USAmeriBank has announced plans to open a branch location Feb. 3 at 710 E Tarpon Ave. in Tarpon Springs, the bank's 12th location in the Tampa Bay area and its sixth in Pinellas County.
The new branch will be housed in an 8,630-square-foot building purchased from Florida Capital Bank and originally built in 1985 for First National Bank of Tarpon Springs.
"I truly believe this will be the go-to bank in Tarpon Springs," said branch manager Anna Billiris, who has been a banker in the community for more than eight years. "Even as this building has switched bank affiliations in the past, a large percentage of the customers have kept their business here, thanks to the retention of an exceptional staff. We expect USAmeriBank to continue this trend based on our commitment to exceptional customer service."
Billiris' Tarpon Springs roots extend back to her grandfather, John Samarkos, who was one of the original sponge divers in the area. She continues her family's legacy of community involvement through her participation in a number of organizations, including the Rotary Club of Tarpon Springs, the Leepa-Ratner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
The addition of Billiris, along with three other longtime North Pinellas bankers, is an example of how USAmeriBank says it believes in "building banks around people."
The veteran staff is comprised of Joan Ullberg, customer service representative; Margaret June, head teller; and Elaine Silipigni, teller. All come to USAmeriBank from Florida Capital Bank and have more than 30 years of banking experience in Tarpon Springs.
"USAmeriBank is thrilled to expand into a city full of history and rich with thriving businesses," said Joseph V. Chillura, CEO of USAmeriBank. "Anna and her staff have been an integral and active part of the Tarpon Springs community, and we are so happy to see that continue."
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The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has named the Pinellas Education Foundation as a recipient of the 2013 Neighborhood Builders award.
The program is a strategic investment that couples leadership training with a $200,000 unrestricted grant for high-performing nonprofits that have made a significant impact addressing needs related to community development, or workforce development and education.
Established in 1986, the Pinellas Education Foundation is a coalition of business and community leaders working together to improve the quality of public education. Well-known Pinellas Education Foundation programs include Enterprise Village, Finance Park, Take Stock in Children scholarships, Youth Connect and teacher classroom grants.
"We recognize the important role Pinellas Education Foundation plays in supporting the education system to give all students the opportunity to be successful and pursue their career and education goals," said Bill Goede, Tampa Bay market president for Bank of America. "The leadership training and funding will not only deepen its impact today but sustain its mission and services over time."
Pinellas Education Foundation will use funding from the Neighborhood Builders award to build Future Plans, a preventative approach program that will better prepare students for post-secondary education. The pilot program is a self-administered career guidance program aimed at helping high school students and young adults discover their aptitudes and interests.
"It's because of partners like Bank of America that we are able to accomplish our mission to improve and enhance educational opportunities in Pinellas County Schools," said Jim Myers, chairman of the Pinellas Education Foundation. "We're grateful that Bank of America has an incredible commitment to education and the vision to see the critical importance of helping the next generation of job creators and workers find successful pathways to jobs in demand."
The Neighborhood Builders award follows an earlier grant from Bank of America in the amount of $30,000 to help develop and enhance Academies of Pinellas, a five-year plan designed to bring career education and career academy experiences to at least half of Pinellas County high school students by 2017.
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