First Bankers is a nationally recognized provider of specialized fiduciary services. First Bankers is headquartered in Quincy, Illinois with offices throughout the United States. First Bankers provided its first ESOP trust services 1989 and today represents more than 75,000 plan participants in over 200 employee-owned companies across the nation.
First Bankers helps ensure that the plan is operating in accordance with plan provisions and applicable federal regulations.
To meet our clients’ needs, we serve in three different capacities, including:
First Bankers is dedicated to providing the highest quality fiduciary services in the country. Our dedicated and nationally regarded team of professionals focuses on the specialized and unique fiduciary and administrative needs of our ESOP clients. With deep competencies in the legal, regulatory, and financial requirements governing ESOPs, we are uniquely positioned to provide customized fiduciary and administrative solutions for ESOP plan sponsors, participants, and beneficiaries.
Danielle Montesano, J.D. – Executive Vice President
Danielle began her career practicing employee benefit law and developed an expertise in ERISA fiduciary matters associated with structuring, implementing, and governing Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). She has extensive knowledge gained from more than 20 years working with employee-owned companies, and concentrated experience with matters of corporate governance, valuation, and Department of Labor audit and regulatory issues. Danielle is a member of the Advisory Board of Employee Owned S‐Corporations of America (ESCA), a member of the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), chairperson at the Legislative and Regulatory Committee of The ESOP Association, and serves as an Executive Member of the Illinois Chapter of The ESOP Association. She is a frequent speaker and is nationally recognized for her expertise. Danielle has been with First Bankers since 2010.
Howard Kaplan – Senior Vice President
Howard has more than 25 years in the trust banking industry, where he developed a concentrated expertise in institutional trustee services for employee stock ownership and qualified retirement plans. Prior to joining First Bankers, he served in a similar capacity at Reliance Trust Company for 14 years. He is a member of The ESOP Association Legislative and Regulatory Committee and served on the Interdisciplinary Committee for Fiduciary Issues. He is also a member of Employee Owned S‐Corporation of America (ESCA), the National Center for Employee Ownership, and frequently speaks on trustee and fiduciary topics.
Marilyn Marchetti,J.D. – Senior Vice President
Marilyn gained national prominence as an employee benefits attorney in Chicago where she practiced for 20 years in employee benefits law, tax, and ERISA, focusing almost exclusively on ESOPs. Marilyn transitioned to serving as an institutional trustee and helped established “Best Practices” in the ESOP fiduciary arena. She is a past member of the Board of Directors and Board of Governors of The ESOP Association and founded the Illinois Chapter of that organization. She is a frequent speaker and author on subjects relating to fiduciary duties and ESOPs. She is presently a member of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee and Interdisciplinary Committee of The ESOP Association. Marilyn has been with First Bankers since 2011.
Merri Ash – Senior Vice President
Merri has over 40 years experience in Employee Benefits services. Her past experience includes work as a Senior Trust Officer with SunTrust Bank, Employee Benefits Consultant with Wyatt Company, Benefits Manager with Jonathon Corporation, an ESOP company, and Team Leader and Senior Benefits Consultant with the National Automobile Dealers Association. She is a past chairperson for the Administrative Advisory Committee of The ESOP Association, current Board of Governors member for The ESOP Association, and current Board of Trustees member for The Employee Ownership Foundation. Merri has been with First Bankers since 2002.