Veteran local banker Frank Mercardante said Jan. 10 that he’s taking over as CEO at San Diego Private Bank and forming a holding company that will begin raising additional capital shortly.

Former CEO Selwyn Isakow retains the chairman role and remains the bank’s majority owner for now. The $120 million asset lender based in the University Towne Center area is “well-capitalized” as defined by bank regulators, and the bank wasn’t required to boost its capital ratios, nor make the CEO change, Mercardante said.

It’s doing so to take advantage of possible opportunities, including bank acquisitions, he said.

Founded in 2006, San Diego Private Bank reported a net profit of $87,000 for the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of $1.76 million for the like period of 2010. It has a single office in UTC with a loan production office in Rancho Santa Fe.

Mercardante, 63, who was named to the bank’s board in September, had been working as a consultant after he arranged the sales of Southwest Community Bancorp, Placer Sierra Bank, Discovery Bank, and several failed savings and loans, while he worked at Resolution Trust Corp.

SDPB submitted a plan for a holding company called Private Bancorp of America Ltd. to banking regulators in December, and should receive approvals by the first quarter, Mercardante said.

For some of the new money, the bank will likely tap another recently named bank director, Ernest Rady, chairman of American Assets Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust based locally.

— Mike Allen