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Montecito Bank & Trust Appoints George Leis as Chief Operating Officer

In a move to further cement its leadership and continue stewarding the mission of the region’s largest privately owned community bank, Montecito Bank & Trust has hired George Leis as EVP, chief operating officer, effective July 19, 2016.

Reporting directly to president and CEO Janet Garufis, Leis will join the bank’s executive committee, overseeing lending, retail and business banking.

Leis joins MB&T from Union Bank, where he most recently served as managing director of the Central Coast’s Private Banking division. His departure is motivated by a desire to return to his passion, community banking.

“Union Bank has been great to me, but my new position perfectly aligns with my skill set, personality, as well as my desire to be deeply involved in the community,” Leis said. “I am grateful for all of the opportunities Union Bank has presented to me.

“I look back at my time at Union Bank fondly and wish all of my friends and colleagues nothing but success in all of their future endeavors.”

Looking to his future, he said he is eager to be a part of the Montecito Bank & Trust organization and drive its mission forward.

“Working with Janet and the team here, making a difference, is an extraordinary opportunity,” he said. “In my opinion, Montecito Bank & Trust is the premier community bank on the Central Coast.”

Michael Towbes, chairman and owner of Montecito Bank & Trust, who is committed to the bank’s long-term independence, believes Leis’ arrival is an important strategic move to assist with the bank’s continued growth.

“George Leis will make an important contribution to our team from Day One, as we continue to deliver exceptional service and leadership while being even more involved in supporting the Central Coast communities than we are today,” he said.

“The addition of George Leis to our team as chief operating officer represents a quantum leap forward for our bank.”

Garufis, who worked with Leis at Security Pacific Bank and Bank of America, has known him for nearly 30 years and is excited to count him among her already strong leadership team.

“George comes from a tradition of bankers who are committed to the service mission of community banking,” she said. “He knows how to roll up his sleeves to get the job done. He understands that each client is unique and that to build relationships, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

“This is an opportunity for MB&T to expand our already deep bench of experienced bankers, and for us to work together to provide our communities the best personal and business banking solutions and services available. And, I am very excited to work with George to continue to develop the next generation of community bankers.”

A veteran of the banking industry, Leis started his career with Security Pacific National Bank in retail and commercial banking, before serving in leadership positions as a senior vice president at Bank of America Private Bank, senior vice president and director at Wells Fargo Private Client Services, managing director at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management and president and CEO of Pacific Capital Bancorp, the holding company for Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Founded in 1975, the bank celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015 and operates branch offices in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ventura, Camarillo and Westlake Village.

The bank offers a variety of competitive deposit and lending solutions for businesses and consumers, including business loans and lines of credit; commercial real estate finance; Small Business Administration loans; mortgage loans; consumer loans; credit cards; merchant services; and online services, including mobile banking and cash management.

Its Wealth Management Division provides full investment management as well as trust services for all branch office markets.

Montecito Bank & Trust was the only bank in the tricounties to receive a 2015 Super Premier Performing Bank designation by The Findley Reports, an independent service that rates the annual performance of California banks. Montecito Bank & Trust has been designated as a Premier Performing or Super Premier Performing bank by The Findley Reports 30 times in its 40-year history.

— Megan Orloff is senior vice president director of marketing of Montecito Bank & Trust.

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