Bank of the Sierra Hires Lee Ann Pearce as SVP, Senior Commercial Ag Loan Officer; Continues Push for Loan Growth Through Lending Team Expansion

February 02, 2022

Porterville, Calif. – Bank of the Sierra announced today that Lee Ann Pearce has been named Senior Vice President, Senior Commercial Agricultural Loan Officer. She will lead efforts to provide lending and financial services to farms and agricultural businesses throughout California. Pearce will work from the Bank’s branch in San Luis Obispo on 500 Marsh Street.

Pearce has over 30 years of experience in lending and commercial banking. Before joining Bank of the Sierra, she managed the Food and Ag Industry Advisors team at Wells Fargo, serving agribusinesses in North America. She was also responsible for coverage of the winery, vineyard, and tree nut sectors as the Sector Manager. At Farm Credit West, Pearce managed an office responsible for a $2 billion portfolio centered in the winery and vineyard industry on California’s Central Coast. She has served as a speaker for Central Coast Wine Insights, the HR Summit, and the National Bankers Association.

Pearce was previously a board member for the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and Chrysalis House, a nonprofit adoption agency in Fresno. She also served with the Templeton Instrumental Music Boosters Association and was a Diversity and Inclusion Council Member for Wells Fargo. Pearce earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management with an emphasis in finance from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She currently lives with her family on a small farm in Templeton that grows premium wine grapes.

“Bank of the Sierra is excited to have Lee Ann on our team,” said Matt Dusi, Bank of the Sierra’s Agricultural and Commercial Lending President. “Lee Ann provides a deep knowledge base in agriculture from both a regional and national perspective, and coming from an agriculture background herself, brings a customer-oriented view that will be key to growing our ag portfolio.”

Over the past few months, Bank of the Sierra has hired several leaders to expand the capabilities of its lending team. In addition to Dusi and Pearce, these hires include Tim McAvenia as Mortgage Warehouse Market President, Sean Hart as Vice President and Senior Commercial Loan Officer, and John Braunschweiger as Vice President and Senior Commercial Loan Officer for Ventura. Pearce, Dusi, McAvenia, Hart, and Braunschweiger have over 125 years combined experience in the banking and lending industries.

“Lee Ann’s hire is yet another example of Bank of the Sierra’s commitment to diversified loan growth through an expanded team of world-class lenders,” said Bank of the Sierra President and CEO Kevin McPhaill. “We will continue to build the support structure necessary to reach our short and long-term loan growth targets.”

“Our lending portfolio is poised for growth with the addition of Lee Ann and other key leaders in our region,” said Michael Olague, the Bank’s Chief Banking Officer. “Our biggest focus for 2022 is the expansion of our lending capabilities while continuing to provide service at the highest level.”

About Bank of the Sierra
Bank of the Sierra is in its 45th year of operations and is the largest independent bank headquartered in the South San Joaquin Valley. Bank of the Sierra is a community-centric regional bank, which offers a full range of retail and commercial banking services with full-service branches located within the counties of Tulare, Kern, Kings, Fresno, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. The bank also maintains two loan production offices and an online branch and provides specialized lending services through an agricultural credit center. Bank of the Sierra is recognized as one of the strongest community banks in the country with a 5-star rating from Bauer Financial.