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Author: SouthStar Bank

Congratulations Jesica Garza! New Area Manager

Jesica Garza has been promoted to Area Manager for the Urban North region at SouthStar Bank. This region includes the Georgetown, Leander, and Round Rock locations. Having joined SouthStar Bank in 2019, Jesica excelled in her previous role as Vice President of Lending. In her new capacity, she is eager to leverage her wealth of knowledge and expertise to lead her team of loan officers toward achieving goals that enhance the lending experience for all customers. Jesica specializes in complex underwriting, providing customers with unique lending options, and has emerged as a commercial and residential lending expert. Her contributions have earned her awards with the bank, including the President’s Award in 2023 and the Ride for the Brand Award in 2021. She has also received accolades from the Austin Home Builders Association, where she was named Mortgage Industry Professional of the Year in 2023 and recognized as one of Austin’s Top Mortgage Professionals in 2021 and 2022. Beyond her professional achievements, Jesica is actively involved in the community, dedicating support to Flatwater, a local non-profit founded by her husband that provides access to therapy for families coping with a cancer diagnosis. She is also in the 2024 Leadership Georgetown class with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and looks forward to leadership serving opportunities in her hometown of Georgetown upon graduation in June. Outside of work, Jesica can be found spending time with her husband and two children at the soccer fields or family dinners with their large extended family in Georgetown. When she finds time for herself, she enjoys workouts at her local CrossFit gym or diving into a good novel.

Employee Spotlight – Melissa Greger

Melissa Greger, Assistant Vice President & Loan Operations Processor | SouthStar Bank Calvert Melissa Greger is an Assistant Vice President and Loan Operations Processor at the SouthStar Bank Calvert Branch. Melissa holds more than three decades of experience in the banking industry and is approaching a quarter century at SouthStar Bank. The proudest moment in her career came when she received the title of Assistant Vice President, something she had strived to achieve for many years. In her role, Melissa loves collaborating with the Loan Officers and Loan Coordinators across the bank to help make borrowers’ dreams come true. Hearing the excitement in the borrower’s voice when they purchase their new home brings her great joy. Melissa regularly attends Salem Lutheran Church, where she has been a member for 22 years. She is also a part of the top fundraising Relay for Life team in the entire Bell County area. Melissa also participates in the Feed My Sheep outreach program in Bell County; this program allows people from the community to help prepare a meal once a month for people experiencing homelessness. When Melissa finds time to herself, there is nothing she loves more than fishing. Rockport, Texas, is her home away from home, with her family making multiple trips down south each year. She says there is no better sight than watching the sun go down while hauling a massive red drum. One item on Melissa’s bucket list is to take her fishing skills to Louisiana for a guided fishing trip.

Congratulations Tyler Narro! New Branch Manager

Tyler Narro has been promoted to Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of the SouthStar Bank Hearne branch. As a Personal Banker, she has thrived at finding solutions for her customers’ needs. Tyler has been with the Hearne team for just under six years and brings over a decade of banking experience to her new position. As branch manager, Tyler is excited to support her team in any way possible to ensure the branch remains compliant. She is also motivated to deepen her connection with the community of Hearne in her new role. Overall, Tyler looks forward to continuing to develop her team and leading them to success in 2024! Outside of work, Tyler spends much of her time with her children, attending her son’s sporting events and enjoying the outdoors.

Common Romance Scams in 2024

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it is important to be wary of Romance Scams (also called Love Scams). In a romance scam, scammers target individuals by creating a fake online persona (through social media, email, etc.) and then making romantic advances at the targeted individuals. The scammer will then attempt to connect emotionally with the victim to gain their trust enough to either ask or blackmail the victim for money. These scams can appear in a variety of ways; below are some of the most frequent examples: Photo Scams A photo scam takes place when a scammer tries to convince their victim to send over sensitive personal information in exchange for intimate photos from the scammer. A reverse of this is also known to occur when a scammer coerces the victim to send intimate images; upon receiving these photos, the scammer will then use them as leverage to blackmail the victim. If your online love interest seems insistent on obtaining your personal information or sends continuous requests for intimate photos, particularly ones that include your face, it is vital to recognize these signs as red flags. Fake Dating Website Scams        Online dating has exploded in popularity in recent years, with online dating app users increasing from around 200 million users in 2015 to nearly 340 million in 2022. With such rapid growth come many new apps and websites looking to capitalize on this growing market. While some of these upstarts are trying to help you find love, others are scammers looking to manipulate victims and steal their information. These scams involve creating a website under the guise of a typical dating website. However, the user base is either full of scammers who will pry victims for information or the user base is incredibly small so the scammer can steal any info they can get when victims “register” for the site. Reminder, it is important to vet any website before signing up and offering personal information. Military Romance Scams Scammers will also try to manipulate victims by impersonating members of the military. These scams revolve around creating a compelling fake military persona and convincing victims they require financial assistance. In this scam, scammers will use a high volume of military-related terms and offer an official title or rank to gain the victim’s trust. They will then claim they need money to cover certain expenses. The most common request for funds is for “flights home” or even flights to visit the victim. In both scenarios, the scammer will simply pocket the money, make an excuse about how they couldn’t come home, and continue to ask for money from the victim. When exploring a relationship with anyone online, it is of the utmost importance to verify that they are who they say they are; failure to do so can lead to catastrophic financial consequences. These are just a few examples of Romance Scams; many more methods exist, and more will come in the future. Protecting yourself and staying informed on how and when you […]

Employee Spotlight – Lora Scasta

Lora Scasta, Assistant Vice President of Lending | SouthStar Bank Hearne Lora Scasta is an Assistant Vice President of Lending at the SouthStar Bank Hearne Branch. Lora was with the bank for two decades before taking a brief one-year hiatus and returning in the Fall of 2023. Lora is ready to hit the ground running in her second stint with SouthStar, as she looks forward to furthering her knowledge and expertise. She enjoys being able to help people on both the lending and deposit sides of banking, leaning on her wealth of experience to guide her peers. Lora also thrives working in a team environment and loves to be able to help her customers and coworkers in any way possible. Outside of work, Lora is very active in her church community, her local Chamber of Commerce, and the Salvation Army. She also loves traveling, especially if there is a beach within reach. Lora has traveled to a number of tropical destinations, including her favorite place to visit, Destin, Florida. A surprising fact about Lora is that the first concert she ever attended was George Strait at G. Rollie White Coliseum when she was 12.

Welcome Back Bryce Johnston

Bryce Johnston, Loan Review Analyst | SouthStar Bank Leander Bryce Johnston has rejoined the SouthStar Bank team as a Loan Review Analyst. Bryce originally joined the team in the summer of 2023, working as an intern in the Credit Department and exhibiting an excellent ability to thrive in a team environment. Bryce recently graduated with a degree in Finance from St. Edward’s University. He brings an inquisitive sense of curiosity that allows him to learn and grow in his position continuously. He believes each loan has a different story, which helps keep him engaged with all the loans that come to him for review. Outside of work, Bryce enjoys golfing, watching sports, and following the stock market. He also loves to travel, and his favorite destination thus far has been France, where he was able to visit the World War II sites in Normandy and enjoy the excellent cuisine. One of Bryce’s most significant achievements was winning the Conference Championship as a St. Edward’s Lacrosse Team member during his time at the University.

Congratulations Amanda Aaron! New Credit Officer

Amanda Aaron has been promoted to the role of Credit Officer. She has proven to be an exceptional leader and motivator during her time with SouthStar Bank, first as the Leander Branch Executive and then as the SBA Credit Officer. Now, she has brought those traits into SouthStar Bank’s growing credit department. At the beginning of 2023, she was promoted from Branch Executive to SBA Credit Officer. This role allowed her to lead the charge in growing and developing SouthStar Bank’s SBA Portfolio. As SouthStar Bank’s Credit Officer, she will expand her role to the bank’s entire portfolio of loans, reviewing and approving credits of all types, assisting in training, and developing and growing the Credit Department to accommodate the continued progress of SouthStar Bank as a financial institution. While in her new position, she will continue contributing to the SBA Department as an SBA Specialist. Alongside her contributions to the bank, Amanda is also involved in several community organizations, including the Central Texas Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (CTAGGL), a local SBA organization where she serves as VP.   When she finds time to herself, Amanda enjoys watching all types of sporting events, coaching her daughter’s softball team, and spending time with family and friends.

Congratulations Greg Vesely & Miguel De La Riva New Area Managers

Greg Vesely and Miguel De La Riva have been promoted to Area Managers in the Urban South and Rural North regions. Miguel and Greg have found incredible success in their previous roles as Loan Officers and, eventually, Branch Executives. Both men have shown exceptional dedication throughout their time with SouthStar, leaning on their knowledge and experience to offer premier service to their customers. In their new roles, Miguel and Greg will work closely with their teams of loan officers to develop and achieve goals that will help deliver the optimal lending experience to all customers. Greg Vesely (Urban South) started his banking career in 1993 and became a lender in 1995.  He has been with SouthStar Bank since 2016 and has been the Branch Executive of the Steiner Ranch branch since 2017. Greg holds multiple licenses, including Series 6, 63, and Group 1. As a loan officer, Greg enjoys being his clients’ trusted advisor. By understanding their needs, he is able to help them achieve growth and success. One of Greg’s career highlights was being named a Top Mortgage Producer in the Austin Metro Area by Austin Business Journal and being awarded the Trail Boss award, one of SouthStar Bank’s highest internal honors for leadership. Big in his community, Greg is a former Marine and enjoys giving back through multiple organizations, including March of Dimes, Coats for Kids, Toys for Tots, and United Way. In his free time, Greg enjoys traveling across the U.S. with his family. Miguel De La Riva (Rural North) has been in lending for more than two decades and has been with SouthStar Bank for two years. In his long career in the financial industry, Miguel has funded everything from small business loans, home loans for first-time buyers, and multi-million-dollar commercial real estate transactions. He specializes in using his strong analytical and problem-solving skills to find solutions for complex loans.  In his short time with the bank, Miguel has excelled as the Branch Executive of the Harker Heights branch, led the charge with the development of the ITIN loan program, and has been assisting as an extra loan officer in the Robertson County branches.  Miguel is a United States Marine Corps veteran and bilingual in Spanish. Outside of work, Miguel enjoys spending his time in the great outdoors, enjoying various bodies of water with his wife and loyal dogs.

Welcome Michael Lott

Michael Lott, AVP & Branch Manager | SouthStar Bank Steiner Ranch Michael Lott joins the SouthStar Bank Steiner Ranch team as an Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager. Michael brings a wealth of experience to his new position, with over two decades of experience dealing with the banking industry’s ever-changing landscape. Along with his knowledge, Michael is excited to bring his top-notch customer service skills to his customers and lead SouthStar Bank to be the standard for service in Texas. As a leader of the Steiner Ranch team, Michael is excited to work and share all of the knowledge that will help his team in their professional pursuits. Outside of the office, Michael enjoys songwriting, singing, reading, and spending time with his three children. Michael’s hidden talent is his singing voice. He even once performed as Elvis at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas! Michael’s favorite destination that he has traveled to is Munich, Germany.

Employee Awards & Anniversaries 2023

RIDE FOR THE BRAND The Ride for the Brand award recognizes those individuals who have gone above and beyond to uphold the SouthStar Bank brand. In the cowboy days, when you worked for a big ranch or participated in a trail drive, the cowboy was loyal to the Brand he “rode for.”  Guys that rode for the brand had deep connections representing the ranch that transcended their daily work.  To strengthen our culture, we continue to need employees that are a good example of this type of steadfast loyalty and who support our mission, vision, and values. STAR LEADER The Star Leader award is a special award given to applaud and promote the work and contributions of our most senior team. These individuals articulate a compelling vision for the institution and have inspired others to that vision. They actively support all aspects of our Bank’s advancement and show the highest commitment to professional growth. Recipients deserve exceptional notice and praise. TRAIL BOSS We also wanted to recognize a few individuals who have stepped up in their leadership roles. On a cattle drive, Trail Boss is the one in charge of the entire operation – keeping track of all the different elements of the drive, selecting routes, and making key decisions. Our Trail Boss awards go to those who have helped guide our teams, selected routes for new and expanded operations, and supported key initiatives to exceed expectations. We can all agree that this year brought many new challenges, and the executive team appreciates those who helped set the path for success. PRESIDENT’S AWARD This prestigious recognition is awarded by the bank president, David Kapavik, to the individual he and the executive team feel has made the strongest contribution to the organization over the past year in each region. They review many aspects including performance, leadership, service, and related organizational benefits. RISING STAR AWARD These individuals have been with the bank for less than two years, but have already made our star shine brighter. These emerging leaders were selected by the executive committee in each department because of their exceptional growth and contributions to the organization, as well as increased levels of leadership, responsibility, and sphere of impact. INVESTAR SUPERSTAR This award recognizes one individual who has embraced our partnership with Hilltop Securities. We look forward to the continued growth of this relationship and the benefits it provides for our clients. MERCHANT SERVICES SUPERSTAR This award recognizes one individual who has embraced our partnership with Merchant Services. We look forward to the continued growth of this relationship. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT SouthStar Bank takes great pride in supporting our communities. The Community Involvement Award recognizes one recipient in each of our four regions for exemplifying the community bank spirit through active involvement in worthy causes and initiatives throughout the area. STAR SERVICE AWARD The Star Service Award recognizes one recipient in each of our four regions for service above and beyond the expected norm. Recipients consistently demonstrate exceptional knowledge of our products and […]

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