Tiffanie Horton, LINKBANK | Next 2021

Chief credit officer

Credit officers and relationship managers often clash with each other over their work with struggling borrowers.

But Tiffanie Horton, chief credit officer at the 3-year-old LINKBANK in Camp Hill, Pa., has found a way to smooth over those inevitable disagreements by fostering good communication with relationship managers and explaining how her recommendations can work out well for both the bank and the customer.

“The tone with which one has the conversation is also critical, as is listening to the full story and not jumping too quickly to a conclusion,” Horton said.

It is a skill she said she picked up from a mentor, Jane Tompkins, an executive at the first bank where Horton worked, the former Waypoint Bank in Harrisburg, Pa. “Jane did that really well,” Horton said.

Tompkins, Waypoint’s chief credit officer, offered another crucial example for Horton, as a woman in a leadership role. “I admired the way she was able to juggle being a mom and being an executive,” said Horton.

Horton has two sons, ages 10 and 8, and has done plenty of juggling of her own as part of a team that has grown and sold several banks over the past two decades, including Graystone Bank in Pennsylvania and Sunshine Bank in Florida.

LINKBANK is the latest venture for the team, headed by Andrew Samuel, its chairman and chief executive officer. The bank, which had $424 million of assets at year-end, was formed in 2018 from the purchase of Stonebridge Bank, a distressed institution in the Philadelphia suburbs. A deal to acquire another bank, GNB Financial Services, is expected to close this summer, pushing LINKBANK’s assets above $800 million.

After the Stonebridge acquisition, one of the first orders of business was to comb through the portfolio of nonperforming loans and figure out which ones to save and which ones to sell.

“We wanted to focus on growing the bank and not dealing with troubled assets,” Horton said.

Samuel said the asset sale, in December 2018, produced a gain for the bank and credited Horton with being instrumental to that positive outcome. “I think if you talk to a lot of experts in our industry, they would not have expected that,” he said, declining to share the amount of the gain.

Though essentially a startup, the bank began turning quarterly profits in the second quarter of 2020.

Over the past year, one of Horton’s key tasks had been overseeing the bank’s certification as a Small Business Administration lender, so it could take part in the Paycheck Protection Program.

She has also made an extra effort to support other women at the bank as they cope with the strains of working remotely while balancing their personal lives.

“I think to be a manager you have to have a relationship with your employees and they have to feel valued and know that you support them both professionally and personally,” Horton said.

Nominating executive: Ray Chung, chief culture officer

What he said: “We are immensely blessed to have Tiffanie at the helm of the credit function, helping build the bank from the ground up.”

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