Heather Schwarm joins Communities Board of Directors

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FRESNO, Calif., Sept. 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Communities First Financial Corporation (the “Company”) (OTCQX: CFST), Fresno First Bank’s holding company (the “Bank”), today announced the appointment of Heather Schwarm to the board of directors of Communities First Financial Corporation, expanding the company’s board of directors to 10 directors from 9. Ms. Schwarm has also been appointed to the Board of Directors Fresno First Bank Board of Directors.

Schwarm is an executive-level business professional with over 27 years of financial management and risk management experience gained in world-class companies. She has a proven track record in developing financial and business strategies to maximize financial performance, optimize operations, manage change and drive innovation.

“We are delighted to welcome Heather to our company’s board of directors and look forward to working with her as we continue our mission to grow our franchise,” said Mark Saleh, Chairman of the Boards of Directors. “She brings a wealth of experience and depth of knowledge that will help propel us towards future success. His proven track record in developing and implementing financial strategies, while optimizing business planning and integrating best practices in budgeting, forecasting and cash management will be of immense value to our franchise.

Heather Schwarm is the CEO of her own company, providing financial and strategic advice to financial services companies. From May 2012 to October 2016, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of American Savings Bank, which is Hawaii’s third largest financial institution. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President and Treasurer from 2010 to 2012 and Senior Vice President, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis, also with American Savings Bank. Heather Schwarm held increasingly senior positions, including Vice President of Investor Relations at KWK Management from 2005 to 2008.

Schwarm received her Masters in Business Administration, Corporate Finance, and Strategic Management (Dean’s List) from the University of Southern California in 2002. She received her Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship Program from the University of Southern California in 1993. His volunteer work included serving on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawaii; she was president of the board of directors for 2 years. Schwarm served as a board member and treasurer of Girls Scouts in Hawaii from 2014 to 2016.

About Communities First Financial Corporation

Communities First Financial Corporation, a bank holding company established in 2014, is the parent company of Fresno First Bank, founded in 2005 in Fresno, California. Fresno First Bank is a leading SBA lender in California’s Central Valley and has expanded into Southern California. The Bank is also a direct acquiring bank with VISA and MasterCard and processes payments for merchants across the country directly and through partners. Communities First Financial Corp. ranked third in the country against its peers in the category of best community banks (less than $5 billion in assets) and third in the best growth strategy selected among the top 50 banks in the study, reported by Bank Director. In March 2022, S&P Global ranked the Bank as the 10th best performing community bank with less than $3 billion in assets for 2021 and #1 in California. Named to the 2019 OTCQX Best 50 and ranked among the top performing OTCQX companies in the nation, based on total return and average daily dollar volume growth for 2018. The Bank was named to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing list Companies in 2017 and Forbes Best 25 Small Businesses in America for 2016. Additional information is available on the Company’s website at www.fresnofirstbank.com or by calling 559-439-0200.

Forward-looking statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations or forecasts of future events and are not guarantees of future performance, nor should they be taken to represent the opinions of management as of any future date. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these statements. The risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the Company’s ability to effectively execute its business plans; changes in general economic and financial market conditions; changes in interest rates; and, in particular, the measures taken by the Federal Reserve to try to control inflation; changes in the competitive environment; further consolidation in the financial services sector; new disputes or changes to existing disputes; losses, customer bankruptcy, claims and appraisals; changes in banking regulations or other regulatory or legislative requirements affecting the Company’s business; international developments; and changes in accounting policies or procedures that may be required by the Financial Accounting Standards Board or other regulatory bodies. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to the forward-looking statements included herein to reflect events or circumstances after today, or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events. The Company claims safe harbor protection for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Contact: Steve Miller – President and CEO
Steve Canfield – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
(559) 439-0200

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