Brentwood-based Sonata Bank has named Wendell Bontrager as the company’s president and chief loan officer.
Bontrager brings three decades of banking experience from a de novo bank to a multi-state financial institution with $4 billion in assets. His extensive experience includes strategic revenue initiatives for private companies in the payments technology industry, management of turnarounds and restructuring, and merger integrations, leading seven acquisitions in two years. He most recently served as chairman and board member of Equity Bank, based in Wichita, Kansas.
“Over the past decade, the delivery model has shifted from a traditional community banking model primarily focused on serving customers through physical branches to a technology-driven mode of delivery,” Bontrager said. “COVID has accelerated this transition as branch closures have forced customers to rely on digital banking methods. When the opportunity presented itself to become one of the founders of a state-of-the-art institution, I was intrigued and look forward to leading the bank during this exciting time. »
Sonata opened its depository and loan origination office in Brentwood in early August and a full-service banking center will open in the fall. While Sonata’s first step is to focus on community banking providing commercial banking services to small and medium-sized businesses in Middle Tennessee, bank executives plan to launch a nationwide strategy focused on fast service and the banking industry. fast casual dining in the second quarter of 2023. .
“We are building our technology stack from the ground up and are fortunate to have Wendell leading our efforts to bring the latest technology and digital products and services to our customers while providing the personal service they expect from us. a community bank. said Dan Dellinger, CEO of Sonata. “His experience and proven leadership will serve Sonata well as we move forward in executing our QSR strategy.”
In addition to Dellinger and Chairman of the Board Farzin Ferdowsi, Bontrager serves on the boards of Sonata Bank and its holding company, Sonata Financial Holdings Inc.
Other members of Sonata Financial Holdings, Inc.’s board of directors include several Nashville-area business leaders and fast food industry veterans: Afshin Yazdian, CEO of Paysafe; Will Alexander, chief investment officer of Hall Capital; Kenneth Kline, CEO of JAKK Media; Neal & Harwell Partners Trey Harwell and James Kelley; Martin Silverman, owner of the Silmar Company; Shabnam Aminmadani, partner and vice-president of the MRCO; Tom Cook, co-founder and CEO of Pacific Bells and CEO of World Wide Wings; Nashville-based entrepreneur Dr. Turner Nashe; and Dave Brewer, recently retired Executive Vice President and COO, The Middleby Corporation.