Walker to Retire as CEO of First Northern Bank, Smith Chosen as Successor

Louise Walker, CEO of First Northern Bank and First Northern Community Bancorp, will retire on Dec. 31. Jeremiah Smith, currently senior executive vice president and COO, will succeed Walker as president and CEO of the company and the bank on Jan. 1. Walker will remain on the boards of the company and the bank, while Smith will join both boards as a director.

“It has been an absolute privilege and honor to serve First Northern Bank’s customers, employees and community members for over 43 years. After 12 years as CEO, navigating some of the most challenging times during my career, it seems about as right as it can be to make this transition,” Walker said. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to uphold First Northern Bank’s purpose of building long-lasting relationships by addressing specific financial needs on a personalized basis, providing opportunities for our employees and being committed and passionate about making a difference in our communities.

“After Jeremiah’s 19 years of service to the bank, I am confident that he will continue to lead First Northern as a purpose-driven organization, and the bank will continue to adapt and grow through his strong and thoughtful leadership. Jeremiah has demonstrated over the years that his leadership abilities during crisis and steady state are exceptional. Community banking is a people business, and he cares deeply about our employees. He is an incredible community banker who is committed to our customers and understands how important the bank’s role is to the communities it serves.”

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity.” Smith said. “Louise has done an outstanding job of leading First Northern over the past 12 years. I am fortunate to have Louise as a mentor, and I look forward to carrying on the great work she has done for our shareholders and the communities we serve.”

Smith currently serves as a board member on the Greater Sacramento Economic Council in Sacramento, CA, as well as for Western Bankers, the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and the West Sacramento Rotary. He also serves on various policy committees for the American Bankers Association and the California Bankers Association. He is also a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum.

“On behalf of the board, we want to thank Louise for her numerous contributions to the bank and for its success. During Louise’s tenure as CEO, First Northern Bank has grown in scope and strength,” Richard Martinez, chairman of the board of First Northern Bank, said. “Louise’s passion for the Bank’s mission and commitment to service is to be celebrated. She has been deeply committed to leading First Northern Bank to be one of the premier community banks in our region. The board also looks forward to working with a transformational and charismatic leader like Jeremiah. The bank could not be in better hands for the next chapter.”

Walker currently serves as treasurer of the American Bankers Association and past chair of the California Bankers Association. She is a board member of Western Bankers, director of the Pacific Coast Bankers Bank and numerous local boards, including Valley Vision, Yolo Food Bank, Solano Economic Development Corporation, Lambda Alpha International of Sacramento, Rotary and Soroptimist International of Dixon.

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