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Simsbury Bank Announces Howard Zern’s Retirement and Retail Management Succession

SIMSBURY, CT – April 23, 2014 – Simsbury Bank announces that Howard R. Zern, Executive Vice President and Chief Retail Banking, Operations and Technology Officer, plans to retire effective April 30, 2014.  Culminating a 40 year career in banking, Mr. Zern directed Simsbury Bank’s retail delivery channels including its branches, ATMs and electronic banking services, as well as the Bank’s deposit operations, and information technology departments.  Since joining the Bank in 2008, Mr. Zern spearheaded many crucial strategic initiatives that contributed to doubling the Bank’s deposits to $350 million. 

“Howard has had an enormous and lasting impact on Simsbury Bank,” said Martin J. Geitz, President and CEO of Simsbury Bank.  “Howard brought a depth of experience in retail banking, training and development, and organizational development and change management that advanced the Bank significantly over the past six years.  As a part of the Bank’s executive management team, Howard’s dedication to providing first rate service, products and advice to our customers cannot be overstated.  He has been integral to the successful implementation of our growth strategy.  And, with insight gained over a lifetime career in banking, Howard expertly guided our branches as well as the operations, electronic banking and technology areas that the public does not see but are crucial to our success as a financial institution.  On behalf of the Board and all of our officers and staff, I thank Howard for his leadership and contributions and wish him a long and enjoyable retirement.”

Under Mr. Zern’s leadership, the Bank introduced a relationship and advisory based sales model to help customers achieve their life goals with our financial expertise. Howard led many technology initiatives over the years which enhanced the Bank’s ability to deliver state of the art services that its customers expect and enabled Simsbury Bank to compete effectively with larger banks. The changes Mr. Zern implemented enabled the Bank to be among the State’s leaders in deposits per branch and checking deposit mix, as well as to become the largest Connecticut-based bank in its branch marketplace.

Mr. Zern said, “It is with mixed emotions that I retire from my life’s passion.  I am proud of the staff in the areas under my responsibility – they are consummate professionals, driven to exceed customer expectations and successful in all of the challenges that we have met and their initiative has made my job easier.  I will miss my co-workers and the joy of meeting the daily challenges put forward by the market and competition.    We achieved great things during the past six years in the face of increasing competition and regulations and I appreciate the support of the board, my colleagues and our excellent staff for allowing me the honor of leading them to the success we have achieved.”

Prior to joining Simsbury Bank, Mr. Zern held a variety of positions with Hartford National Bank and its successors over almost 30 years including Corporate Training Manager, Corporate Sales Director, Regional Manager.  Mr. Zern oversaw branch administration for Fleet Bank’s 1,500 branches and later merger integration management.  After retiring from Bank of America as an Executive Vice President in 2005, he operated a consulting business.  Mr. Zern is a graduate of Stony Brook University.  He values community involvement and is a former director of the Stony Brook University Alumni Association.  He also held leadership positions with several not-for-profit organizations, including Vice Chairman of TheaterWorks in Hartford, Treasurer of the Artists Collective in Hartford and Chairman of the Urban League of Greater Hartford.  He resides in West Hartford with his wife, Dr. Hilary Freedman.

Jocelyn Mitchell, Vice President and Granby Senior Market Manager, will assume Mr. Zern’s retail banking delivery and deposit operations responsibilities.  Ms. Mitchell joined Simsbury Bank in 2008 and has led its Granby location to double its deposit base during that time period.  Ken Sklodosky, Vice President and Bloomfield Senior Market Manager, will assume responsibility for the Bank’s Granby branch and continue to oversee its Bloomfield market and new Bloomfield Market Manager, Peter Sepelak.  Peter is currently the Assistant Branch Manager of the Bank’s Simsbury Branch.  Jordan Moore, Assistant Manager of the Bank’s Avon Branch, will succeed Peter as the Simsbury Branch Assistant Manager.  Cindy Ramkissoon, Avon Customer Service Representative, will be promoted to the role of Avon Branch Assistant Manager.  “In a final testament to Howard’s management strength and contribution to the Bank, his successors are existing members of the Retail Banking team he has led so well,” said Martin J. Geitz.

Mr. Zern’s corporate information technology and project management responsibilities will be overseen by Richard Sudol, Chief Financial Officer.

Simsbury Bank is an independent, publicly owned community bank for consumers and businesses based in Central Connecticut’s Farmington Valley. Simsbury Bank’s parent company is SBT Bancorp, Inc. whose stock is traded under the ticker symbol OTCBB: SBTB.  The Bank serves customers locally through branches in Avon, Bloomfield, Granby and Simsbury and regionally through mortgage and commercial bankers active throughout Southern New England.  Simsbury Bank customers enjoy internet banking and mortgage services at, respectively, www.simsburybank.com and www.simsburybank.com/mortgages.  Bank customers have free ATM access at thousands of machines across the country through the SUM program.  The Bank offers financial planning, investment and insurance products through LPL Financial and its affiliates, member FINRA/SIPC.

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