Pinnacle Financial Partners Grows in the National Capital Region with Addition of Seven Veteran Banking Officials

Pinnacle Financial Partners Grows in the National Capital Region with Addition of Seven Veteran Banking Officials

Firm expands team with financial advisors and others

May 23, 2022

Pinnacle Financial Partners has added even more talented and highly experienced people in the National Capital Region with the addition of financial advisors Scott Loftis, Abdi Russi, Justin Anderson and Tyler Howard; credit advisors Otto Varela and Hoernisa Cohen; and financial advisor assistant Michelle Pablo

“We continue to attract the best and most knowledgeable professionals in the market on every front,” said Ken Ayers, Pinnacle’s area manager for the National Capital Region. “These associates add decades of combined experience to our team that will help us deliver on our promise of distinctive service and effective advice. Bringing them on board furthers that commitment and represents the latest in a series of significant, long-term investments in our people, our culture and the National Capital Region.”

“Otto and Hoernisa are an incredible complement to our growing team of credit advisors given their experience and market knowledge within the National Capital and surrounding markets,” said Melissa Smith, senior credit officer for Pinnacle’s National Capital Region. “They possess a pro-business and balanced approach that remains consistent with Pinnacle’s culture of focusing on people and service.”

Loftis has more than 20 years of experience and joins Pinnacle from Wells Fargo, where he served in many roles including senior relationship manager, regional market director, business relationship manager, store manager, financial sales leader and senior financial specialist. He also worked as a business relationship manager at Capital One. Loftis received a bachelor’s in business administration from West Virginia University.

Russi has more than 20 years of experience and joins Pinnacle from Fulton Bank, where he served as commercial relationship manager. Previously, he worked as a business banker, small business specialist and market leader at BB&T, commercial branch manager at M&T Bank and business relationship manager at HSBC Bank. He’s earned several certifications through various financial training programs and is fluent in Spanish.

Anderson has more than 18 years banking experience and joins Pinnacle from PNC Bank where he was a commercial relationship manager. In prior roles, he worked with a wide array of clients from start-ups to companies with revenues exceeding $50 million dollars. Anderson started his career in banking and finance after graduating from Frostburg State University where he earned a bachelor’s in business administration. He is currently a member of Rotary International, as well as the Frederick, Washington and Montgomery County chambers of commerce.

Howard joins Pinnacle with more than five years of financial services experience, most recently at Sandy Spring Bank, where he served as vice president for the government contractor banking group and corporate and institutional banking. Prior roles include middle market commercial and industrial lender at Truist and several roles at BB&T including regional corporate banking analyst and corporate leadership development program associate. Howard served in the United States Marine Corps for eleven years. He received a bachelor’s in political science from Salisbury University and an MBA from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.

Varela brings 23 years of experience to his role as credit advisor at Pinnacle. He joins the firm from Truist, where he served as a CRE commercial credit underwriter and portfolio manager. Varela also served at BB&T as a commercial credit underwriter and portfolio manager (including C&I), business service officer, relationship manager and market leader. Varela attended Radford University and is fluent in Spanish.

Cohen has more than 20 years of experience and joins Pinnacle from Truist Bank, where she served as aerospace, defense and government contractor portfolio manager. Previously, she worked as a senior portfolio manager and commercial credit analyst at EagleBank, commercial credit officer at CitiBank and as a credit analyst and personal banker at Wells Fargo. During her time with Wells Fargo, Cohen completed a three-year competitive training program with the middle market. Cohen, who is multilingual, is also the founder of a business communications and language training firm. She earned her bachelor’s in Chinese language from the Kashgar Institute of Education in Xinjiang, China, and her MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

Pablo has 15 years of experience and joins the firm having previously served as the next steps coordinator and facilitator at Centreville Baptist Church in Centreville, VA. She also served as a senior sales support specialist and district administrator at Capital One Bank. Pablo earned a bachelor’s in business management from the University of Maryland.

Pinnacle Financial Partners provides a full range of banking, investment, trust, mortgage and insurance products and services designed for businesses and their owners and individuals interested in a comprehensive relationship with their financial institution. The firm is the No. 1 bank in the Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin MSA, according to 2021 deposit data from the FDIC, is listed by Forbes among the top 25 banks in the nation and earned a spot on the 2022 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S., its sixth consecutive appearance. American Banker recognized Pinnacle as one of America’s Best Banks to Work For nine years in a row and No. 1 among banks with more than $11 billion in assets in 2021.

Pinnacle entered the National Capital Region in November 2021 by recruiting six local financial services professionals to open an office in Northern Virginia.

The firm began operations in a single location in downtown Nashville, TN, in October 2000 and has since grown to approximately $39.4 billion in assets as of March 31, 2022. As the second-largest bank holding company headquartered in Tennessee, Pinnacle operates in 15 primarily urban markets across the Southeast.

Additional information concerning Pinnacle, which is included in the Nasdaq Financial-100 Index, can be accessed at