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Monday, Jun 24, 2024

Beleaguered National City Mayor Resigns From Bank

National City Mayor Nick Inzunza, whose troubles with maintaining his rental properties have been well-publicized, resigned as director from a host of public and private organizations, including Seacoast Commerce Bank in Chula Vista.

Inzunza, 35, said the series of newspaper articles exposing problems with the properties he and his wife own did him a favor, since it “brought to light the amount of time I was spending on the people of National City and that I overlooked my personal responsibilities.”

A series of articles published in the San Diego Union-Tribune detailed problems at the properties, mostly in south San Diego, including rats, plumbing defects and evicting tenants who complained about their units.

“I overlooked my responsibilities,” Inzunza said. “Am I embarrassed? Yes. Do I think the conditions should be improved? Yes, and they are being improved.”

Inzunza also resigned from the San Diego Foundation’s Charitable Real Estate Board in November, and from the San Diego County Water Authority and Sweetwater Water Authority last month. He said he resigned from about six other organizations and commissions.

The negative exposure concerning his investments has permanently soured him on holding public office, he said.

“I don’t think I was made for politics,” he said. “I like to say things straight and that gets me into trouble.”

Nick Inzunza also said he has abandoned his pursuit of the 79th Assembly District seat now held by Juan Vargas, who cannot run for the office again because of term limits. Vargas is challenging Bob Filner for the 51st District seat in Congress for the third time.

In addition, Inzunza said he would not run for National City mayor once his term expires in December.

Doug Shearer, the president and chief executive officer of the $53 million Seacoast Commerce Bank, said Inzunza, on the board since its inception in 2003, was not asked to leave his director’s post.

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Also Stepping Aside:

Community Bancorp, parent of Escondido-based Community National Bank, also announced the retirement of a director.

Director Granger Haugh resigned from the 13-member bank board last week, complying with the company’s policy of mandatory retirement for directors reaching the age of 70.

Community Bancorp CEO Michael Perdue said the Escondido-based bank adopted the maximum age policy in 2004 after its legal counsel did an extensive review of all its bylaws and policies to ensure that these were in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Perdue said Haugh, first appointed to the board in 1987 and the bank’s chairman from 1997 to 2001, is also retiring from his own company, Clinque Corp., a medical supplier, and wants to have more free time for personal interests.

“Our legal counsel told us it would be better to have a mandatory retirement age,” he said. “We’re telling the world this is what the policy is, and we’re not making any exceptions. I think it’s a good rule.”

Community Bancorp won’t replace Haugh on the board, or Tom Page, another septuagenarian director who passed the mark two years ago. Perdue said the rule reads a person reaching 70 can stay on through the end of their term, which in Page’s case expires this year.

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Sale Is Final:

First Community Bancorp, the Rancho Santa Fe-based holding company for First National Bank in Downtown, completed its acquisition of Cedars Bank, which has $438 million in assets, on Jan. 4.

Cedars will now be merged into First Community’s Pacific Western National Bank subsidiary, resulting in that bank increasing to 35 branches and about $2.6 billion in assets. Together with the assets of First National Bank, total assets of First Community Bancorp as of the end of 2005 were about $3.8 billion.

However, First Community is still growing. Last month, it announced it signed a definitive agreement to buy another regional bank, Foothill Independent Bancorp, in the largest deal it has struck in the past year.

Foothill Independent, which is based in Glendora, has about $794 million in assets and 12 branches. First Community agreed to pay about $238 million in stock and cash for the bank in a deal expected to close in the second quarter.

Once the Foothill transaction is completed, First Community would hold about $4.6 billion in assets, 58 branches in Southern California, and one in Northern California.

That would rank First Community as the second largest bank in the county, behind California Bank & Trust, with more than $10 billion in assets as of June. California Bank & Trust is a subsidiary of Zions Bancorp based in Salt Lake City.

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New Loan Office:

Security Business Bank of San Diego said it opened a new loan production office in Irvine to complement its two branches in Downtown and Carmel Valley. The office is headed by Jonathan Sigal, and is focused on originating wholesale commercial real estate loans nationwide, the bank said.

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Small Change:

GMAC Commercial Mortgage Corp., with an office in San Diego, provided a $70 million fixed rate refinancing to San Diego-based National Enterprises Inc. for 26 properties in seven states, including California. Coronado First Bank, which opened in October, launched an online banking Web site last month. AIG Financial Advisors Inc., a broker-dealer based in Phoenix and a member of American International Group Inc., recently opened an office in San Diego.

Send any news about banks and financing to Mike Allen via e-mail at mallen@sdbj.com. He can also be reached at (858) 277-6359.


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