First Bank of Beverly Hills Plans Expansion By SHELLY GARCIA Senior Reporter The holding company for First Bank of Beverly Hills has divested its non-banking subsidiary, leaving the company free to focus on building the bank, officials said. Wilshire Financial Services Group Inc., parent company of the Calabasas-based bank, has sold its Wilshire Credit Corp. subsidiary to Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc. for about $48.8 million. As a result of the sale, Wilshire becomes the holding company for First Bank of Beverly Hills, and Joseph W. Kiley III, president and CEO of FBBH becomes CEO of Wilshire Financial Services. Subject to shareholder approval the company plans to change its name to Beverly Hills Bancorp. The bank, which has to date had only one branch in Beverly Hills, will open a Calabasas location sometime later this year. Kiley said that the company decided to divest its loan servicing subsidiary because the two disparate businesses made telling the company’s story difficult. Before potential investors had to evaluate the combined businesses, and there was no peer group against which the company could be measured. “They said let’s just become a simple bank company,” Kiley said. “I think potential investors were very confused as to what business we were in. This makes us look and walk and talk like a duck.” Now, with the divestiture, FBBH can be compared with other commercial banks of similar size, a measure Kiley believes will hold the bank in good stead. Kiley replaces Stephen P. Glennon, who resigned as CEO of WFSG. He also retains his responsibilities as CFO for the holding company. For the quarter ended March 31, FBBH recorded net interest income increased to $6.5 million, up about $1.7 million from the same period in 2003. Wilshire Financial Group assets totaled $1.2 billion for the same period.