First Bank: Promotions reflect strong results!

First Bank promotes 20% behind strong and sustainable results

HAMILTON, NJ – March 22, 2021 – First Bank (NASDAQ: FRBA) recently announced that it has promoted more than 20% of its employees since 2020, with women getting the bulk of the recognition.

The fast-growing community bank followed an impressive 2020 with strong financial performance in 2021. Last year, First Bank’s net profit rose 82.2% to $35.4 million, up from $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 past two years, including 32 women.

“Our ability to generate strong profitability and earnings allows us to consistently reward our stakeholders, including our talented and engaged employees,” said Patrick L. Ryan, President and CEO of First Bank. “Our reputation as a committed and valued financial partner has been significantly enhanced by our response to the challenges faced in 2020 and 2021. We have an incredible and growing team here at First Bank.”

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

First Bank joins the management team

Seven promotions within the executive ranks took 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 Vice President/Commercial Lender.
  • Frank Puleio, who lives in northern Brunswick, was promoted to senior vice president/business development officer and government banking. He joined First Bank in 2013.
  • david marx, who lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, has been promoted to SVP/Team Leader. He joined First Bank in 2017 as Vice President/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, was promoted to senior vice president/head of depository operations. She joined First Bank in 2009 as Chief Cashier.

Arlene PedovitchKimberly CerasiJason FischerFrank PuleioDavid MarxJoseph Browarski

Additional First Bank promotions include:

• Shatha Abbasi – AVP/Internal Auditor
• Traci Sundberg – Vice President/Assistant BSA Officer
• Donna Bencivengo – Vice President/Executive Assistant and Corporate Secretary
• Mona Goff – AT Analyst/Electronic Banking II
• Leo Valarezo – Custody Operations Analyst
• Michael Dove – TA/Finance Manager
• Heley Patel – Finance and Accounting Assistant
• Juliana Silletti – AVP/HR Supervisor
• Vanessa Van Gordon – HR Generalist
• Nadine Barron – Vice President/Senior Credit Underwriter
• Thomas Bay – VP/Head of Commercial Lending Relations
• Lauren Blough – AVP/Portfolio Manager
• Karen Carr – Senior AT/Commercial Administrator
• Diane Conklin – Senior Commercial Loans 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 – Vice President/Senior Credit Underwriter
• Rebecca Robotin – AT/Senior Team Leader, Commercial Loans Administrator
• Diane Smith – Vice President/Senior Credit Underwriter
• Brian Ballentine – VP/Branch Manager
• Michael Borkowski – Vice President/Branch Manager
• Denise Goetting – FVP/Regional Branch Manager
• Jason Koenigsberg – Vice President/Branch Manager
• Patricia Schofield – Vice President/Branch Manager
• Maria Tramo – AVP/Operations Coordinator for Retail and Corporate Banking

Employee success breeds praise from the bank

Great employees like these promotions have always been a key ingredient in First Bank’s recipe for success. Through the efforts of its employees, First Bank was recently named one of the top 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 continues to grow

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

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

Most importantly, Community Bank sees itself as a solution provider, where it all starts with a conversation. First Bank employees listen carefully and ask intelligent questions, so they can provide the best answer.

Additionally, First Bank operates with a long-term mindset. She recognizes that her reputation is her most valuable asset. To maintain its good reputation, First Bank focuses on achieving the best long-term results. By providing excellent recommendations and delivering on its promises, Community Bank continues to build its reputation and base of satisfied customers.

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

The bank offers traditional deposit and loan banking services for individuals, families and business customers. 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, as well as in Bucks Counties and Chester Counties, Pennsylvania. With $2.51 billion in assets as of December 31, 2021, First Bank offers a traditional suite of deposit and lending products to individuals and businesses across the New York City-Philadelphia corridor. First Bank’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “FRBA”.

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