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Private Rating Firm Awards San Diego Trust Bank Highest Designation

The most recent Findley Reports has designated San Diego Trust Bank as a “Premier Performing Bank,” the highest designation a bank under 5 years old can receive.

The Anaheim-based private bank-rating service produces a list of the top performing banks each year, rating them as “super premier,” “premier” and “commendable.” The ratings are based on growth, net operating income, asset quality and return on equity.

Along with San Diego Trust, 1st Pacific Bank of California, Bank of Escondido and Torrey Pines Bank appeared as premier performing banks. Torrey Pines, an affiliate of Western Alliance Bancorp, is the only other bank under 5 years old to be designated as premier.

San Diego Trust President Mike Perry said the designation not only lifts morale, but boosts the bank’s appeal among investors.

“It means a lot when shareholders, investment analysts and market makers read (the report),” said Perry. “You have an independent third party who is making an assessment on the bank’s safety, strength and relative performance, amongst your peers.

“When you’re ranked among the top by Findley, that carries a bit of weight with the investment community at large.”

To gain premier performing status, the banks had to have growth of greater than 5 percent in assets, loans or deposits; a 1.3 percent increase in net income as a percentage of total assets; and losses of less than 0.6 percent in net loans.

For banks less than 5 years old, the standards are more rigid: 15 percent or greater growth in assets, loans or deposits; 1 percent increase in net income as a percentage of total assets; and losses of less than 0.1 percent in net loans.

Four local banks made the grade in the super premier performing category: California Bank & Trust, Home Bank of California, Regents Bank and San Diego National Bank.

Also, four locals received a “commendable” rating: Borrego Springs Bank, Discovery Bank, Security Business Bank of San Diego and Neighborhood National Bank.

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A Credit Union First:

North Island Credit Union announced April 9 that it is the first credit union in the county to become a member of the Small Business Administration’s preferred lender program.

Jeff Stone, executive vice president of business services at NICU, said the institution has been involved in SBA 504 lending , used to purchase real estate , since 2002, but only recently jumped into preferred lender status, which allows borrowers to obtain additional services to get their businesses off the ground.

Stone said NICU didn’t become a preferred lender sooner because of a series of infrastructure changes to make sure the SBA systems work with the credit union’s systems.

“It’s just making sure we’ve crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s,” he said.

North Island, a community chartered credit union, was previously federally chartered and has strong ties to the military community. Stone said that these ties play a big factor in NICU’s preferred lender target market.

“The military is still our roots,” said Stone. “We’re looking to get more involved in 7(a) lending, targeting disabled veterans and retiring military service personnel.”

Along with standard SBA loan services, NICU provides community express loans, only available to women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses in low- to moderate-income areas.

Stone said he once served onboard a Navy ship and saw a man working in an electrical engine shop when he remembered a friend on shore in the same line of business. Stone said that the seaman had the job skills to start a business, but lacked some of the requisite business savvy.

“How does he market the business? How does he do the accounting? His human relations skills also might need a bit more elaboration, so to speak,” said Stone.

To help polish those skills, NICU partnered with the Certified Development Corp. to provide technical assistance to community express loan recipients. In return, NICU receives a higher guarantee on the SBA loan from the CDC.

“(The serviceman) needs technical assistance and the community express program can help with that,” he said.


Send any finance news to Andy Killion via e-mail at

akillion@sdbj.com

. He can be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3106.

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