Quick Take:

Krista Snelling is a veteran community-bank executive from the Sacramento area who says of her opportunity in Santa Cruz, “I plan to do a lot of listening at the beginning.”

Santa Cruz County Bank announced on Friday that it has appointed a new president. Krista Snelling, a veteran banking executive with Sacramento-based Five Star Bank. She’ll assume the position of president and chief executive officer at SCCB beginning March 1.

Snelling, 47, has been the executive vice president, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer at Five Star Bank since 2017, following a similar stint at the bank from 2009 to 2013. She also worked with the Chicago-based accounting firm Arthur Andersen and the European accounting firm KPMG. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in economics from UC Davis.

David Heald retired after 14 years at the bank’s helm in August.

Snelling said that she was attracted to the position because of the appeal of living in Santa Cruz County and SCCB’s reputation for what she called “safe and sound” business practices.

“Community stewardship is a high priority for me,” she said. “I enjoy being out and about and working in the community. So, you’ve got the Santa Cruz angle. You’ve got (SCCB’s) community stewardship angle and you have the safe-and-sound banking angle. It’s the full package, and I was intrigued from the moment I first heard about the opportunity.”

Santa Cruz County Bank was a central player in the distribution of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans administered by the federal Small Business Administration. Snelling said her bank in Sacramento was in a similar position to process federal PPP loans for its clients, and that her experience at Five Star Bank is applicable to Santa Cruz.

“We had maybe 25 to 30 people working seven days a week, maybe 10-, 12-, 14-hour days. At the time, I was totally exhausted. But it felt really good. You want to talk about doing work that is meaningful every day.”

Snelling said that she expects Congress to pass legislation that would bring an additional round of PPP loans to businesses in distress, and she may be in a position in Santa Cruz to be part of that program when she assumes her new position March 1. She and her husband, Edmund, will move to the area after the beginning of the year with their teenaged son and daughter.

She said that, as CEO, she is inclined to continue much of the work that SCCB has been doing in community stewardship.

“I plan to do a lot of listening in the beginning,” she said. “I plan to meet with the executives, the staff, the board, and the community and formulate a plan after that. But I feel I need to do some listening first.”

Wallace reports and writes not only across his familiar areas of deep interest — including arts, entertainment and culture — but also is chronicling for Lookout the challenges the people of Santa Cruz...