April 28, 2022
New agricultural LPO and expanded lending team continue Bank’s pursuit for loan growth
Porterville, Calif. – Bank of the Sierra announced today that it opened a new agricultural loan production office (LPO) in Templeton, Calif. The new LPO is located on 613 South Main Street. Over the last few months, the Bank has focused on growing its lending portfolio by hiring several employees with expertise across many loan specialties.
The lending relationship team that will work from the Templeton LPO consists of Market President Mark Pearce and Agriculture Lenders Sarah Kramer and Katie Crocker. Pearce will lead the Bank’s entire ag lending team that covers California’s Central Coast. He has over 30 years of ag lending experience throughout Central California. Kramer and Crocker will focus on supporting agricultural operations throughout the region utilizing their over 15 years of experience.
The LPO team in Templeton also includes Vice President and Underwriter Lauren Pickard, and Senior Credit Analyst Kristen Kemp. Pickard will support the ag lending team. She has over 10 years of experience in local banking. Kemp has over 16 years of experience and will work with lenders and customers to manage the loan process and coordinate the customer experience. Vice President and Portfolio Manager Garrett Stone also joined the Central Coast Agribusiness group. Stone will manage small- to mid-sized accounts within the Bank’s Central Coast loan portfolio.
“The addition of these new team members should send a strong message to the market that Bank of the Sierra is committed to becoming the ag lender of choice on the Central Coast,” stated Matt Dusi, Bank of the Sierra’s Commercial Banking Leader. “Mark, Sarah, and Katie all come from ag backgrounds and have helped many local producers achieve their financial goals over the last 20 years. Lauren, Garrett, and Kristen have solid backgrounds in community banking, have worked with a wide variety of customer types on the Central Coast, and are focused on delivering the highest possible customer experience. We’re excited to welcome the team, and we look forward to working closely with the ag community.”
Bank of the Sierra has hired several lending team leaders over the past few months. Recent hires include Matt Dusi as Agricultural and Commercial Lending President, Lee Ann Pearce as Middle Market Relationship Manager, 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. Dusi, Pearce, McAvenia, Hart, and Braunschweiger have over 125 years combined experience in the banking and lending industries.
“The Templeton LPO demonstrates Bank of the Sierra’s promise to pursue loan growth through a team of expert lenders,” said Bank of the Sierra President and CEO Kevin McPhaill. “We continue to look for additional opportunities to increase our lending capabilities for customers throughout California.”
“We are proving our commitment to growing our lending team and services with the addition of a new loan production office,” said Michael Olague, the Bank’s Chief Banking Officer. “The Bank is in a great position to expand its loan portfolio thanks to the efforts from our specialists at this new office.”
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.