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Joanne Funari, honored amongst 50 Top Women for 11th year running.

American Riviera Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Joanne Funari has again been named one of the Top 50 Women in Business in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura Counties by the Pacific Coast Business Times. This is Joanne’s 11th consecutive year receiving the award which honors the 50 top women executives in financial services, technology, agribusiness, nonprofits and other fields.

“It isn’t surprising that Joanne has been named one of the top 50 women in business again this year,” said American Riviera Bank CEO Jeff DeVine. “She’s a powerhouse in the industry, is ever-present in the community, and serves a critical executive role at the bank.  Her passion for community banking and energy is contagious!”

A New York native, Funari has lived and worked in Santa Barbara since 1991. Prior to overseeing its merger with American Riviera Bank, she was the COO of The Bank of Santa Barbara. Before that, she was the Founder and President of Business First Bank.

Local businessman Walter Claudio said, “I guess you see the New York in Joanne when you witness the whirlwind of her getting stuff done. Before I really knew her, I was cutting her hair and mentioned I was having difficulty securing a loan for my long-time business. Her wheels started turning immediately and she secured the exact financing I was looking for within the week.  Really, don’t step in the way when she’s making things happen!”

American Riviera Bank Board Chairman, Larry Koppelman noted, “As we have expanded American Riviera, with new branches opening in Paso Robles and now, San Luis Obispo, the positive relationships that Joanne has throughout the regional banking industry have been instrumental for us in attracting the top local talent to help us reimagine the idea of ‘True Community Banking.’ Luckily for us, Joanne embodies it. She made this expansion happen.”

After almost thirty years, Funari has cemented many ties to the non-profit and social community of the area. She is currently Secretary of the Police Foundation and serves on multiple boards including the Downtown Organization, UCSB Economic Forecast Project, and Santa Barbara Zoo.  She represents the First District on the County Finance Corporation.  She is a past La Presidenta of Old Spanish Days and past Board Chairwoman of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce and the Goleta Chamber of Commerce.

“She literally seems to know everyone.” said, friend and local businesswoman, Kathy Odell. “Don’t walk down the street with her if you are in a hurry; you won’t get five steps without someone stopping her to say hello or request her help on a business matter or community issue.”

Of the award, Funari said, “It is incredible that this organization has been recognizing strong empowered women in this area since 2007 and it is an honor to be associated with the amazing women on this list.  I am completely committed to this community on a personal and business level and have been since I made Santa Barbara my home.”

The award was presented at an awards ceremony on the Deckers campus in Goleta on Thursday April 18.