10. Janet Garufis
President and CEO, Montecito Bank and Trust
Ask Janet Garufis her proudest accomplishment over the past year, and she's just as likely to say running the Paris marathon as anything to do with the performance of her bank.
"I set a goal to run a marathon by my 60th birthday and reached it a year early," says Garufis, the president and CEO of Montecito Bank and Trust, who completed in the event with her son ("the endurance runner"), daughter-in-law and friend.
Though it was her first endurance run, she is determined it will not be her last. "I've got the bug now," she says.
Garufis cites becoming an athlete as the biggest positive change she has made in her life lately and the most fun she has had all year. "I'm healthier, happier, more focused, more fit, and I have more stamina."
After nine years under Garufis' leadership, the privately held Montecito has only gotten better too. Operating in California's affluent and highly competitive Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Montecito has increased its deposit share to just below 4% from 2.6% in 2007. It is now the largest community bank in a $22 billion market.
Garufis, who previously held senior positions at Bank of America and Security Pacific National Bank, runs Montecito conservatively. Its loan-to-deposit ratio was 61% as of June 30, well below the 83% average for banks of comparable size nationally. Its Tier 1 capital ratio was 12%, in line with the peer group.
Hence, Montecito's return on equity doesn't stand out; in 2014 it was a modest 6.88%. But Garufis' cautious stewardship paid off well in the Great Recession. Montecito navigated the downturn without a net loss, and profits have been solid the past two years, totaling $13.2 million in 2013 and $13.1 million last year.
And Garufis has implemented some significant changes. In recent years, she has expanded into wealth management, overhauled the core technology platform, and strengthened enterprise risk management by creating chief risk officer and chief audit officer positions.
The success of Montecito, an S Corp bank founded in 1975 by prominent Santa Barbara developer Michael Towbes, is beginning to translate into added clout for Garufis. She served as chairman of the Western Independent Bankers Association from 2013 to 2014 and this year she was named chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's community depository institutions advisory council.
Garufis is likewise raising her profile in the community, taking leadership roles at several major Santa Barbara nonprofits. She serves as chairman of the Sansum Clinic Foundation, co-chair of the Santa Barbara Children's Library Campaign and president of the Santa Barbara Scholarships Foundation, among other activities.
Garufis encourages volunteerism among Montecito employees, which she says benefits the bank and the community. So she feels the need to lead by example.
"I have a responsibility to serve, so active board service is, for me, non-negotiable," Garufis says. "It's also been a great gift. There is no greater reward than the enrichment I've received by making even a small difference in the community."