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Friendly Hills Bank Rebrands for Regional Growth

FINANCE: Name Change to 'First Pacific' Highlights Busy Year

The gold in them thar hills isn’t going anywhere, but Friendly Hill Bank is changing its name.

On Nov. 14, Friendly Hills Bank – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Friendly Hills Bancorp (OTC Pink: FHLB) with branches in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and the Inland Empire – announced it was rebranding itself and officially changing its name to First Pacific Bank.

The name change is to better align the bank’s brand as it expands and increases its lending capacity. The name change, a new logo and new website will take effect later this year.

Nathan Rogge
President & CEO
Friendly Hills Bank

“As we continued to grow and expand our footprint, we knew we needed a name that better demonstrated who we are now and in the future,” said Nathan Rogge, president and CEO of Friendly Hills Bank. “The name First Pacific Bank reinforces our dedication to supporting the banking needs of Southern California’s business community and provides a strong identity for future growth and advancement.”

The rebranding of Friendly Hills Bank (FHB) will not include a change in ownership, management or operations – although some ways of contacting the bank will change. While phone numbers for branches will remain the same, contacting the bank’s website will change from friendlyhillsbank.com to firstpacbank.com. Emails will also change from @friendlyhillsbank.com to @firstpacbank.com.

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All bank clients will be issued new debit and/or credit cards in early 2023. Customers who place a request order to reorder checks will be issued new checks reflecting the new name, but there will be no need to replace checks right away as the bank will continue to accept Friendly Hills Bank checks indefinitely.

Growing Regionally

FHB was founded in 2006 by a group of local business leaders and was named for the neighborhood community in Whittier its first branch was located in. The bank was organized as a commercial bank under state laws and caters to individuals, professionals, and small-to-medium-sized businesses.

In 2008, FHB opened a second branch in Santa Fe Springs. FHB has since opened branches in Orange, Redlands and, most recently, in San Diego at 3579 Valley Centre Drive.

Rogge said First Pacific Bank plans to ultimately maintain one or two branches is each major Southern California metropolitan area and continue to serve businesses across the markets it serves, “leveraging our experienced bankers who have a wealth of in-market knowledge.”

“There are increasingly fewer community banks in Southern California that offer a commitment to supporting the banking needs of local businesses, making this an ideal time for us to grow,” he added.

“In recent years, San Diego County has become an underserved market. The remaining financial institutions don’t appear to understand the market and the unique needs of local businesses.”

Opening branches in other West Coast regions, however, is not currently in the immediate expansion plans for First Pacific.

“With the rise in digital services, we find that many clients no longer require a physical branch location and can effectively and efficiently conduct their banking using a wide range of treasury management services and solutions,” Rogge said, and pointed out a specialty lending group that Friendly Hills Bank launched earlier this year that provides funding for the purchase or refinance of medium and heavy-duty vehicles by accessing grants for the California Air Resources Board and California Capital Access Program.

“These statewide programs allow us to offer our services beyond our Southern California footprint and support the financing needs of vendors, dealers, independent owner operators, and small fleet owners based in California. With similar programs across the West Coast, the name First Pacific Bank was intentionally selected, as it does not tie us to a specific geographical region and provides unlimited opportunities for future growth and expansion.”

Busy Year

The rebranding of FHB comes at the end of a busy year for the bank. In December, Rogge took the helm as president and CEO, following the retirement of co-founder Jeff Ball.

In the first quarter of 2022, the bank bolstered its C-suite with a slate of new hires to its executive leadership team.

In April, the bank formed the specialty lending group for commercial trucks and vehicles.

And in June, the bank opened its San Diego branch.

“We feel stronger than ever thanks to the commitment of our clients, employees, and shareholders,” Rogge said. “We look forward to growing the company and continuing to evolve our product and service offering to better meet the needs of the region’s business community,”

Friendly Hills Bank (soon to be First Pacific Bank)

Founded: 2006
CEO: Nathan Rogge
Headquarters: Whittier
Business: Commercial bank
Stock: FHLB (OTC Pink)
Total Assets: $293 million (2021)
Employees: 56
Website: friendlyhillsbank.com (soon to be firstpacbank.com)
Notable: Friendly Hills Bank was founded by a group of local business leaders that wanted a relationship-focused bank for their community.

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