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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Executive Profile: Bernadette Bach

Bernadette Bach


Name: Bernadette Bach.

Company: City National Bank.

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Title: Senior vice president — business development.

No. of employees: 150 in San Diego; 3,300 bankwide.

Year founded: 1954 (San Diego Region: 1979).

Education: Bachelor’s in finance from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; graduate coursework at Loyola University — Chicago.

Birthplace: Evanston, Ill.

Current residence: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas.

Family: My husband, Rob; my son Scott; and our yellow Lab.

Bernadette Bach, senior vice president, is primarily responsible for establishing and building new business relationships for City National Bank in San Diego. Bernadette has been an integral part of the bank’s expansion in San Diego, growing its base of business, developing and implementing strategic initiatives and recruiting an experienced team of bankers.

City National has close to $22 billion in assets. Established in 1954, the Southern California-based company now serves businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals through 80 offices in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City and Nashville, Tenn.

City National has been serving San Diego for more than 30 years. Its regional office in La Jolla provides full-service business and private banking, investment and trust services. In addition, downtown San Diego is home to the company’s national 401(k) administration business. Since its acquisition of First Pacific in San Diego last year, City National Bank has expanded to eight offices throughout the county.


Essential business philosophy: Always do the right thing with a commitment to excellence. Build and maintain a stellar reputation with both clients and business professionals.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Listen to each client’s needs and take time to understand clients’ business priorities. We are their partner.

Guiding principles: City National Bank’s “PRIDE” principles embody them for me: People, Relationships (absolutely key), Integrity, Dedication and Excellence.

Yardsticks of success: The positive reputation I believe we have earned in San Diego. Our San Diego team is consistently one of the top ranked within CNB’s commercial group. A key driver has been the regular referrals we receive from our existing clients, which to me is the ultimate compliment and yardstick of success.

Goals yet to be achieved: Continue our region’s successful track record and expand the number of clients we serve in San Diego.


Best business decision: Hiring my toughest competitor, Steve Cusato, who is now the San Diego market leader for City National.

Worst business decision: Staying with a former employer too long when I knew our values weren’t aligned.

Toughest business decision: Giving up an established business market (at the bank’s request) to start a new market in San Diego in the late ’90s.

Words that describe you: Solutions-oriented.


What you like best about your job: The highly capable (and truly enjoyable) people I work with: my colleagues, clients and professionals in San Diego.

What you like least about your job: Not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I’d like to get done.

Pet peeves: People who say all banks are the same.

Most important lesson learned: Decisions are often emotion based so logic doesn’t always prevail.

Person most interested in meeting: Richard Branson, and I finally got to meet him last year. As expected, he is a remarkable individual.

Three greatest passions: Using my banking experience and resources to help our business clients become even more successful, creating a positive family life, and helping those in need.


Favorite quote: “If you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” — Ray Kroc.

Most influential book: The Bible.

Favorite status symbol: I’d have to say it’s living in San Diego.

Favorite restaurant: Pamplemousse Grille.

Favorite vacation spot: Fiji.

Favorite ways to spend time: Quality time with family, especially at the beach, skiing, scuba diving, reading and catching up with friends.


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