Nine Texas bankers have been selected to receive the second annual Texas Bankers Foundation’s Emerging Leader Award. The award was created last year by the Texas Bankers Foundation in partnership with the Texas Bankers Association Bank Leadership Council to honor bankers who have had a positive impact in the Texas banking industry and are expected to become a leader in their bank. To be honored, bankers must have five years of experience in banking, be an employee of a Texas Bankers Association member banking institution and be nominated by the bank president, CEO or board chairman. The presentation to honor the 2020 Emerging Leader Award winners was held during the Texas Economic Resilience Summit on September 23. Here are the 2020 recipients:
Heather Cicirello, vice president, branch manager and lender
Commercial Bank of Texas, Lewisville
Cicirello has been with Commercial Bank of Texas her entire 10-year career. She began as a teller; then was promoted to a loan clerk; and assistant vice president/loan administration/scanning department manager. She has been in her current position since 2015. Cicirello is a leader both in the bank and Lewisville community. Seeing a need for a more efficient way to share loan documents between the bank’s departments, she developed an electronic file-share system that ensures regulatory compliance and has improved document retention. Cicirello currently serves as chair of the Lewisville Main & Mill Business Association.
Hazel Davis, vice president/compliance and community development officer
Jefferson Bank, San Antonio
Davis joined Jefferson Bank in 2013 as a vice president, fair lending and CRA officer and then transitioned to her current position because of her regulatory compliance expertise and experience working with the community under the Community Reinvestment Act. Because of her efforts, the bank has partnered with many nonprofit organizations dedicated to education, community development and affordable housing. Davis serves as president of the Financial Women in Texas’ San Antonio group, as well as on the organization’s state board of directors, and is the treasurer of the Westside Development Corp.
Shea Ferland, senior vice president/team resources manager
FirstCapital Bank of Texas, Midland
Although Ferland did not join the banking industry until 2008, she has had a positive impact on FirstCapital Bank. She has implemented new employee programs that have moved the bank forward by keeping a strong work culture and encouraging employees to be involved with the community. Ferland has helped develop the Community Impact Initiative for which new employees can donate supplies to a charity of their choice on behalf of the bank. Ferland has served on committees for organizations including Midland Habitat for Humanity and the Texas Bankers Association’s Bank Leadership Council. She is also an active volunteer for Midland Junior Achievement program.
Bowden Jones Jr., executive vice president/chief consumer officer
FirstBank Southwest, Amarillo
Jones has been a banker for more than 20 years, but in the one year he has been with FirstBank Southwest, he hit the ground running in the bank’s newly created position of chief consumer officer. The bank has consolidated most of its consumer-facing lines of business under his leadership. He has trained, implemented and rolled out the bank’s first customer relationship management, which is focused on addressing the needs of customers and redesigning the bank’s retail product offerings. Jones is involved in bettering Amarillo through several organizations and initiatives, some of which he has created himself.
Lance LaRue, information technology officer and director
Lovelady State Bank, Lovelady
In a small community bank, the role of IT officer is extremely important. LaRue oversees the bank-wide technology platform, which includes maintaining regulatory audit standards, implementation of new hardware and software programs, management of third-party vendors and managing online banking services for consumers. He serves as the bank’s marketing lead, creating and maintaining its social media presence. He has served on the bank’s board of directors since 2013. LaRue is a member of the New Church Cemetery board of directors and serves as a volunteer committee member for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Joshua (Josh) Loden, executive vice president/middle market manager
Broadway National Bank, San Antonio
As manager of Broadway National Bank’s middle-market line of business, Loden leads one of the most critical groups within the bank, bringing loan and deposit products and services to the bank’s largest commercial clients. During his tenure, he has had to replace (due to retirement) many years of experience and expertise. Loden has done so through identifying and recruiting talented bankers within the bank’s markets, as well as finding rising talent within the bank. During 2019, Loden was a member of the task force that re-wrote Broadway National Bank’s credit policy and guidelines, and he has been selected as a voting member of the newly formed senior officer loan committee.
Natalie Lynch, executive vice president and advisory director
Austin Bank Texas NA, Jacksonville
Lynch leads a team of eight lenders and seven loan assistants, which has developed new strategies for ongoing loan growth, obtained greater lending process efficiencies and evaluated new lending products/technologies. Her leadership within the bank has been recognized with her election as an advisory director to the board in 2019. Lynch has served as a board or committee member for many local groups, including the Longview Economic Development Corp., Longview Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement of East Texas and the East Texas Regional Development Co.
Jeri Ann Penny, senior vice president/chief financial officer and advisory director
Citizens State Bank, Buffalo
Penny has been a banker for 25 years and a key member of Citizens State Bank’s management team for the past four years. She joined as the result of a branch acquisition and conversion. While adjusting to a new bank setting, she organized her new department and prepared for an upcoming bank exam. She is a key player in setting the personality tone of the bank and excels in carrying out the bank’s mission to be a true community partner. Penny is a member of many civic and service organizations, including the Groesbeck Chamber of Commerce, and leads the bank’s financial literacy program for elementary schools.
Ashley Shoop, senior vice president/applications solutions
First National Bank Texas, Killeen
Shoop has been with First National Bank Texas her entire 23-year career, working full-time while completing both her undergraduate and MBA degrees. Her contributions to the bank are extensive, including leading strategic projects such as teller capture, digital banking and branch platform. She chairs the project board, represents IT on the banking operations committee and regularly reports to the IT steering committee, as well as the bank strategic committee. Shoop is active in her community through her role on the Central Texas University Computer Science advisory board in helping to guide future IT leaders.
The Texas Bankers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Texas Bankers Association, serves and supports Texas banks, their employees and communities through various programs, including financial literacy, Cornerstone and LiFE awards, 50-year Banker awards, scholarships and disaster relief funds.