoys spending time with his family and golfing.

 
 
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