Krista Snelling took the leadership role as President and CEO of Santa Cruz County Bank in March 2021. Learn more about Krista’s navigation of the community’s local bank through the pandemic, why she believes you should put your money where your life is, and what she’s looking forward to in 2022 as the Bank celebrates its 18th anniversary.
What did you learn about Santa Cruz County Bank in your first 12 months at the helm?
KS: I knew before my arrival that Santa Cruz County Bank had a reputation for community engagement, but what I came to quickly discover is that the SCCB team is both passionate and 100% committed to our community. Community is the thread that connects us – to our clients, fellow colleagues, community partners, and neighbors. That commitment is in the Bank’s mission statement and I saw firsthand that it rings true on a very personal level. A great illustrative example of our commitment was the effort by the entire SCCB team to secure PPP funding for local businesses before the government funds were exhausted. Our team worked around the clock and saved over 50,000 jobs through the PPP program for local businesses – that’s an astounding number for a bank of our size and it maximized our available resources to the fullest extent. The challenges we’ve all experienced the last two years truly brought to light what community banks bring to the table.
I also immediately saw the benefits of the Bank’s hands-on decision making. This is a roll up your sleeves team with a direct approach to decision making and relationship building. Our relationships with our clients and community partners run deep – they are longstanding and meaningful. What makes our community bank unique is our ability to be creative, to understand our business clients’ needs, and to give those businesses access to decision makers. This is what business owners want.
What drew you to Santa Cruz County Bank in particular?
KS: Because of my years of experience understanding the role community banks play in the communities they serve, I knew I wanted to join a bank already operating under a tag line that exemplifies both the values and the benefits of community banks – Put your money where your life is. Community banks, like Santa Cruz County Bank, reinvest local dollars back into the community which in turn help create local jobs. Our reinvestment back into our community helps small businesses grow and lets local families thrive.
What excites you as you enter 2022, your second year at SCCB?
KS: I’m most excited about our plan to further unlock efficiencies within our processes and internal operations, all with the end result of positively impacting the client experience. We’ve uncovered and developed the means to deliver to clients using digital technology, and we’re adding products to meet the needs of our clients. Our focus has been heightened by the pandemic, which is driving digital transformation, because it necessitates the focus to meet our customers where they are, which is significantly remote. This excites me greatly.
We’re looking forward to serving all of our customers and performing at the highest levels. The feedback we hear from new clients has a consistent theme – the personal relationships and access they have with the SCCB team makes all the difference. We hear it all the time from people who made the switch; they know they have access to a relationship manager who can make a decision. That sets us apart from national institutions. Our clients are happier having moved to SCCB because they can get to the business of their business. We love that!
Another exciting realm for me is tracking the success of our expansion into new markets and meeting new clients. Our Monterey branch opened in January 2021, and the Monterey team is continuing to welcome new clients and community partnerships. We’ve also begun the remodel of our new location in Salinas, which is slated to open by the end of 2022. We’re already hearing from Salinas area businesses how much they’re looking forward to Santa Cruz County Bank being in their community.
What do you want a potential client to understand that would make them consider switching banks?
KS: I want potential clients to know that we’re here for them. Our processes and decision-making are all performed in-house, which results in timely and straight-forward approvals. Our lenders have years of experience and a working knowledge of local market conditions. Our mission is to find solutions to fit your needs and we get things done when other banks can’t. We will be there for you - we’ve proven that through the success of our support during the pandemic. Community banks prove that again and again through the personal relationships they foster.
“I’m humbled and inspired by the opportunity to lead Santa Cruz County Bank in 2022 as we expand into new markets and build upon the Bank’s legacy.”
— Krista Snelling, President and CEO of Santa Cruz County Bank
Your arrival at SCCB was right during the pandemic. How did that feel?
KS: In hindsight, my arrival during Shelter in Place was perfectly timed for shaping digital and internal transformations. During the pandemic, businesses learned quickly that they needed to rapidly adopt and deploy in the digital space in order to transact their business and survive. Individuals who stayed home sought out digital technology for their banking needs. All the digital products and services we’ve had in place for years have been fully embraced and discovered during the pandemic. Also, as an essential business, we rapidly and adeptly pivoted without missing a beat, by deploying the Bank’s emergency disaster plans, which we’ve practiced and prepared for the past 18 years. When the pandemic hit, we moved more than half our workforce to safer remote spaces while our branches carefully remained open to serve the public.
I’m an extrovert, so on a personal level the pandemic has been a real challenge for me, especially not being able to get face to face consistently with our employees and the community. Now that things have opened up to a degree, I’m eager to attend events and see all the smiles that were hiding under the masks, and in 3D instead of on Zoom!
Are you enjoying the Santa Cruz area since your move here in March 2021?
KS: Absolutely! I take the coastal route to and from work each day, and every day it takes my breath away. We’ve lived here for a year, and the thrill of living in a place where we are surrounded by natural beauty, and in walking distance of the coastline, is never taken for granted. My entire family is enjoying the discovery of our beautiful outdoor spaces.
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