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Castilla recognized among top women bankers for second time

For the chief executive of a bank with just $253 million of assets, Jill Castilla has an outsized influence on the banking industry.

She's a highly visible and vocal advocate for community banks, serving on the boards of the Oklahoma Bankers Association and the Community Bankers of Oklahoma and holding leadership roles at the Independent Community Bankers of America and the American Bankers Association.

She's a technology innovator, working with local businesses to create affordable video ATMs for her branches and using Twitter to engage customers on a more personal level. (Castilla has nearly 7,000 followers.)

She's also a sought-after speaker for industry conferences and is frequently quoted in the press because of her knowledge of public-policy issues.

Castilla's credibility stems largely from her prowess as a community banker. Citizens Bank of Edmond was reeling when she joined in 2009 — it lost close to $8 million that year, mostly on soured real estate loans — but she engineered its recovery and turned it into a top performer.

Grassroots marketing is part of her formula for success, from the "Heard on Hurd" festival she initiated to help bring more people to downtown Edmond, Okla., to YouTube videos of bank employees spoofing popular songs. A "Cash Mobs" program she created — in which employees are given cash to spend at a local business en masse — has generated goodwill in the community and a lot of positive press. All of these efforts helped position Citizens as accessible and earn Castilla an award from the Oklahoma City chapter of the American Marketing Association.

When Castilla is not out promoting the bank or fighting for her industry, she's likely volunteering in some capacity. She's on the board of trustees for two foundations and serves as a director for Peppers Ranch, a home for children in the foster care system.

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