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Saturday, Jun 10, 2023


WADE DANIELS Staff Reporter Carl Schatz swears he never intended for Encino State Bank to have more than the one flagship branch it opened last October. Encino State was the fourth San Fernando Valley bank that Schatz founded (the others were sold to larger banks), and he figured this one would keep just one location and provide service to a focused area. Now the no-expansion plan has been scrubbed, with Encino State Bank set to open a Santa Monica branch in mid-October. It aims to fill what’s perceived as a void in the personal banking market as a result of Santa Monica Bank being acquired early this year. “With the Santa Monica Bank merger we feel that a window of opportunity has opened up,” said Schatz, Encino State Bank’s chairman and chief executive. “We can’t replace the nostalgia for Santa Monica Bank that some people have, but we think we can offer the personal service they were known for.” Santa Monica Bank was acquired in January by Newport Beach-based Western Bancorp. Schatz said the idea for a new branch came from former executives of Western Bank and Santa Monica Bank, whose positions were eliminated in the merger. Richard Lawrence, who was executive vice president and regional manager at a Western Bank branch in Santa Monica until the acquisition, was a longtime friend of Schatz and approached him early this year with the idea of expanding over the hill. Schatz said the proposal for the new branch, and the chance to have some trusted friends in the business run it, led him to support the idea. The original concept for Encino State Bank was that it would be a “unit bank,” a one-location entity, as was the previous bank Schatz founded in 1986, the Bank of Encino. “I figured that the way the business is run nowadays, it might be a good idea if we were spread around some,” Schatz said. The new branch will be in the vicinity of Wilshire and Lincoln boulevards, Schatz said, and like the original branch will focus on serving everyday depositors and businesses with annual sales of less than $20 million. Will having the word “Encino” in the bank’s name be a turn-off to Westside customers? Not really, said Michael Chesser, a certified public accountant at Satriano & Hilton Inc. in Brentwood, which will be moving its accounts to the new branch. “Generally, entrepreneurs and business people are pretty practical and will welcome whatever offers them solutions, regardless of name,” he said.

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