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Management Team

Brad Elliott headshot Brad Elliott

Chairman & CEO

Brad S. Elliott is our founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He also serves as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Equity Bank. Before founding the Company, Mr. Elliott served as Director of Marketing at Koch Industries, Inc., a privately-held multinational corporation. Prior to joining Koch Industries, Inc., he served as a Regional President at Sunflower Bank, a community bank with locations throughout Kansas, Colorado and Missouri. Prior to joining Sunflower Bank, Mr. Elliott was employed in various capacities by Home State Bank and Trust for six years following graduation from McPherson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Management. Mr. Elliott is also a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He has served on the board of directors for the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Wichita State University Shocker Athletic Scholarship Organization, PCS Advisory Board, Via Christi Health, and the Kansas Bankers Association. Mr. Elliott adds financial services experience, especially lending and asset liability management to the board of directors, as well as a deep understanding of the Company’s business and operations. Mr. Elliott also brings risk and operations management and strategic planning expertise to the board of directors, skills that are important as we continue to implement our business strategy and acquire and integrate growth opportunities.

Eric Newell headshot Eric Newell

Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Eric R. Newell, CFA, has been Executive Vice President since May 2020 and Chief Financial Officer at Equity Bancshares, Inc since April 30, 2020. He has been Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Equity Bank since April 30, 2020. He served as an Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of United Financial Bancorp, Inc. Mr. Newell served as the Chief Financial Officer of United Bank and Executive Vice President. and served as its Treasurer until 2018. He served as Head of Treasury & Corporate Strategy of United Bank since May 2013. Mr. Newell oversees the financial management of the Equity Bancshares including oversight of accounting management, such as internal and external financial reporting; investor relations; interest rate risk, liquidity, and capital management. He served as Senior Vice President and Director of Treasury at United Bank from March 2012 to May 2013. He served as a Senior Vice President of United Financial Bancorp, Inc. He joined United Bank in May 2011 as Vice President and Treasury Officer. He served as an Analyst at AllianceBernstein, as an Analyst at Fitch Ratings, Ltd. and as a Bank Examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. His earlier roles include Assistant Vice President at AllianceBernstein in New York, NY where he worked under a mandate from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Capital Purchase Program and an analyst role at Fitch Ratings managing a portfolio of bank and non-bank entities’ credit default ratings. Mr. Newell holds a Chartered Financial Analyst Designation. He received a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Marketing from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

Richard M. Sems headshot Richard M. Sems

President, Equity Bank

Richard M. Sems joined Equity Bank as President in May 2023. Before that, Mr. Sems was the Chief Banking Officer for First Bank in St. Louis, MO. Mr. Sems served as President and CEO of Reliance Bank from 2013 to 2016 and Regional President of PNC Financial Services from 2009-2013. He worked as the President and CEO of Missouri Banking and served as EVP and Managing Director of Corporate Planning of National City Corporation from 2000-2009. Mr. Sems also spent time with PWC, working as a manager from 1993 to 1998 and is an Inactive CPA. He has a B.S in Accounting from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and an MBA - Corporate Strategy from the University of Michigan Ross Business School. He serves on the board of trustees for Grove City College and Maryville University.

Julie Huber headshot Julie Huber

EVP, Strategic Initiatives

Julie A. Huber serves as Executive Vice President, Strategic Initiatives of Equity Bank. Ms. Huber joined Equity Bank in 2003 and has served in a variety of leadership roles for Equity Bank over period of twelve years, including overseeing our operations, human resources, compliance functions and sales and training, and has managed the integration process for each community bank we have acquired. Ms. Huber served as President of Signature Bank for three years following our acquisition of Signature Bank 2009. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Huber most recently served as the executive of Sunflower Bank responsible for the retail, operational, compliance and security functions. Ms. Huber graduated from McPherson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and History, received her MBA from Baker University in 2014 and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and the Bank Leaders of Kansas. Ms. Huber currently serves as President of the Andover Advantage Foundation in Andover, Kansas and is a Business Plan Advisor with Youth Entrepreneurs.

Brett A. Reber headshot Brett A. Reber

EVP, General Counsel

Brett A. Reber joined Equity Bank in October 2018 as General Counsel for Equity Bancshares, Inc. and Equity Bank. Prior to joining Equity, he served as Managing Member of the Wise & Reber, L.C., law firm in McPherson, Kansas. Brett has practiced corporate and business law for the past 30 years.

Mr. Reber received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in 1983, and his law degree from the University of Tulsa, College of Law in 1986. He served as a law clerk to United State District Judge Thomas R. Brett in the Northern District of Oklahoma before beginning his law practice. He was admitted to practice in Oklahoma in 1986 and Kansas in 1987, and holds membership in the American, Kansas and Oklahoma Bar Associations.

Reber is active in community affairs, and serves on various boards including the McPherson Industrial Development Company and the Julia J. Mingenback Foundation locally, the National Board of Directors of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever and the corporate boards of Farmers Alliance Mutual Insurance Company and the Bradbury Company.

John G. Creech headshot John G. Creech

Chief Credit Officer

John G. Creech has been Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer at Equity Bancshares, Inc. since December 2021. Prior to joining Equity Bank, Mr. Creech served as the Chief Credit Policy and Administration Officer for Synovus Bank, overseeing credit administration, loan policy, risk rating, workout and restructuring, and retail credit. During his tenure with Synovus, he oversaw due diligence efforts over acquisitions in excess of $10 billion in aggregate assets, created an entity and structure to manage the problem loan portfolio working through $6 billion in problem assets from 2008 to 2015 which contributed to their successful repayment of TARP funds, as well as oversaw the implementation of underwriting and risk rating procedures associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Creech graduated from The Citadel in 1989. He served on the Board of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Inc. for more than 20 years.

Hetal  A. Desai headshot Hetal A. Desai

EVP, Chief Risk Officer

Hetal A. Desai has been Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Equity Bancshares, Inc. since joining in October of 2022. Prior to joining Equity Bank, Ms. Desai served in risk management leadership positions with JPMorgan Chase, State Street Corporation, and Santander. She previously served as the Head of Enterprise Risk Management at American Challenger Development Corporation, a de novo digital bank headquartered in Stamford, CT. Ms. Desai received her Master’s in Accounting from the University of Bombay, India, and is both a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Public Accountant.

John Hanley headshot John Hanley

SVP, Chief Marketing Officer

John J. Hanley is SVP, Chief Marketing Officer for Equity Bank. Hanley joined Equity Bank in 2012, and oversees all marketing, advertising, communication, brand management, and product development strategy as well as public relations and investor relations for the company. Hanley has more than 12 years of banking experience, serving as marketing manager for Kansas-based Sunflower Bank from 2004 through 2011, and one year as product manager for the AAFP in Leawood, Kansas. Hanley earned his Certified Financial Marketing Professional designation in 2014. He began his career as a writer and editor with The News-Times in Danbury, Connecticut. Hanley is a graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa College of Law.

Chris Navratil headshot Chris Navratil

SVP, Finance - Bank Chief Financial Officer

Chris M. Navratil is the Chief Financial Officer of Equity Bank. Mr. Navratil first joined Equity as a Senior Vice President within Finance in February 2019. In December 2022, Mr. Navratil was promoted to Bank CFO, overseeing financial and balance sheet strategy, liquidity, financial planning and analysis, investor outreach and more. Before Equity Bank, Mr. Navratil spent seven years, including two as a Senior Manager within the Financial Institution Audit Practice, with Crowe LLP, a public accounting firm in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Navratil received his Master’s degree in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University in 2011.

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