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As Losses Mount, Temecula Valley Bancorp Downsizes

After it gave the boot to its chairman, CEO and president, Steve Wacknitz, last month, Temecula Valley Bancorp replaced him with three executives, but Wacknitz still has a seat on the board.

In a Dec. 23 announcement naming Neil Cleveland chairman, the bank made no mention of whether Wacknitz would retain his seat, yet new CEO Frank Basirico says he still has a seat on the boards of the bank and the holding company.

Wacknitz is the company’s largest shareholder, with 8.4 percent of the stock.

Basirico, appointed to the job Dec. 17, says the bank is not operating under any regulatory order, but is in the midst of developing a new strategic plan in light of losses sustained in 2008. Through the nine months ended Sept. 30, the bank had a net loss of $4.2 million compared with net profits of $12 million for the first nine months of 2007.

Basirico says more internal changes (meaning cuts) are in store and should be revealed this week. Already this quarter, the 11-office bank laid off eight workers in its SBA division, and closed eight loan production offices outside California. TVB still has 16 production offices and 300 employees.

TVB is dealing with a surge of problem assets that have tripled in the past year to $96 million, compared with September 2007, when it held $32 million in problem assets. That was 6.35 percent of total assets, compared with 2.47 percent in the prior year’s third quarter.


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SDNB’s Parent Loses Big:
FBOP, the holding company to eight banks, including San Diego National Bank, reported a $937 million write-down on the value of securities it holds, according to its most recent third-quarter results. The call report it files with regulators doesn’t stipulate the type of securities that are affected, but one report said the majority of the holdings is stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage buyers seized by the federal government last year, which rendered their stocks nearly useless.

Illinois-based FBOP, which stands for First Bank of Oak Park, reported a net loss of $463.4 million through the first nine months of 2008, compared with making a net profit of $132 million for the like period of 2007.

The parent firm has four big banks with assets above $1 billion: California National Bank, with $5.6 billion; Park National Bank, $3.8 billion; SDNB, $3 billion; and Pacific National Bank, $1.3 billion.

Calls to SDNB to determine whether the parent’s travails would affect its lending were not returned by press time.


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NYSE Suspends Imperial Capital Stock:
Imperial Capital Bancorp said in a securities filing that the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of its common stock Dec. 29 because the market capitalization failed to break NYSE’s threshold of $25 million.

The stock moved from Nasdaq to the Big Board to much fanfare about two years ago, but, like practically every company in financial services, took major hits in 2008. In February, shares reached a 52-week high of nearly $28, but have since dwindled down to below $3. As of Dec. 30, shares were going for $2.44, giving it a market cap of $12.2 million.

In positive news, Fitch Ratings raised the bank’s ratings as a primary and special servicer of commercial loans.


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Small Change:
Union Bank of California changed its name to Union Bank N.A., the latter words referring to national association Security Business Bank of San Diego acquired several new clients, including Amerillum, Shea Stokes Roberts & Wagner, and Spangler Realty Torrey Pines Bank was honored for the fourth consecutive year as a top SBA lender by CDC Small Business Finance.


Send any finance news to Mike Allen via e-mail at mallen@sdbj.com. He can be reached at 858-277-6359.

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