Your Team

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With more than 200 years of combined service, the Vibra Bank team has the experience and expertise you need to manage your personal and business finances.

FRANK MERCARDANTE

President and CEO

Frank Mercardante, President & CEO, has nearly five decades experience in the community banking industry. During his career he started, managed, acquired and sold financial institutions of all sizes including a $6.5 billion thrift in the Midwest, which he managed in conservatorship. He was President & CEO of Southwest Community Bank from 1999 to 2006, when it was sold to Placer Sierra Bank. Mr. Mercardante subsequently became Chairman and CEO of the $2.6 billion Placer Sierra Bank, which was later sold to Wells Fargo Bank. He has engineered the turnaround and sale of a number of troubled financial institutions, saving shareholders and tax payers millions of dollars. He has started, managed and or sold numerous financial servicing businesses including mortgage, title and escrow, insurance and computer servicing entities. He holds a degree in Business Administration and is an ordained permanent deacon in the Catholic Church.


RICK HUERTA

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Rick Huerta, Chief Financial Officer, has over 15 years of commercial banking experience in the San Diego area. He served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Neighborhood National Bank and was Vice President and Controller at Borrego Springs Bank. Mr. Huerta earned his Bachelor's Degree in International Business from San Diego State University in 1994 and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado in Boulder, Colorado in 2006.


GAIL JENSEN-BIGKNIFE

Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer

Gail Jensen-Bigknife, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer has over 37 years of banking experience, having most recently worked from January 2013 to March 2014 as EVP/CCO for The Bank of Santa Barbara. Prior to that, Ms. Jensen-Bigknife was EVP/CCO for Security Business Bank of San Diego, a bank she helped found in 2002 and which sold to AmericanWest Bank in 2012. Prior positions were held with US Bank , Peninsula Bank of San Diego, San Diego National Bank and California First Bank (now Union Bank). Ms. Jensen-Bigknife’s professional and community involvement includes active participation in The Risk Management Association (RMA), currently as a member of the National Board of Directors and as a member of the Community Bank Council. She is the immediate past chairman for the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of San Diego. Ms. Jensen-Bigknife is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from San Diego State University, a graduate of LEAD San Diego, Inc. and has received her Credit Risk Certification designation from RMA.


CAROLE TARANTINO

Senior Vice President, Operations Manager

Carole Tarantino, Senior Vice President, Operations Manager, has thirty-three years of banking experience including significant experience in operations and data processing. As Senior Vice President with Rancho Bernardo Community Bank, she implemented and supervised the bank's operations and in-house data processing department, from the de-novo stage until the bank's sale in 2005. Prior to that, Ms. Tarantino served as Vice President, Data Processing for The Bank of Rancho Bernardo. Ms. Tarantino graduated from the California Banking School in 1993.          

ALEX RODRIGUEZ

SVP, Business Relationship Manager

Alex has nineteen years of commercial and retail banking experience.  Prior to Vibra Bank,  Alex worked at a number of prominent institutions such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Key Bank, Union Bank and The Bankers Bank of Atlanta Georgia.  Alex originates loans in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Imperial and Los Angeles Counties.  He has experience with SBA and Conventional financing.   He is active in the market and is a member of the MABPA (Mexican America Business & Professional Association), CANEXMA (Cámara de Negocios México-Americana de San Diego) and Albondigas Political Society.  Alex earned his Master’s in Business Administration from National University and obtained his undergraduate from the University of San Diego.  He is currently attending the Graduate School of Banking at the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle, Washington. Contact Alex


ESPERANZA DANIEL

VP, Customer Relationship Manager

Esperanza joined the Vibra team 4 years ago after a rewarding journey at the SD Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she was able to support Small Business Owners through different programs and services. As a Customer Relationship Manager, Esperanza works to build long term relationships with our customers making sure they are pleased with their banking experience. She helps clients throughout San Diego and Orange County that need any type of business financing, either conventional or through the SBA. Born and raised in Mexico City and in California, Esperanza earned a BA in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of San Diego. She has been involved with the Hispanic Business Community in San Diego for over 10 years, gaining the local knowledge and experience needed to support the bank’s growth in the region. Contact Esperanza


ISAAC MODIANO

VP, Customer Relationship Manager

Isaac Isaac  has 38 years of banking experience in the Mexican and bicultural community. He began his career at Bancomer in Mexico City in 1975. Since then, Isaac has worked at other prominent financial institutions including Banco Occidental, Wells Fargo and Banco Popular. He has also had extensive experience as a residential loan officer for various mortgage companies in the United States. Isaac earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Economics. Contact Isaac


Brian J. McClendon

SVP, SBA District Sales Manager

Brian has over 24 years of experience in commercial banking and SBA lending.  He develops SBA loans throughout Southern California primarily for purchase/refinance of owner-occupied commercial real estate and business acquisition.  Brian has funded over $250,000,000 in SBA loans throughout his career.  He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Management from California State University, Bakersfield.  Brian is active in the local community having coached youth baseball/softball for 10+ years; he currently volunteers his time at Brother Benno’s in Oceanside and St. Vincent de Paul Village in San Diego. Contact Brian


HOWARD LEVENSON

Chairman

Howard B. Levenson, who is also our Chairman, is the Chairman of Western Financial Corporation, a registered securities broker-dealer and investment-banking firm based in San Diego, California. Vibra Bank represents the third time that Mr. Levenson has sat on the Board of Directors of a community bank. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortuna Financial, Inc., an investment-banking and consulting firm providing independent financial services. Mr. Levenson was a founder and Chairman of the Board of Southwest Community Bancorp from 1996 to 2006 (when it was sold). He served as a Director of Southwest Bancorp and its subsidiaries from 1985 through 1989 (when it was sold). Mr. Levenson earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Management from San Diego State University. Mr. Levenson has served as a member of the Board of Directors of several publicly held companies listed on the New York and American Stock Exchanges, NASDAQ and the over-the-counter markets. He is a prior Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Grossmont Hospital Foundation and past President of the University Club of San Diego.


MAX FREIFELD

Vice Chairman

Max Freifeld, who is also the Vice Chairman of Vibra Bank's Board of Directors, is a partner in Prediales Atenas S.A. de C.V., a real estate investment company involved in the development of residential and commercial real estate projects in Mexico and is also a partner, board member and consultant for Autos Orientales, S.A. de C.V., a Nissan automobile dealership in Mexico where he was previously general manager and commercial director. Mr. Freifeld was previously a founder and board member of two mortgage companies in Mexico that focused on mortgage origination and servicing. Mr. Freifeld earned a degree in Architecture from Universidad Anahuac in Mexico.


ENRIQUE R. SCHON

Enrique R. Schon, immediate past Chairman of Vibra Bank's Board of Directors, is a founder, major shareholder and member of the Board of Directors of Banca Mifel, a Mexican bank with over $3 billion in assets, 46 branches and 10 loan producing offices in Mexico. He is also the President of Inmobiliaria Karine, a commercial real estate development company in Mexico City and a Partner in SARSAP, a commercial real estate development company in Tijuana. Mr. Schon is the President of JEPAD, a company formed to invest in real estate throughout Mexico and USA, which specializes in bulk residential and commercial “REO” (real estate owned) properties. Mr. Schon was previously the President of Leroy de Mexico, a conglomerate of apparel businesses based in Mexico City, consisting of manufacturing, distribution and retail operations and was a member of the Board of Directors of Grupo de Vivienda Accesible, a builder of low-income housing near Mexico City.


DAVID BEJARANO

David Bejarano previously served as the United States Marshal for the Southern District of California and was the Chief of Police of the San Diego Police Department. Mr. Bejarano earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from National University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and FBI Southwest Command College. On Tuesday, September 1, 2009 Mr. Bejarano was sworn in as the City of Chula Vista's 23rd Chief of Police. Chief Bejarano leads a department of 240 sworn law officers and 90 civilian employees, plus more than a hundred volunteers. He oversees a budget of 44 million dollars and provides law enforcement services to a community of 225,000 people. Chula Vista is the second largest city in San Diego County, 14th largest in the state and the 89th largest in the country.          


MARIA DAVILA

Maria Davila is the Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Corporación de Telecomunicaciones Regionales, a telecommunications company she founded in Mexico that provides phone and Internet services to underserved markets in Mexico. Ms. Davila was one of the founders and an original member of the Board of Directors of 1st Pacific Bank of California, a La Jolla-based community bank. Ms. Davila earned her Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.


GERSHON JAFFE

Gershon Jaffe is a Certified Public Accountant and is the Chief Financial Officer of Jaffe Finance Company, LLC, which specializes in asset-based financing and leasing for professionals such as physicians, dentists, attorneys and accountants. Mr. Jaffe was also the Senior Director of Financial Reporting for San Diego-based Trizec Properties, Inc., a Real Estate Investment Trust which traded on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange. He was responsible for all the financial reporting requirements for this multi-million dollar property development and management company. Mr. Jaffe obtained his Accountancy credentials from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


LUIS MAIZEL

Luis Maizel is the Senior Managing Director and co-founder of LM Capital Management and LM Advisors, the second-largest Hispanic money management company in the United States, with over $3.5 billion under management. Mr. Maizel is also Chairman of the Hispanic National Mortgage Association, President of Maizel Enterprises, Inc., a real estate development company, Chairman of BBG Telecom, S.A. de C.V., member of the board of directors of United PanAmerican Financial Corporation and a member of the United States board of directors of Nacional Financiera. Mr. Maizel earned his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and his 33 Masters of Science in Industrial Engineering from the National University of Mexico. He also earned a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.         


FRANK MERCARDANTE

President and CEO

Frank Mercardante, President & CEO, has nearly five decades experience in the community banking industry. During his career he started, managed, acquired and sold financial institutions of all sizes including a $6.5 billion thrift in the Midwest, which he managed in conservatorship. He was President & CEO of Southwest Community Bank from 1999 to 2006, when it was sold to Placer Sierra Bank. Mr. Mercardante subsequently became Chairman and CEO of the $2.6 billion Placer Sierra Bank, which was later sold to Wells Fargo Bank. He has engineered the turnaround and sale of a number of troubled financial institutions, saving shareholders and tax payers millions of dollars. He has started, managed and or sold numerous financial servicing businesses including mortgage, title and escrow, insurance and computer servicing entities. He holds a degree in Business Administration and is an ordained permanent deacon in the Catholic Church.