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Three Bankers Awarded National Scholarship for Emerging Community Bank Leaders


The American Bankers Association announced this year’s winners of the annual Jeffrey and Diana Owen Scholarship for Emerging Community Bank Leaders. They are Jake R. Doneker, vice president of Commercial Relationships at Quaint Oak Bank; Youssi Farag, CPA, SVP and chief financial officer at Citizens Bank of Edmond; and Matthew C.E. Hubbard, senior vice president and market president at American National Bank in Rocky Mount, Va. The scholarship covers tuition for emerging leaders from community banks to attend the first year of the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking, which will be held this year from June 2-9 at the University of Pennsylvania’s campus and The Wharton School in Philadelphia.

“With a job market that remains fiercely competitive, it is imperative for the banking community to invest in developing its top talent,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Jake, Youssi and Matthew embody what it means to be a community banker, and we are excited to see their continued success after participating in our world-class Stonier educational experience.”

Doneker, Farag and Hubbard were selected by a committee of the Owen Fund consisting of bankers and regulators who previously served on the Stonier Graduate School Advisory Board and have significant experience in banking. To determine the winners, the committee reviewed each applicant’s written application, including a 600-word essay on what it means to be a community banker as well as a description of the applicant’s commitment to lifelong learning.

Working with Owen and his wife Diana, ABA created the scholarship program, which supports the growth and development of emerging community bank leaders at the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking. ABA helped fund the program in recognition of Jeffrey Owen’s years of service to the association, where he retired in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer. Throughout his 45-year career, Owen was an advocate for community banking and the important role it plays in the nation’s economy. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be community bankers with at least five years of experience in financial services and have working knowledge of at least three of the following areas: financial statement analysis, bank operations, credit administration, accounting, and economics.

In addition to their traditional job duties, this year’s scholarship recipients have made a significant impact in their communities. Doneker has frequently participated in his bank’s annual food drive, Toys for Tots drive and its annual shred event. Farag has helped organize the Heard on Hurd monthly street festival in Downtown Edmond, Okla., which features more than 60 retail and food vendors as well as live performing artists. Over the past eight years, Heard on Hurd has attracted more than 230,000 attendees and has generated $38 million in economic impact on the local community. When the city of Roanoke, Va. faced looming budget constraints, Hubbard helped spearhead the “Keep Roanoke City Public Pools Open” campaign to save two public pools located within lower socioeconomic areas of the city. His bank and others in the community raised enough money to re-open the pools in 2021 and donate $20,000 to the local YMCA to provide free swimming lessons for children and families needing assistance.

“These scholarship recipients have exhibited exceptional leadership qualities as well as a sincere commitment to the success of their communities,” said Norman Beatty, Owen Fund Scholarship Committee chairman and past chairman, president and CEO of First Hope Bank in Hope, N.J.  “Supporting the growth and advancement of bankers of this caliber is precisely the goal of this scholarship program.”

Offered in partnership with the Wharton School, the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking trains the future leaders of the industry. To date, Stonier has educated more than 20,000 professionals. Most are vice presidents or senior vice presidents; one in five is an executive vice president, chairman or CEO. Attendees are from community and regional banks, money center banks and international financial institutions, and last year’s class attracted students from eight countries. Roughly 17% of attendees are from regulatory agencies, and all attendees are committed to taking their skills to the next level to advance their organization and their career.

Graduates of the program receive a Stonier diploma as well as a Wharton leadership certificate. For more information on the program, visit www.abastonier.com.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $23.7 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ approximately 2.1 million people, safeguard $18.8 trillion in deposits and extend $12.5 trillion in loans.

About the Jeffrey and Diana Owen Scholarship Fund

The Jeffrey and Diana Owen Scholarship Fund for Emerging Community Bank Leaders is a D.C. charity designated as tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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