OUR SENIOR LEADERSHIP
President and Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board, and Founder
As an internationally recognized leader in the field of ethical banking and outspoken advocate for values-based businesses, Ken has always had a unique approach to banking and believes that in addition to making a profit, finance can be a force for good.
Three years after the sale of his first bank, Florida Choice Bank, Ken was able to put this approach into action with the founding of First GREEN Bank – the very first bank in the eastern United States with an environmental and social mission. Under Ken’s leadership, First GREEN Bank expanded across Florida and his values-based business model demonstrated that financial excellence can occur without ethical compromise. Now, with a continued dedication to reverse the climate crisis, Ken is expanding on First GREEN Bank’s legacy with his newest bank, Climate First Bank the nation’s first climate-focused community bank.
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Founding Director
With more than 22 years of executive and senior management experience, Michele has a proven track record in overseeing strategic growth and driving profitability. Michele has worked senior-level positions at various Florida community banks throughout her career. This includes working as EVP and CFO at Enterprise Bank of Florida, and as Director of Operations at Harbor Community Bank. During her tenure at Harbor Community Bank, Michele successfully assisted with eight acquisitions and grew the bank from $50 million in assets to $2.2 billion over a seven-year period.
As CFO and COO, Michele will work closely with CEO Ken LaRoe to grow Climate First Bank into the largest and most profitable values-based bank in the southeast.
Executive Vice President, Senior Loan Officer
As founder of EROC Advisors, LLC, Ed has extensive experience in values-based financing and is committed to utilizing his expertise to help lead the Bay Area towards a more sustainable future. Ed has led various leadership initiatives and held senior-level positions at a number of major banks including Florida Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Gulf Shore Bank and Seacoast Bank. As Executive Vice President and Senior Loan Officer at Climate First Bank, Ed leads the commercial lending team to offer standard commercial loans, consumer loans, and specialized green loans.
Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Digital Banking Officer
As Chief Technology Officer and Chief Digital Banking Officer, Marcio deOliveira provides leadership and guidance in proprietary digital product development including mobile banking and digital client onboarding for both consumer and commercial lending platforms. As the former Vice President of Banking Platforms at the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator company, Prelim, and lead inventor of five patents in banking technology and payments, deOliveira brings a wealth of expertise in the financial services technologies space.
Prior to Prelim, deOliveira spearheaded digital transformation as former Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of C1 Bank. While at C1 Bank, deOliveira was an influential co-founder of a successful fintech startup C1 Labs and helped execute the bank’s IPO on the NYSE in 2014. When C1 Bank was acquired by Bank OZK, deOliveira’s role shifted to become a key member of the leadership team as President of Innovation. In that role, deOliveira led Bank OZK’s market positioning strategy as a leader in technology and innovation within the banking sector.
Vice President, Branch Manager, Business Banker
Brian is a long-time St. Petersburg resident with more than 20 years of experience in the financial sector, including retail and business product sales, branch operations, lending, investments and insurance. Prior to his current position, Brian led branches at IberiaBank and CenterState Bank. Brian works hand in hand with the residents and businesses of St. Pete to reach and exceed their financial goals.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Attorney Business Banking
As licensed Florida Bar attorney, Leitner has a diverse background in law and business. Having worked with First GREEN Bank and Seacoast Bank, Leitner has extensive knowledge in driving environmentally focused banking initiatives.
Senior Vice President, Senior Credit Administrator/Loan Operations Manager
With over 17 years’ experience in finance and banking, Blaine brings a diverse array of experience to the credit risk and operations departments at the bank. Prior to joining Climate First Bank, Blaine served multiple positions at South State Bank via CenterState Bank and was integrally involved in numerous acquisitions over the years. Blaine holds an MBA from the University of Central Florida and resides in Belle Isle, FL with her husband, Roger and two young boys, Indy and River. Blaine leads both the credit underwriting and loan operations teams with a focus on a seamless backroom experience for our customers.
Senior Vice President, Deposit & Treasury Operations Manager
Amy has twenty-two years of experience as a VP Treasury Operations Management Officer and Deposit Operations Management Officer at Center State Bank, Harbor Community Bank, and various other community banks in Florida. She has been in banking for thirty-four years, with various other roles specializing in retail branch management, lending, acquisitions, and mergers. Amy has also led team initiatives to implement electronic banking services in efforts to improve efficiency and client experience. Her teams will be striving to operate with minimal impact to our environment. Amy received her MBA from Florida Atlantic University in 1996 and graduated from the Florida School of Banking in 2007. Amy also is an Accredited ACH Professional and an Accredited Payments Risk Professional.
Senior Vice President, Senior Advisor to the CEO
Chris Cucci has spent all of his nearly 20 year banking career in the Central Florida market. A native of New Jersey, Cucci moved to Orlando in 1997 to attend the University of Central Florida where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree. Chris also holds the CCIM designation which is earned through advanced coursework in financial and market analysis, and demonstrated extensive experience in the commercial real estate industry. Active in the community, Cucci serves on the board of directors for CCIM Central District, Treasurer/Finance Chair for Osceola Community Health Services, and the Valencia College Business Advisory Council. He is also honored to be a founding member of CEO Leadership Forums, an organization that provides educational workshops and develops internship programs for middle market companies in Central Florida. Prior to joining Climate First Bank, Chris held various positions in commercial lending and leadership at South State Bank, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase.
Chris Van Buskirk
Senior Vice President, Senior Corporate Advisor
Chris specializes in growing and maximizing the financial performance of startup banks and brings nearly 25 years of experience within the industry. He worked closely with Climate First Bank founder and CEO Ken LaRoe in the past, having held the position of vice president at LaRoe’s two previous de novo banks, Florida Choice Bank and First GREEN Bank. He now joins LaRoe for the third time as the senior vice president and senior corporate advisor of Climate First Bank where he will be responsible for driving traditional commercial lending, commercial deposits and specialized commercial green loans. Chris graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1999 with a degree in Finance. In his free time, Chris enjoys playing golf, going to concerts, camping, and fishing.