Heritage Oaks Bank recently announced the promotion of Russell (Russ) Pereira to the position of Vice President, Commercial Lending Officer. In his newly expanded role, Russ will continue to build and manage a commercial lending portfolio in the Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria areas.

“Russ has been instrumental in increasing loan production and creating networking opportunities in the Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande areas,” says, Joanne Funari, President, Business First Bank/EVP and Chief Lending Officer, Heritage Oaks Bank. “Russ is a vital contributor to our banking team and is a trusted resource for customers; always assisting them in navigating through the ever changing economic environment,” adds Funari.

Mike Bieza

In addition, Business First Bank (A Division of Heritage Oaks Bank) is pleased to announce Mike Bieza has joined the team as a Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager. Mr. Bieza brings extensive banking, consumer and commercial lending experience to the organization.

“Mike is a perfect compliment to our team at Business First,” says Joanne Funari, President of Business First Bank. “Mike knows the Santa Barbara market very well and has been a trusted resource for Santa Barbara businesses for many years,” adds Funari.

“What attracted me to Business First Bank were the excellent employees that work together to provide customers the service they expect and appreciate,” says Mike Bieza. “After being with the organization for a short time, I am even more impressed with the quality of staff,” adds Bieza.

In his new position, Mike will be responsible for growing and managing a commercial lending portfolio in the Santa Barbara area. Bieza is headquartered at Business First Bank in the State Street office.

Over the past 25 years, Mike has worked in the banking industry. Most recently, he spent the last 22 years at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust (a subsidiary of Pacific Capital Bancorp) and Mid-State / Rabobank as their Commercial Lender.

In addition to his broad banking experience, Mike graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a B.S. in Business Finance.  He currently serves as a member of the Goleta Boys and Girls Club Community Council. He also serves as a member of Premier Professionals.

Mike enjoys coaching his two sons’ youth sports teams, motorcycle riding, golfing, and camping with family in his spare time.