- July 29, 2022
BayFirst National Bank CEO Anthony Leo has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 3. He’ll be succeeded in the role by Thomas Zernick, who currently serves as the St. Petersburg-based community bank’s president.
Leo has led the locally owned bank, formerly known as First Home Bank, since August 2013, helping to grow its total assets from $69 million to nearly $1 billion, according to a news release. He will remain affiliated with the bank as a member of the board of directors and special counsel for strategic matters.
“Tony has been instrumental in the evolution of BayFirst into one of the premier banking institutions in the region, and among the top SBA lenders in the nation,” BayFirst Bank Board Chairman Anthony Saravanos states in the release. “The board is grateful to Tony for his dedication to BayFirst and wishes him the best in the future.”
Zernick, the release states, joined BayFirst National Bank in 2016 and was named president in February 2022. He previously served as president of the bank’s CreditBench Division, which provides government-backed loans to businesses throughout the nation.
"With a proven track record of success, we are confident Tom will lead the company to continued growth and profitability in the years to come," Saravanos states in the release. "Tom’s appointment is a testament to the depth of management we enjoy at BayFirst. He will be supported by COO Robin Oliver, together with a talented management team and experienced and dedicated staff throughout the organization."
Founded in 1999, BayFirst National Bank has eight full-service branches throughout the Tampa Bay region.
"It has been an honor to serve as CEO of BayFirst during this period of growth and transformation, and I want to express my sincere appreciation to our board of directors for their support and to our employees whose hard work and dedication have allowed us to achieve so much," Leo states in the release. "I have worked with Tom for over six years and am confident he will be a strong leader for BayFirst. I look forward to working closely with Tom and the executive team for the balance of 2023 to ensure a smooth transition."