First Bank Promotes 20% Behind Strong, Sustained Results

HAMILTON, N.J. —March 22, 2022—First Bank (NASDAQ: FRBA) announced recently that it has promoted more than 20% of its employees since 2020, with female employees garnering most of the recognition.

The fast-growing community bank followed up an impressive 2020 with a strong financial performance in 2021. Last year, First Bank’s net income increased 82.2% to $35.4 million, up $19.4 million year over year. Diluted earnings per share for 2021 were $1.79, an increase of $0.82, or 84.5%, compared to $0.97 per diluted share in 2020.

As a result, First Bank has promoted 50 employees over the last two years, including 32 female employees.

“Our ability to deliver strong profitability and earnings enables us to consistently reward our stakeholders, which includes our talented and committed employees,” said First Bank President and CEO Patrick L. Ryan. “Our reputation as a committed and valuable financial partner was significantly enhanced by our response to the challenges faced in 2020 and 2021. We have an unbelievable, growing team here at First Bank.”

First Bank’s total loan portfolio grew $150.5 million in 2021 (excluding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan activity), bringing total loans to $2.11 billion as of December 31, 2021. Total deposits of $2.11 billion on December 31, 2021, were up $211.0 million, or 11.1%, in 2021.

First Bank Adds to the Executive Management Team

Seven promotions within the executive ranks have taken effect in 2022:

  • Arlene Pedovitch, who lives in Princeton Junction, has been promoted to FSVP/Chief Credit Officer. She joined First Bank in 2019 as SVP/Credit Officer.
  • Kimberly Cerasi, who lives in Yardville, has been promoted to FSVP/ Director of Human Resources. She joined First Bank in 1998 as SVP/Human Resources Officer.
  • Jason Fischer, who lives in Belle Mead, has been promoted to SVP/Team Leader. He joined First Bank in 2019 as VP/Commercial Lender.
  • Frank Puleio, who lives in North Brunswick, has been promoted to SVP/Business Development Officer & Government Banking. He joined First Bank in 2013.
  • David Marx, who lives in West Chester, Pa., has been promoted to SVP/Team Leader. He joined First Bank in 2017 as VP/Commercial Lender.
  • Joseph Browarski, who lives in Bridgewater, has been promoted to SVP/Loan Workout Officer. He joined First Bank in 2011.
  • Stacy Schwartz (not pictured below), who lives in Hamilton, has been promoted to SVP/Head of Deposit Operations. She joined First Bank in 2009 as a head teller.

Additional First Bank promotions include:

• Shatha Abbasi – AVP/Internal Auditor
• Traci Sundberg – VP/Assistant BSA Officer
• Donna Bencivengo – VP/Executive Assistant & Corporate Secretary
• Mona Goff – AT/Electronic Banking Analyst II
• Leo Valarezo – Deposit Operations Analyst
• Michael Dove – AT/Finance Manager
• Heley Patel – Finance and Accounting Assistant
• Juliana Silletti – AVP/HR Supervisor
• Vanessa Van Gordon – HR Generalist
• Nadine Barron – VP/Senior Credit Underwriter
• Thomas Bay – VP/Commercial Lending Relationship Manager
• Lauren Blough – AVP/Portfolio Manager
• Karen Carr – AT/Commercial Lead Administrator
• Diane Conklin – Senior Commercial Loan Administrator
• Angelique DeGazon – Senior Loan Accounting Specialist
• Wayne Giovinazzo – Loan Accounting Specialist II
• Robert Goldzman – FVP/Commercial Lending Relationship Manager
• Stephen Helhowski – VP/Commercial Real Estate Administrator
• Christopher Kelly – FVP/Commercial Lending Relationship Manager
• William Mellon – VP/Senior Credit Underwriter
• Rebecca Robotin – AT/Senior Team Leader, Commercial Loan Administrator
• Diane Smith – VP/Senior Credit Underwriter
• Brian Ballentine – VP/Branch Manager
• Michael Borkowski – VP/Branch Manager
• Denise Goetting – FVP/Regional Branch Manager
• Jason Koenigsberg – VP/Branch Manager
• Patricia Schofield – VP/Branch Manager
• Maria Tramo – AVP/Operations Coordinator for Retail & Business Banking

Employee Success Begets Bank Acclaim

Great employees like these promotes have always been a key ingredient in First Bank’s recipe for success. Thanks to the efforts of its employees, First Bank was recently named one of the Best Performing Community Banks in the United States by S&P Global Market Intelligence, citing the Bank’s record growth and profitability. Additionally, the Bank has been recognized by NJBIZ as part of its “Fast 50” in recent years, another accolade that would not have been possible without the efforts of the talented team working at the bank.

How First Bank Keeps Growing

There are several reasons why First Bank is one of the fastest growing community banks in the nation.

For example, the bank believes in local decision-making. In other words, clients have access to First Bank’s decision-makers. The bank’s market executives have lending authority—and use it. For larger clients, customers can expect to talk to the bank’s CEO, who plays a pivotal role in helping to foster lasting business relationships.

Most importantly, the community bank views itself as a solution-provider, where everything begins with a conversation. First Bank’s employees listen intently and ask smart questions, so they can provide the best answer.

In addition, First Bank operates with a long-term mindset. It recognizes that its reputation is its most valuable asset. To preserve its good name, First Bank keenly focuses on delivering the best long-term results. By providing great recommendations and following through on its promises, the community bank continues to build its reputation and base of happy customers.

The community bank’s branches offer the bank’s full range of financial solutions for families and businesses, including:

The bank offers traditional deposit and loan banking services for individuals, families and commercial clients. The bank has approximately 208 employees working throughout New Jersey in Burlington, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Morris counties, as well as Bucks and Chester counties in Pennsylvania.

To learn more about First Bank, visit or

About First Bank

First Bank ( is a New Jersey state-chartered bank with 18 full-service branches throughout New Jersey in Burlington, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Morris counties, as well as in Bucks and Chester counties, Pennsylvania. With $2.51 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021, First Bank offers a traditional range of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses throughout the New York City to Philadelphia corridor. First Bank’s common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market exchange under the symbol “FRBA.”