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Friday, May 24, 2024
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Local Group Applies to FDIC to Create New Bank

A group of San Diegans this month filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seeking approval to form a new community bank.

The financial institution, called Endeavor Bank, would serve small and medium-sized businesses, business owners and business professionals in San Diego County, according to the documents filed Aug. 11 with the FDIC.

A number of prominent San Diegans are listed on the application as directors and organizers of the bank, including Gina Champion-Cain, a restaurateur and commercial real estate developer; Matt H. Rattner, president and co-founder of Karl Strauss Brewing Co.; Julie P. Dubick, formerly chief of staff to then-Mayor Jerry Sanders and a partner with H.G. Consulting Group; and Joyce Glazer, a philanthropist.

Also listed are Lorne R. Polger, co-founder of San Diego-based private equity firm Pathfinder Partners LLC; Chad R. Ruyle, a principal at San Diego law firm Ruyle & Ruyle; James W. “Jim” Ledwith, a certified public accountant and lecturer at San Diego State University’s Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy; and Christopher J. Woolley, a founder of Square 1 Bank, a commercial bank established in 2005 in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina that specialized in lending to venture-backed technology and life sciences.

Woolley was a member of the management team that took Square 1 Bank public in 2014; the tech lender was acquired the following year by PacWest Bancorp, the parent company of Pacific West Bank.

Robert J. “Bob” Lampert was listed as the organization’s CFO. No CEO was listed.

The directors didn’t respond to requests for comment or were unable to be reached as of press time.

Endeavor, if granted a charter by regulators, would have initial capital of $25 million from the issuance of 2.5 million shares at $10 per share, according to the application.

The address listed is a 2,387-square-foot suite in the 1 Columbia Place building on West A Street in downtown San Diego. The bank would also have an administrative and loan production office in Carlsbad, the application said.

The comment period for Endeavor Bank’s de novo application closes Sept. 11.

The move comes less than half a year after the FDIC announced the promotion of new, or de novo, community banks among its top three priorities.

The last local bank started in San Diego County was Vibra Bank in 2008; it has since been consolidated.

“There is ample room for new community banks with sound funding and well-conceived business plans to serve their local markets,” FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said April 6 in remarks at the FDIC Community Banking Conference in Arlington, Virginia. “It is essential that they have a clear path forward.”

To that end, he announced the FDIC had decided to reduce the period of “heightened supervisory monitoring” for new, or de novo, institutions from seven years — established during the financial crisis in response to the “disproportionate number of de novo institutions that were experiencing difficulties or failing” — to three years.

A report by Federal Reserve economists attributed at least 75 percent of the post-crisis decline in new bank charters to economic factors, including the long period of zero interest rates, Gruenberg noted during the April 6 speech.

Gruenberg also announced the FDIC was developing a handbook to guide any group interested in starting a community bank.

However, speaking for the American Bankers Association, Guy T. Williams in July told the United States House of Representatives’ Oversight and Reform Committee that regulations are to blame, not simply economic factors.

“The lack of de novo activity is concerning to our industry and sadly reflects the same forces that are driving consolidation — excessive and complex regulations that are not tailored to the risks of specific institutions,” he said. “This – not the local economic conditions – is often the tipping point that drives small banks to merge with banks typically many times larger. It is also a barrier to entry for new banks.”

Williams told the committee that only seven new banks have opened in the last five years, while in that same time period the rolls of community banks has shrunk by 1,500.

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