SANTA BARBARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#BankOnBetter–American Riviera Bancorp (“Company”) (OTCQX: ARBV), holding company of American Riviera Bank (“Bank”), announced today changes in its Board leadership associated with normal succession planning. The changes were approved by the Board following the Company’s annual shareholder meeting and the Board’s organizational meeting on June 15, 2023, and were effective immediately. The appointments provide for continuity of leadership and fresh perspectives on the Company’s long-term performance and strategy.

After seventeen years of extraordinary leadership as Board Chairperson, Lawrence Koppelman, a founder of the Bank has assumed a board member-at-large position with the Company and Bank. Mr. Koppelman will continue to serve as a member of the Compensation and Asset Liability committees of the Board, and the Company will continue to benefit from his over fifty years of mortgage lending and banking experience.

Jeff DeVine, President and CEO of the Company and the Bank stated, “I have worked closely with Larry Koppelman for the last 15 years and he has been actively involved in every Board committee and major strategic decision. American Riviera Bank would not be where we are today without Larry’s statesmanship, wisdom, and dedication.”

After seventeen years of serving as Board Vice Chairperson, Darren Caesar, a founder of the Bank was elected by his peers to serve as Board Chairperson of the Company and Bank. Mr. Caesar has been Chairperson of the Nominating and Corporate Governance committee and will continue to serve on that committee as well as the Audit and Asset Liability committees of the Board. Mr. Caesar is President of the California Commercial Division of HUB International, a national insurance brokerage. He is also a member of HUB’s corporate executive committee. The Company will benefit from Mr. Caesar’s long-term experience on this Board as well as his experience successfully growing a financial company in California via organic growth and acquisitions.

Darren Caesar, Chairperson of the Company and the Bank stated, “I was honored to be elected by my peers to this important role and stand ready to lead this experienced and diverse Board. American Riviera Bank has built a strong franchise on the Central Coast of California, and I look forward to building on this legacy.”

After four years of service to the Board, Dr. Elizabeth Cholawsky was elected by her peers to serve as Board Vice Chairperson of the Company and Bank. Ms. Cholawsky was also elected Chairperson of the Nominating and Corporate Governance committee, and will continue to serve on the Audit and Compensation committees of the Board. Ms. Cholawsky is CEO of HG Insights a Santa Barbara based data technology company. She led the company before and after private equity firm Riverwood Capital Partners acquired its majority stake in 2020. Prior to joining HG, Ms. Cholawsky was CEO of (SPRT) and has held executive positions at Citrix (CTXS), Valueclick (VCLK), and other companies in general management, marketing, product management, and client services. She attended Stanford Directors College and has served on multiple public and private company boards.

Dr. Elizabeth Cholawsky, Vice Chairperson of the Company and the Bank stated, “I look forward to supporting Darren and the rest of the Board in my new role. I hope to continue to leverage my experience in data and technology to help position the Bank for the future as the lines between banking and fintech converge.”

Company Profile

American Riviera Bancorp (OTCQX: ARBV) is a registered bank holding company headquartered in Santa Barbara, California. American Riviera Bank, the 100% owned subsidiary of American Riviera Bancorp, is a full-service community bank focused on serving the lending and deposit needs of businesses and consumers on the Central Coast of California. The state-chartered bank opened for business on July 18, 2006, with the support of local shareholders. Full-service branches are located in Santa Barbara, Montecito, Goleta, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. The Bank provides commercial business, commercial real estate, residential mortgage, construction, and Small Business Administration lending services as well as convenient online and mobile technology. For thirteen consecutive years, the Bank has been recognized for strong financial performance by the Findley Reports and has received the highest “Super Premier” rating from Findley every year since 2016. The Bank was rated “Outstanding” by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2023 for its performance under the Community Reinvestment Act.

Statements concerning future performance, developments or events concerning expectations for growth and market forecasts, and any other guidance on future periods, constitute forward looking statements that are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from stated expectations. Specific factors include, but are not limited to, effects of interest rate changes, ability to control costs and expenses, impact of consolidation in the banking industry, financial policies of the US government, and general economic conditions.


American Riviera Bank

Michelle Martinich