Climate First Bank Enhances Team with Green Banking Veterans

Local industry leaders join lending and business development team ahead of upcoming Central Florida branch opening

Orlando, Fla.– Climate First Bank, a values-based community bank with a mission to reverse the climate crisis, today announces the additions of notable Central Florida banking executives Lex Ford and Jeff Cowherd who are applying with appropriate agencies to become President and Executive Vice President/Senior Lender, respectively. Both Ford and Cowherd held senior positions at CEO Ken LaRoe’s previous sustainable bank, First GREEN Bank, where they gained expertise in profitable, socially responsible banking.

In his new role, Ford will helm bank operations and, most importantly, build Climate First Bank’s book of business. Ford has an excellent understanding of the Orlando market, having spent his entire banking career in Central Florida, and will look to expand the bank’s presence in the market while also growing and expanding connections statewide. Prior to Climate First Bank, Ford was Senior Vice President and Commercial Banker III at Seacoast Bank and Senior Vice President and Wingman to the Chairman at First GREEN Bank. For his leadership within the local community, Ford was recognized by the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards in 2017. 

“I’m excited to join the talented team at Climate First Bank and work closely with Ken again,” said Ford, a fifth generation DeLand native. “Ken is, by far, the hardest working CEO in the business. Together, I know we can drive business while also spreading our planet-saving mission.”

With nearly 40 years of experience within the Central Florida banking industry, Cowherd will bring to bear his immense wealth of experience to his role. Working in tandem with Ford, Cowherd will develop and cultivate credit and banking relationships with local businesses and consumers. Beginning his professional career as an accountant, Cowherd made the jump to banking with his role as Senior Vice President at United American Bank. Since then, Cowherd has held the title of Senior Vice President at First Southern Bank, First GREEN Bank, and Seacoast Bank, where he spearheaded commercial and business development in the Central Florida market.

“Ken is an excellent banker and leader. I jumped at the chance to work with him again and continue the mission we started together at First GREEN Bank,” Cowherd said. “Climate First Bank’s growth throughout Central Florida and beyond will bring wealth and prosperity to both communities and the planet.”

“As Climate First Bank prepares to expand to the Orlando market in January 2022, I knew it was essential to hire outstanding local professionals such as Lex and Jeff,” said LaRoe. “Not only do they know how a values-based bank works thanks to our days together at First GREEN Bank, but their extensive experience and connections will give Climate First Bank a competitive edge as we grow into the largest and most profitable mission-driven bank in the state.”

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