Who We Are
Executive Team and Board of Directors
Meet Metro Phoenix Bank’s Executive Team and Board of Directors. Through their leadership, dedication, and banking expertise, this team has been instrumental in the ongoing success of the Bank. Metro Phoenix Bank is proud to have such a devoted and engaged Team and Board that brings a diverse amount of business knowledge and steadfast commitment to seeing the Bank prosper.
Stephen P. Haggard (Director/President/CEO)
As a Founder of Metro Phoenix Bank, Mr. Haggard has been a member of the Board of Directors and has held the position of CEO & President since the Bank’s inception over the past 14 years. Mr. Haggard has led the institution from its organizational stage, startup phase, financial crisis period, subsequent recovery and its current high-performance profile. Mr. Haggard has spent his entire professional career in the commercial banking industry and has been involved exclusively in the executive management of Phoenix area commercial banks.
Prior to launching Metro Phoenix Bank, Mr. Haggard was involved in the “ground level” organization of another de novo institution, which began operations in 2003. Mr. Haggard was the Executive Vice President/Senior Loan Officer until departing to form Metro Phoenix Bank. Prior to his tenure in an executive capacity, Mr. Haggard was involved with several other Arizona based banks to include a “turn-around” project that he joined in 1994. Mr. Haggard was instrumental in materially improving the asset quality of a troubled bank and held the position of Chief Credit Officer until the sale of the bank in 2001. Previously, Mr. Haggard had spent several years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) working as a commissioned bank examiner in both the Kansas City Region and the San Francisco Region. Mr. Haggard is a 1989 graduate from the University of Iowa and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with a major and minor in Finance and Economics respectively.
Jack W. Hilton (Chairman of the Board)
Mr. Hilton has been a member of the MPB Board of Directors since the Bank’s inception. His 40 years of real estate investment experience has proven to be instrumental as the Bank has grown.
Mr. Hilton has been facilitating the financing, acquisition, and development of real estate projects in the Arizona market since 1976. His credentials include experience in the local real estate market, where he has witnessed and participated in Arizona's dramatic growth.
Mr. Hilton has been active as an owner of mortgage companies, a real estate brokerage and management company, a licensed broker dealer company, as well as construction and development companies. His infatuation with real estate industry started at a young age when he purchased his first small apartment complex at the age of 19. Shortly, thereafter, he built his first spec home, which lead to the construction and management of numerous small apartment buildings during the early to mid-1980s.
Mr. Hilton became a real estate lender in the early 1980s to assist, in part, the planning and acquiring, and financing for his own projects. As family members began to develop their own real estate projects and needed access to financing, Mr. Hilton decided to secure his Mortgage Brokers License. He received his first Mortgage Brokers License on October 1, 1983, which led to bigger and greater involvement in this exciting field.
Some of Mr. Hilton's accomplishments include:
James R. Barrons (Vice Chairman of the Board)
Mr. Barrons has been a member of the MPB Board of Directors since the Bank’s inception and his 40 years of diversified financial management experience has been an invaluable resource for MPB. Since 1985, Mr. Barrons has directed his own financial management and investment advisory firm, providing services to high net worth individuals and professional athletes.
Mr. Barrons’ entrepreneurial pursuits include having majority interests in: an outdoor billboard manufacturing company, an outdoor advertising company, and a diversified investment company. Together with his business partners, he developed a number of commercial projects including hotel properties in Southern California. He also currently holds an ownership position in several residential communities and office buildings, in addition to building several custom homes for resale within these developments. As an active investor in land within the state of Arizona, Mr. Barrons has participated in the entitlement and planning process of numerous residential, commercial, and mixed use developments throughout the community.
After graduating from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Mr. Barrons went on to become a certified public accountant while working for the international accounting firm Touche Ross & Co. Mr. Barrons then held the position of Vice President of Columbia Pictures Communications which was subsequently acquired by Coca Cola Company. Before establishing his own firm, Mr. Barrons worked with a well-diversified investment company with an emphasis in real estate and media properties.
Helen C. DeFusco (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer)
Ms. DeFusco is Metro Phoenix Bank's Executive V.P., Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer. She is a senior financial professional with an extensive background in banking, which includes financial reporting and analysis, asset/liability management, budgeting and forecasting, branch/back office operations, compliance, internal controls and operational improvements.
After she left Harris Bank in 2006, Helen joined Bank USA as their Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the overall financial operation of the bank. At Bank USA, Helen was a key member of the executive management, and implemented strategic plans, prepared and monitored bank's regulatory financial statements, prepared GAAP financial statements, implemented internal budget and forecasting models, managed the investment portfolio, and chaired the Asset/liability Committee. She also managed the loan servicing, credit administration, facility management, and risk management functions of the bank.
Helen earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Arizona State University. She is also an active Certified Public Accountant, and a graduate of the ABA National School of Compliance. Helen was selected as one of the Arizona's Top 100 Women in Business in 2004 and was recognized in magazine feature articles.
Michael S. Morano (Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer)
Michael S. Morano joined Metro Phoenix Bank in July 2012 as the Bank’s Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. Mr. Morano has served several local community banks in the valley and has gained a well-earned reputation as a solid, loyal and knowledgeable banker. He is a seasoned executive in the local market with the experience and commitment to serve the local businesses in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Prior to joining Metro Phoenix Bank, Mr. Morano held the position of President at First International Bank and Trust and was responsible for supervision of two banks within the Scottsdale market. Since joining First International Bank and Trust in 2010, he enhanced the reporting processes and efficiencies and grew transaction accounts in excess of $5MM and new loan relationships by $7MM.
Mr. Morano’s former banking experience includes playing a key role in the organization of a De Novo community Bank, Scottsdale Business Bank, during 2007 through 2009. He was responsible for bank site selection, name identification, personnel hiring, preparation of regulatory application and financial projections along with vendor establishment. From 2004 through 2007, Mr. Morano served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunrise Bank of Arizona where he successfully re-built and re-tooled the organization into a highly efficient bank. He was directly responsible for improved bank culture and the identification of 27 new employees within the initial 18 months of his oversight. He also reconstituted the board of directors with businessmen that represented a cross section of the business community. During Mr. Morano’s tenure at Sunrise Bank of Arizona, he achieved three of the most profitable years in the bank’s eight-year history.
He also held positions as Chief Credit Officer of BankUSA from 2001 – 2004 and Vice President Commercial Lender with Rocky Mountain Bank from 1998-2001. His professional banking career commenced as a safety and soundness bank examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; achieved commissioned status.
Mr. Morano has been a resident of the Scottsdale and Phoenix market for over 30 years and has been involved in local banking for more than 20 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (finance) from Northern Arizona University as well as an MBA from Arizona State University. Mr. Morano serves on the Board of Junior Achievement Arizona and is an advisory member to the School of Global Management at Arizona State University.
Lori R. Jones (Director)
Mrs. Jones has been a member of the MPB Board of Directors since the Bank’s inception. Mrs. Jones has been a member of management with Salt River Project (SRP) for the past 20 years. During that period of time, her career experiences encompassed energy services, sales management, facilities management, construction management, customer billing, and customer service. In her current role, she is responsible for Lighting Maintenance and Vegetation Management.
Mrs. Jones also represented SRP as an "executive on loan" to Fresh Start Women's Foundation (FSWF), a non-profit organization offering counseling, mentoring, educational, legal, e-learning, and career counseling services for women who are facing transitional needs in their lives. Mrs. Jones led building facilitation efforts for the Jewell McFarland Lewis Fresh Start Women's Resource Center. When the Center doors were opened in October 2002, FSWF was the first comprehensive, self-help facility for women in the country.
In addition to her position with SRP, Mrs. Jones and her husband co-founded CDC Pools, Inc., which is one of the state's largest swimming pool renovation companies. CDC has been in operation since the early 1990s and has established itself as an industry leader in integrity, quality, and volume.
Mrs. Jones graduated from Western International University with her Masters' degree in Management and from Arizona State University with her Bachelors' degree in Interior Architecture. In addition to her continued involvement with Fresh Start Women's Foundation, Mrs. Jones is a board member and advocate for Paz de Cristo and is an active member of Red Mountain Community Church. She served on the boards for the Arizona Association of Industries and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. She is also an active participant in Compassion International and in SRP Volunteer, Booster, and Political Involvement Committee (PIC) programs.
Matthew S. Keene, MD (Director)
Dr. Keene is a physician, entrepreneur, and business leader. Dr. Keene attended Georgetown University School of Medicine on a full military scholarship and graduated with multiple honors. He received his residency training at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Upon completing his residency, Dr. Keene served as a Major in the United States Air Force.
After serving his country, Dr. Keene Co-founded the Scottsdale Center for the Advancement of Neuroscience (S.C.A.N.), an internationally recognized "Center of Neuroscience Excellence." The success of S.C.A.N. caught the attention of several Fortune 500 healthcare companies, including Medco Health Solutions (NYSE: MHS). He joined Medco and served as Vice President in order to create and direct their Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center, developing programs that brought value to the company while improving the lives of 10 million patients.
In addition to his work as a physician and leader in professional education/clinical program development, Dr. Keene's corporate experiences and entrepreneurial spirit have afforded him the opportunity to manage and invest in several real estate/business developments. He owns/manages multiple investments nationwide, encompassing farming, fuel storage, healthcare, retail, and multifamily projects.
Dr. Keene is the author of the award-winning book Chocolate is My Kryptonite: Feeding Your Feelings / How to Survive the Forces of Food. He served as a consultant to The Oprah Winfrey Show, America Talks Health, Wall Street, and several national periodicals. He currently directs one of Arizona’s premiere outpatient chemical dependency treatment programs and serves as a consultant to multiple pharmaceutical companies as well as The Arizona Medical Board.
Michael R. Stephenson (Director)
Mr. Stephenson has been a member of the MPB Board of Directors since the Bank’s inception. Mr. Stephenson is also the owner of Stephenson Capital Resources, a private investment company that primarily provides venture capital and private money loans to businesses and real estate developers in Arizona. Although a large portion of Stephenson Capital's portfolio is now real estate related, Michael Stephenson brings over 43 years of ownership and managerial experience in business and industry. Stephenson's business fundamentals and disciplines were developed over a span of 18 years, while working in upper management of major appliance companies such as Raytheon and McGraw Edison. Mr. Stephenson was directly responsible for sales and marketing activities for each of the companies.
Thereafter, Mr. Stephenson took the position of Division President for Wickes Companies, Inc. Under Mr. Stephenson's tenure, the kitchen cabinet division of Wickes grew to the 5th largest kitchen cabinet manufacturer in the nation. Over the past twenty years, Mr. Stephenson has been an active entrepreneur, starting and successfully selling five manufacturing companies in the plastic, foam, vinyl, and store fixture industries. The largest company, which sold store fixtures to Walgreens and JC Penny, generated sales volume in excess of $60 million. In addition to the five companies noted above, Mr. Stephenson was also an active business consultant and investor in a number of other start-up, turnaround, and acquisition business ventures.
Robert Bisetti (Director)
Mr. Bisetti has not only achieved an impressive track record of being an entrepreneur but also has real-world banking knowledge. Mr. Bisetti currently owns/operates a Scottsdale-based commercial art gallery known as Think Art Gallery that provides wholesale art to a variety of clients such as custom home builders, interior designers, and architects. Mr. Bisetti also owned Bisetti’s Italian Restaurant located in Fort Collins, Colorado for 29 years. This family-owned restaurant later expanded into the dessert industry through Bisetti’s Desserts. Mr. Bisetti had grown Bisetti's Desserts into a wholesale food distribution service that spanned 13 western states, later selling the dessert division in 1997. Since then, Mr. Bisetti has been active in commercial real estate endeavors ranging from brokerage services to real estate development.
Additionally, Mr. Bisetti served as a Board member for a number of years for a successful nine-branch Colorado community bank having total assets in excess of $800 million. This practical hands-on banking experience provided Mr. Bisetti with an invaluable frame of reference and industry knowledge that very few professionals can bring to a bank's board table.
Robert and his wife Heather have two grown children who both attended the University of Arizona. In his spare time, Robert enjoys golfing, reading and playing the drums.
Doug Gardner (Director)
Mr. Gardner is the owner and President of Page Steel, Inc., which specializes in structural steel fabrication projects, outdoor advertising structures, steel sales, and scrap recycling. He has successfully guided the company over the past 40 years, navigating through the highs and lows of a number of economic cycles. Mr. Gardner's other business ventures include ownership of Page Lumber, one of northern Arizona's largest providers of building supplies, and President of Page Steel Transportation, which operates a fleet of tractor-trailer units.
Along with his successful business ventures, Mr. Gardner is continuously giving back to his community. He has been affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America for over 30 years and is a dedicated supporter of Feed America. Mr. Gardner also assisted in fundraising projects such as the annual Page Steel Boy Scout Golf Tournament. Mr. Gardner is an avid aviation enthusiast and private pilot. Doug has been married to his wife Sherri for 35 years and has five children and two grandchildren.
Eric J. Grubelich (Director)
Mr. Grubelich joined Metro Phoenix Bank in 2017, bringing with him 30 years of experience in the banking sector. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), and as a professional bank investor, he specializes in the analysis and due diligence of regional and community banks. Most of his prior professional background focused on equity and debt bank research and sales for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. He also served as a senior advisor to a financial sector investment fund (Highlander Bank Holdings, LLC). Mr. Grubelich received a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Lehigh University’s College of Business and Economics.