When Jeff Herbert joined New York–based Apple Bank in August 2018 as general counsel, the bank was at a transformational crossroads. While traversing myriad regulatory requirements was one important aspect, being an integral brick to building the bank’s sustainable future was another. To that end, Herbert took decisive actions to bring in legal expertise that could not only help address the current challenges but also foresee and navigate any potential challenges in the future.
Sumeet Chugani came on board in March 2019 to be the head of Apple Bank’s consumer legal division and deputy general counsel. Herbert rounded out his team with Head of Privacy Holly Amorosana, Head of Governance Marie Amerasinghe, Head of Commercial Lending Mark Perrin, Head of Regulatory Relations Greisana Muhaj, BSA officer and Head of Financial Crime Compliance Matthew Willard, and Chief Compliance Officer Connie Moyer. In a little more than a year, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, the legal team has made tireless efforts to ensure that Apple Bank stands ready to address ever-changing regulatory requirements and that bank management continues to recognize the legal team as not only dedicated and diligent but diverse as well.
“There is a distinct skill set for this team,” says Herbert, who is also the executive vice president. “Both real-world and work experience, hustle, and the ability to adapt all play a role in how the members of the Apple Bank legal department help drive the bank’s goals and build its future, while most importantly, helping the bank navigate and control the risks ahead.”
For Herbert, cultivating a diversity of thought and work experience in the team is also critical—many of the legal team’s hires may be making a new shift to the banking sector, which brings valuable perspectives and creative solutions that aren’t often at the table. “I look for the overall best talent, and it just so happens that my hiring philosophy has resulted in me having many recent hires that have come from diverse backgrounds,” he says.
Colleagues outside of Apple Bank recognize how this mindset has developed a great team. “An effective legal function is essential for banking organizations, and Jeff and Sumeet have built a dynamic team with diverse backgrounds and experiences to navigate Apple Bank’s business and regulatory environment,” says Camille Orme, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. “In analyzing new initiatives, they seek input from their team members, ensuring that a range of perspectives are brought to bear, benefiting the bank and its customers.”