Montecito Bank & Trust’s Abuse and Financial Exploitation (SAFE) program earned it national recognition from the American Bankers Association Foundation, which presented it with a 2016 Community Commitment Award. The award was given to the bank for its efforts in the Protecting Older Americans category and was presented during the ABA’s annual fall convention in Nashville.
From internal training programs and red flag-triggered “Fraud Defense” handouts for customers, to their community outreach through presentations, in-branch workshops, local radio interviews and social media-relayed tips and alerts, Montecito Bank & Trust’s multi-pronged Elder Abuse initiative helps provide a dose of knowledge, safety and comfort to their communities and clients.
The selection committee chose six banks based on the creativity and thoughtfulness of programs—traditional or innovative in nature and structure—that embody the ideals of corporate social responsibility and demonstrate success in measurable terms.
Entries were divided into six categories, including affordable housing, community and economic development, financial education, nontraditional borrower and underbanked, protecting older Americans and volunteerism. Award winners were chosen by a field of nationally recognized experts.
“The SAFE program demonstrates Montecito Bank & Trust’s strong and passionate commitment to bettering the lives of its customers and local community,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Their work embodies the mission of the Community Commitment Awards and they are a truly well-deserved recipient.”
Janet Garufis, Montecito Bank & Trust President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “I am very proud of the work our MB&T associates do every day to identify and find solutions to the important issues affecting our communities. I am honored that the ABA chose to spotlight this critical program on a national level. Fraud and financial abuse continue to rise, and as a financial institution we have a responsibility to ensure that we educate as many people as possible about this important topic. I am incredibly proud to thank, congratulate and recognize our now national award-winning fraud defense team and all of our employees who are so dedicated to helping educate and protect our customers and our partners in the community.”
Montecito Bank & Trust SVP/Chief Risk Officer Laurel Sykes reflected on the program as well. “We are thrilled to be honored by the ABA for our SAFE banking program for preventing financial elder abuse,” said Sykes. “Our program grew out of what was first and foremost an internal training initiative created to address an increasing trend in financial crimes against seniors, but we soon realized there was a greater need for public outreach about this concerning topic. Knowing that millions of Americans are affected by elder abuse each year, and only a small percentage of those people report incidents, it is our hope that fellow bankers will join us and other community partners to help spread the word about fraud and elder abuse.”
Montecito Bank & Trust, an S Corporation, is the oldest and largest locally owned community bank in the 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; SBA loans; mortgage, consumer and credit card loans; 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 tri-counties to receive a 2015 Super Premier Performing Bank designation by The Findley Reports, an independent service which 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 41-year history. The bank was also awarded a 5-star, Superior Bauer rating for June 30, 2016 financial data.