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Columbus First Bank prides itself on providing a level of personal service unmatched in the business banking community – a commitment made possible by the quality of our staff from the chief executives on down through our branch and support personnel.

The majority of our team has been with the bank since its inception in 2007 and continue to play the critical role in our ability to grow without sacrificing the attention we give to each and every customer.

Meet Our People

Business-minded People Driven to Get You Want You Need

Every member of the Columbus First team is dedicated to providing our clients the best level of service in the banking industry. All Columbus First employees live in the Central Ohio area and are active members of their communities.

Rhett Huddle, CEO and Chairman of the Board

Before founding Columbus First, Rhett was an executive officer with Prospect Bank from 2001 to 2004, and was elected a director in 2003. In 1990, he was one of four principal officers to organize Commerce National Bank, a national bank headquartered in Columbus, where he was an executive officer and later a director until 2000.

He began his successful career practicing law in Columbus with Baker & Hostetler (as well as a predecessor firm) representing clients in the areas of corporate law, real estate and banking. He and his wife reside in Dublin, Ohio.

John Smiley, President and Chief Lending Officer

John Smiley is one of the co-founders of Columbus First Bank. He has over 20 years of experience in the banking industry, specializing in commercial real estate and medical/dental lending. His career began over 20 years ago as a loan officer with State Savings Bank, where he worked for 11 years. He went on to work at Commerce National Bank as a loan officer and was one of the original employees of Prospect Bank, which was later sold to Sky Bank.

John is a graduate of Bishop Watterson High School and The Ohio State University, and currently resides in Dublin.

Commercial Lending
Erica Godfrey, Vice President

Erica’s experience in lending began as a closing coordinator at the Service Title Agency where she helped clients manage their financing or refinancing processes, working with their mortgage lenders and real estate agents. She joined Columbus First Bank in March 2009 and manages a large commercial loan portfolio. In her role at the bank, Erica serves as a mortgage consultant advising clients on lending opportunities, negotiating contracts and managing customers’ portfolios.

Originally from Northeast Ohio, she graduated from The Ohio State University and currently resides in the Columbus area.

Frank Goebel, Senior Vice President

Frank joined Columbus First as senior vice president in July 2009. He began his long lending career some fifty years ago in Belpre, Ohio. At Columbus First, Frank continues to work with business, professional, and investor clients, arranging operating lines, term loans, and commercial real estate loans – both construction and permanent.

Frank is a graduate of a number of national banking schools, and a 1991 graduate of Marietta College. He has served with a number of state and national banking trade associations, including as director and national membership chairman for the Bank Marketing Association.

Dean Lucas, Senior Vice President

Dean joined Columbus First in July 2013 with over 30 years of banking experience in commercial lending. He earned his degree in Business Administration in Accounting from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Oklahoma University ABA Graduate School of Commercial Lending. He was awarded the CCDC “Banker of the Year” award in 1995.

Dean has served on various boards and takes pride in his active involvement in the communities he serves. He currently resides in Dublin, Ohio, with his wife Robin and their sons Kyle and Connor.

Tim Norris, Senior Vice President

Tim joined Columbus First in March 2008, where he is primarily responsible for the lending and depository needs of the bank’s business clients, as well as a shareholder. He was previously at UPS Capital, specializing in business acquisition finance.

He graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1987 with a B.A. in communications and psychology, and was a member of the Ohio Army National Guard. Tim currently serves as loan committee member for Community Capital Development Corp., a rotary member, and committee member for U.S. Sportsman's Alliance. He and his wife Jen have two children.

Mike Sewalk, Senior Vice President

Mike Sewalk joined Columbus First Bank as a Senior Vice President in February 2015 bringing with him 16 years of banking experience, which began in 1998 with MBNA America where he managed in every aspect of their credit card lending business.

Most recently, he served as Regional Sales Manager for Bank of America's Practice Solutions division, where he was responsible for business development, sales, and lending for private practice doctors in the Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky region. A native of Cleveland Ohio, Mike is a graduate of Kent State University.

Justin Nolan, Assistant Vice President

After joining Columbus First Bank in 2009 as a member of the Credit Department, Justin transitioned to the Lending team as a commercial loan officer and portfolio manager in October 2012. In his new role, he now utilizes his skills in credit analysis and cash flow to assist clients with all of their lending and deposit needs.

Originally from Kettering, Justin graduated from The Ohio State University, and has been a resident of the Columbus area ever since. He and his family currently live in Westerville.

Residential Lending
Antonio Benton, Senior Vice President

Antonio has been actively engaged in residential mortgage lending for over 12 years. Before joining Columbus First Bank in 2013, he served as President/CEO of Mid-American Mortgage Solutions in Worthington, Ohio.

Antonio is very active in the Central Ohio community and has served on the board of directors for Communities In Schools and Leadership Worthington. He earned his degree in marketing from Miami University, and resides in Dublin with his wife and their three children.

Katie O’Brien, Residential Lending Specialist

Katie joined Columbus First Bank in 2009 as a Credit Administration Intern, and since that time she has acquired valuable experience working in various roles at the bank. Most recently, she worked as a Commercial Credit Analyst prior to moving into her current position as a Residential Lending Specialist.

She graduated from the University of Dayton in 2010 with a double major in Finance and Marketing. A native of Columbus, Katie is a graduate of Bishop Watterson High School. She currently resides in Powell with her husband, Jeff.