ICBA - News - News Release - ICBA Independent Banker Highlights “ICBA Rising Stars”
ICBA News Release Header


ICBA Independent Banker Highlights “ICBA Rising Stars”

Seven Community Bankers Named for Commitment, Ingenuity and Excellence

Washington, D.C. (February 9, 2011)-The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) recognized seven 2011 "ICBA Rising Stars" who are among the best and brightest in the community banking industry. The seven community bankers are featured in the February issue of ICBA Independent Banker, the award-winning monthly magazine that is the nation's number-one source for community banking news.

"These seven community bankers exemplify the core values of our nation's community banks," said Chris Lorence, ICBA senior vice president/chief marketing officer. "ICBA congratulates these ICBA Rising Stars for their great professionalism and for demonstrating every day why community banks are truly the foundation of their local communities."

The community bankers named as ICBA Rising Stars were nominated by their peers on the basis of their commitment to quality, ingenuity and integrity in business practices and service to their local communities. The 2011 ICBA Rising Stars are:

  • Amber Brown, senior vice president, Peoples Bank of Deer Lodge, Deer Lodge, Mont.  Since joining the community bank as a teller in 2000, Brown rose quickly to positions of increasing responsibility. But that hasn't changed her outlook on how she interacts with her customers.  When her career took off, she chose a desk in a retail service lobby rather than a "secluded" office away from customers and colleagues. Brown has spearheaded many effective innovations that have benefited Peoples Bank of Deer Lodge, such as a new scheduling system to ensure efficient staffing at busy times and a currency dispensing system that significantly increases teller accuracy.
  • Julie Castle, executive vice president, First Interstate Bank, Billings, Mont. A veteran banker, Castle steered her career to First Interstate Bank for a chance to integrate all of its wealth management services-including trusts, brokerage, insurance and retirement plans. Castle made several changes to the program, adopting a hub-and-spoke service approach that has led to 60 percent growth in investment management assets since 2006.
  • Michaeline Giffone, systems administrator, FirstState Bank, Lineville, Ala. Giffone's patience and problem-solving abilities are a big help when troubleshooting technical glitches with her community bank's customers and colleagues. When she started the systems administrator job in 2004, she knew very little about computers. David Franklin, the bank's information technical officer, says Giffone quickly learned how to keep the bank's computer systems at peak performance. Part of Giffone's success is based on working significant overtime hours, including holidays, to find solutions to unexpected problems.
  • Brooks Kohne, vice president and cash management manager, Bank of Alameda, Calif. "When the downturn hit, instead of saying ‘Tell me what you need,' she stepped up and said, ‘I see this need, and I can handle it,'" says Kohne's supervisor, Michael Roberts. Kohne began her career at Bank of Alameda to instill an effective sales-service culture with her coworkers. Since then, she has taught many of her colleagues how to ask questions effectively and listen closely in order to suggest the appropriate product or service to meet a customer's needs.
  • Chaula Pandya, senior vice president/chief financial officer, Community Bank of the Bay, Oakland, Calif. Pandya started out as a teller because she loved working with customers. Eventually she was hired by Community Bank of the Bay to do product management and marketing while helping the bank regain its financial footing. Pandya, who recently earned a master's in banking, appreciates the flexibility community banks offer. One of her greatest contributions has been to the bank's Oakland First Fund, which guarantees that all deposits stay in the community.
  • Suzanne Ricci, senior vice president/chief technology officer, Alliance Bank, Broomall, Pa. For the past 10 years, Ricci has overseen technology systems that support Alliance Bank's nine branches and 100 employees. In 1998, the ongoing maintenance and development of the community bank's computer system, which had been outsourced, was brought in-house. One of Ricci's major achievements was designing a testing process for any new or upgraded software. Her staff runs it there to make sure it works before deploying it to production.
  • Rick Rollman, vice president, commercial lending, Jonestown Bank & Trust Co., Jonestown, Pa. Rollman is responsible for commercial lending at 10 branches and has been instrumental in the community bank's numerous technological innovations. For instance, Rollman established computer tracking in which an electronic file is created for every customer to allow faster, more personalized service. The strategy has paid off, and now customers call him to help them switch their banking accounts to Jonestown Bank & Trust"We use his face in our advertising," says Roger Jeremiah, vice president for lending.

ICBA Independent Banker has recognized ICBA Rising Stars since 2002. Read this year's feature on the recognitions at www.icba.org/independentbanker.