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Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023

Local Roundup: Some Silver Linings Among The Clouds

With $1.4 billion in assets, First Bank of Beverly Hills, which despite its name is actually headquartered and has its only branch in Calabasas, is the largest of the local banks. Bigger is not better in this case, though, as First Bank has also had one of the most dismal performances mostly due to real estate loans. The institution has seen its share price drop to $0.85 from a high of nearly $10 in January 2006. Their first quarter report shows $44.6 million in nonaccrual assets, all of which are categorized as real estate loans. All but $5 million of those non-performing loans are defined as construction or land development loans. Board member Robert H. Kanner, from Cleveland, Ohio resigned on June 24. He would not comment on the reason for his resignation and bank executives declined to be interviewed for this article. Our third largest bank, First Private Bank & Trust also had a very disappointing year, watching its stock price drop to $4.53 from $29.73 over the past 12 months. This institution is owned by Boston Private Bancorp but until recently has operated its five local branches fairly autonomously. We say recently, as President Richard Taylor retired and Chief Credit Officer E. Wayne Lewis resigned and the bank is currently being managed by executives from Boston. Real estate again seems to be the culprit with the $50 million in non-accrual assets are virtually all attributed to construction and land development loans. On a more upbeat note, the younger California United Bank has had a good year, with a pristine balance sheet and positive numbers across the board. President and CEO David Rainer was named an Ernst & Young Enterpreneur of the Year in regional competition, taking top prize in the finance category, with another local banker James D. Hicken, president and CEO of Bank of Santa Clarita being one of the runners-up.

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