Sonja Sanders Wells

 Sonja Sanders Wells is the Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer for City First Bank and has over three decades of experience in commercial lending with a track record of achieving exceptional results. She oversees the bank’s $200 Million loan portfolio and is an expert in customizing commercial credit facilities specific to client needs and industry segments, inclusive of leverage and leverage source loans in NMTC transactions

Sonja is a member of the Executive Management team and is responsible for the strategic direction of the Commercial Banking Group. She is the bank’s brand ambassador and maintains relationships with industry influencers and key community and strategic partners to expand and enhance City First Bank’s reputation in the marketplace. 

City First is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that was founded in Washington, DC twenty-five years ago to serve low to moderate income communities in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania, in direct response to the systemic disinvestment in our most vulnerable communities.  To date, City First has deployed over $1.3 billion in mission critical capital to Affordable Housing Developers and Investors, Nonprofits, Charter Schools, Community Facilities and Small Businesses. City First works alongside a community of local leaders, a dedicated network of a CDFIs, B-Corps, and a Global Alliance of Banks whose values are aligned with sustainable frontline solutions to support the financial health, well-being and equitable prosperity of our communities. |

Prior to joining City First Bank; Sonja was a Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at M&T and a Business Banker for First Union Bank/Wachovia now known as Wells Fargo.

Prior to her Commercial Banking and Real Estate career, Sonja was a Shopping Center Leasing Executive for the Taubman Company in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a Marketing Executive for the Rouse Company in Columbia, Maryland and a Retail Buyer and Executive for several high-end retail specialty stores along the East Coast. 

Sonja is a member of DC Chamber of Commerce, Jubilee Baltimore, Inc., the African American Real Estate Professionals, the Southeast Community Development Corporation and Wildflower Public Charter School’s Board of Directors, and the Maryland Casino Business Investment Fund’s (MCBIF) Loan Committee. Sonja is active in several professional and community organizations throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Sonja is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Baltimore City Community College Foundation and was formerly the Vice President of the Butcher’s Hill Neighborhood Association’s Executive Board, member of the loan committee for Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development's Neighborhood Business Works program, the United Way of Central Maryland’s Marketing Committee, Howard County Hospital’s Marketing Committee, the Columbia Association’s Marketing Committee and numerous other philanthropic and community organizations.

Sonja is a graduate of Boise State University with extensive certifications, training and experience in Commercial Banking and Real Estate, Marketing, Retail Management and Buying. 

Sonja and her husband of 25 years reside in the District of Columbia. Her husband, Ernest N. Wells, Jr. is Department Head and Systems Engineer/ Electronic Engineer for the U. S. Department of the Navy in Washington, DC.

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Community Impact

Community development is at the very heart of what we do.



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