Mechanics and Farmers Bank selects new CEO

Aug. 11, 2014 @ 07:28 PM

Mechanics and Farmers Bank, the 106-year-old Durham financial institution, has hired James H. Sills III as its chief executive officer.

He will succeed Kim Saunders, who earlier this year announced she will be stepping down as M&F Bank’s CEO.

Sills, secretary of the Department of Technology and chief information officer for the State of Delaware, will begin September 1.

“(This) will give me an opportunity to get back into community banking,” Sills said. “It’s something (where) you can immediately see tangible results.”

Sills has served as the chief operating officer for First Tuskegee Bank, president and CEO of Memphis First Community Bank and executive vice president of MBNA America Bank/Technology Sector (now Bank of America.)

He said banking relies heavily on technology and his background in it will help M&F stay abreast of technological innovations.

In 2009, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell appointed Sills to his cabinet, where he oversaw the department’s information technology budget and implemented technology projects.

"The future of community banking is in the technology arena, and (Sills) has been driving innovation at the intersection of banking and IT for more than 20 years," James A. Stewart, chairman of the M&F board of directors, said in a release.

Stewart  said the bank hired an outside firm for the CEO hiring process.

Sills said the position is an exciting opportunity to join a bank with a long history.

Chartered in 1907, M&F has been profitable for all 106 years of its existence.

Saunders will step down as the bank’s CEO Aug.31.

Stewart said the M&F board of directors thanks Saunders for her seven years of service, especially for leading the bank through the recession.