Submitted by cfb on 12 February 2021


City First Bank names Sonja S. Wells EVP and Chief Lending Officer

Washington, DC’s only African American-Woman Chief Lender Focused on Lending to BIPOC Communities

Friday, February 12, 2021, Washington, DC – City First Bank is pleased to announce that Sonja Sanders Wells has been promoted from Senior Vice President, Interim Chief Lending Officer to Executive Vice President & Chief Lending Officer (CLO), leading the commercial banking group.

Sonja Wells is the only African American woman to hold a CLO position at a bank in Washington, DC. In fine tradition, Ms. Wells follows in the trailblazing footsteps of City First’s selection of its first CLO, Ms. Kim Saunders in 1998, alongside the founding President & CEO, Ms. Debbi Baptist Hurd -- rare Black women executives positioned in the C-suite echelon of the banking industry.

Under Ms. Wells’ leadership, she and her team have delivered significant growth in core deposits and commercial real estate lending. Her team has been focused on key community development opportunities in affordable multi-family housing; critical nonprofit development such as education and health facilities; as well as providing financing for small to medium size businesses, including emergency loans under the federal SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“Sonja has a keen sense of market intelligence, superior acumen in service of our customers, matched with a passion and commitment to providing equal access to capital. It is with great pride that we announce Ms. Wells as our new Chief Lending Officer.”
President and CEO, Brian E. Argrett
“I know and appreciate the impact that entrepreneurs, business owners and nonprofit leaders have in low wealth neighborhoods and so it is with great honor that I am able to support them in their visionary goals to develop healthier communities for all.”
Sonja Wells, EVP and CLO

City First is an impact-driven commercial Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) comprised of a nationally chartered commercial bank (City First Bank, which also manages a New Market Tax Credit Program); and several nonprofits (City First Enterprises, City First Homes, City First Foundation) related by common board members and management, operating as a unified organization with a focused vision, strategy, and management. system servicing low wealth communities. As a Certified B Corporation, City First is committed to a triple bottom line focused achieving economic, social, and environmental impact. City First is headquartered in Washington, DC, on the historic U Street corridor with 53 change agent employees and growing.


Sonja Wells Named DC's Only Black Woman EVP, CLO