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Employee News

Congratulations Curtis Wren! New Executive Vice President

Congratulations to Curtis Wren on his promotion to Executive Vice President! Curtis has spent the last four decades in banking and finance. He has been with SouthStar Bank for the last eight years, where he has made a significant impact on the Bank’s loan approval process as a Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. In his role, Curtis is responsible for the Credit Administration Group and the administration and maintenance of the Bank’s Lending, Appraisal & Evaluation, and Environmental policies, and the adherence to them in analyzing, underwriting, and approving loans. Prior to his promotion, Curtis was awarded the 2021 President’s Award, which is given to the individual who has made the organization’s strongest contribution over the past year. As Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer, Curtis will continue to share his extensive knowledge and experience with the loan officers and credit analysts. “I don’t look at lending just from the viewpoint of the collateral and cash flow,” he says, “I look at lending in the context of the request and as making a smart investment in the people behind the request, and I will continue to share that philosophy.”  A proud member of the Georgetown community, Curtis is involved with several local organizations including Main Street Baptist Church, Ducks Unlimited, and the Coastal Conservation Association. He has also held leadership positions with the Georgetown Rotary Club where he was the Director and the Sargent-at-Arms. In his free time, Curtis enjoys barbecuing, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends, particularly his four grandchildren. Two of  his most significant personal accomplishments are his marriage to wife, Charis, for 38 ½ years and the wonderful family they have raised. A surprising pastime is that he enjoys making renovations to his 1890s home and yard. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 680305

Welcome Emily Gamez

Emily Gamez, Personal Banker | SouthStar Bank Bee Cave Emily Gamez is joining the SouthStar Bank team as a Personal Banker at the Bee Cave location. A proud roadrunner, she graduated with her Bachelors from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2020 and is currently working towards getting her MBA from UTSA as well. While Emily is new to banking, she is excited to use her top-notch customer service skills and small-town touch to build strong relationships with her customers and co-workers. Away from work and her studies, Emily enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and exploring all of the unique things and places Austin has to offer. Welcome to the SouthStar Bank family, Emily!

Welcome Amanda Minniear

Amanda Minniear, Personal Banker | SouthStar Bank Georgetown The Georgetown team is growing with the addition of Amanda Minniear to the Operations team as a Personal Banker. An alumna of Texas Christian University, Amanda has worked in banking for over eight years and most recently held the position of Customer Service Representative. She is eager to bring her upbeat personality and willingness to learn to the Georgetown branch. Some of Amanda’s hobbies include reading, traveling, fishing, and spending time with her family. A secret talent of Amanda’s is that she can bake a very delectable dessert. Welcome Amanda!

Welcome Back Brianna Bracamontez

Brianna Bracamontez, Junior Credit Analyst | SouthStar Bank Loan Administration Building Welcome back Brianna Bracamontez! After working as a Banking Intern at the Georgetown location in the summer of 2021, Brianna is returning to SouthStar Bank as a Junior Credit Analyst based in the Leander Loan Administration Building. A recent graduate from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, she is looking forward to aiding in the continuous growth of the bank. Away from the bank, Brianna enjoys spending time with her friends, traveling, reading, and running.

Welcome Dawson Sulak

Dawson Sulak, Junior Credit Analyst | SouthStar Bank Loan Administration Building Dawson Sulak is joining the SouthStar Bank team as a Junior Credit Analyst. He will be based in the Loan Administration Building in Leander. Dawson is a graduate of Texas State University and is excited to bring his energy and hard work to the team. During his free time, Dawson likes to golf and travel. His favorite travel destination is Whistler Ski Resort in Whistler, British Columbia where he enjoys snowboarding. Welcome Dawson!

Congratulations Amanda Aaron! 2022 Emerging SBA Lender of the Year

Amanda Aaron has been named a 2022 Emerging SBA Lender of the Year by Coleman Publishing, which is a Nationally recognized publication of SBA information to small business bankers. Amanda joined SouthStar Bank in July 2019, bringing in over 15 years of financial experience to the team. Beginning her career in credit and quickly working her way up to a seasoned loan officer, Amanda expertly guides her clients through the entire lending process and makes them feel comfortable in what can seem a daunting endeavor. Amanda is levelheaded, compassionate, and practical when it comes to SBA lending. She takes the time to learn the client’s business and identify the best loan option for their financial needs. Keeping the borrower’s utmost success in mind, she quickly becomes a trusted advisor and partner. With small-town roots, Amanda is passionate about small business and its crucial effect on main street America. This passion drives her ongoing pursuit to be the subject matter expert for all things SBA, even in an ever-changing environment. This was especially crucial during the frenzy of PPP lending where Amanda remained up to date on the latest guidelines. As a valued member of the SouthStar Bank SBA Team, Amanda actively shares her knowledge with new and seasoned loan officers.  Amanda is a member of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and the Central Texas Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (CTAGGL). Coleman Publishing is the leading provider of information to small business bankers. They produce and distribute training courses, webinars, and newsletters to help assist small business bankers in their lending decisions. Every year Coleman Publishing hosts the SBA Lender Professional Awards to honor SBA lenders and their exceptional contributions to the SBA lending community. Congratulations Amanda! Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 1819235

Welcome Miguel De La Riva

Miguel De La Riva, Vice President of Lending | SouthStar Bank Leander Miguel De La Riva is a Vice President of Lending serving both the communities of Leander and Harker Heights. With over 20 years of industry experience, Miguel has funded everything from small business loans, home loans for first-time buyers, and multi-million-dollar commercial real estate transactions. Most recently he led a team of lenders in originating international mortgages for United States citizens. He specializes in using his strong analytical and problem-solving skills to find solutions for complex loans. “ I always look forward to helping more people accomplish their goals and realize their dreams,” he says. “Helping the clients who were told ‘it cannot be done by everyone else is one of the best parts of my job.” Miguel is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and bilingual in Spanish. He enjoys serving his community and looks forward to getting involved with the local charities and organizations. Outside of work, Miguel enjoys spending his time in the great outdoors enjoying various bodies of water with his dogs and family. Welcome Miguel! NMLS# 980470

Welcome Martin Aechternacht

Martin Aechternacht, Mortgage Loan Officer | SouthStar Bank Southwest Austin Martin Aechternacht is located at the SouthStar Bank Southwest Austin Branch as a Mortgage Loan Officer. An alum of Texas Tech and Texas State University, Martin has spent the last six years in the banking industry focusing on mortgage lending. For Martin, the best part of his job is sitting at the closing table with his clients while they realize their dreams of homeownership. He is always ready to serve his community and find new places to leave his size 14 footprint behind. Martin currently specializes in VA, Jumbo, and Conventional home loans. “I treat all of my customers with the same respect and dedication,” he says. “No home is too small or large. I will get the job done.” In his community, Martin is a member of the Texas Tech University alumni group and San Marcos Food Drive. An avid Dallas Cowboys fan, he is also a member of the Dallas Cowboys group in Lakeway. Martin likes to spend his time outside of the office snowboarding, doing cross-fit, playing golf, and hanging out on Lake Travis. Welcome Martin! NMLS# 1429303

Welcome Ryan Newton

Ryan Newton, Personal Banker | SouthStar Bank Leander Ryan Newton joins SouthStar Bank as a Personal Banker at our Leander location. Ryan graduated from Sam Houston State University in December 2021 with his BBA in Banking and Finance Institutions. He is excited to gain industry experience and bring his love for finance and keen people skills to the Leander operations team. In his free time, Ryan enjoys being outdoors salt-water fishing, hunting, and spending time with his family. Welcome Ryan!

Welcome Randi Shapiro

Randi Shapiro, Assistant Vice President/Branch Manager | SouthStar Bank Leander Welcome Randi Shapiro! Randi recently joined the SouthStar Bank family as the new Branch Manager of the Leander location. She has spent the last 15 years in the banking industry and brings over 10 years of managerial experience to her new position. Randi is looking forward to sharing her unwavering customer service skills with the Leander and Cedar Park communities. Randi’s most significant personal achievement is successfully moving from Canada to Texas. In her free time, Randi loves to travel and spend time with her family and dogs. A secret skill of Randi’s is that she is really good at Mario Cart.

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