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Bank expands with purchase

California United, an Encino-based bank with local offices, acquires Premier Commericial Bank, adds

Posted: March 17, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: March 17, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Since its inception in 2005, Encino-based California United Bank, or CUB, has steadily grown, and is now expanding its services with an agreement made to purchase Premier Commercial Bank in Anaheim and the hiring of local banker and Santa Clarita resident Dennis Johnson, according to bank officials.

The agreement with Premier Commercial Bank occurred near the end of last year, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, said a spokesperson with CUB.

Premier had significant Small Business Administration loan expertise, said Johnson, vice president and relationship manager of commercial banking with CUB. Premier’s SBA expertise fit perfectly with CUB’s desire to enhance its lending services, investment services and for CUB to play an integral role in the Santa Clarita community, he said.

“We are not driven by a sense of duty or obligation, but driven to become a part of the communities we serve because it’s good business,” Johnson said.

In the seven years since opening its first office, CUB has opened branches in eight markets, including the Valencia branch; more than one branch opening per year of the bank’s existence.

In announcing its 2011 financial results this month, the bank reported pretax earnings of $2.61 million, and a net income of $1.47 million. Basic earnings per share for the year ending Dec. 31, were 22 cents per share; fourth quarter earnings per share were 23 cents.

Total deposits grew to $691 million, a $33 million or 5 percent increase from Dec. 31, 2010. Net interest income increased to $27.44 million, up $9.07 million or 49.3 percent over the 2010 year.

With the acquisition of Premier Commercial Bank, CUB now has bank locations in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties. Previously, CUB acquired California Oaks State Bank in January 2011.

“The economy and low interest rate environment continue to present challenges, but we were pleased that our net interest margin increased year over year, and cost of funds decreased in the same period,” said David Rainer, president and CEO of CUB.

Total loans by the bank grew to $489 million, a $68 million, or 16.1 percent, increase from Dec. 31, 2010.

“We have proven our ability to build a diverse loan portfolio organically as well as the expertise to acquire and integrate merger partners,” Rainer said. “Our loan growth resulted in an increased loan to deposit ratio as 2011 ended, although quality loan demand remains sluggish and competition is increasing.”

In the meantime, Johnson recently joined CUB to focus on the middle market companies. Previously, Johnson has worked with private and commercial banking clients at Bank of America, American Business Bank and Union Bank. He also served as senior treasury manager, directing a portfolio of nationally renowned energy clients, with the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.

“I have personally known Dennis for many years and have been very impressed by his success in the banking industry,” said William Sloan, senior vice president of real estate and manager for the Valencia branch of CUB. “We are very excited that he has joined our team in Santa Clarita, and I am confident that he will be a major factor in our continued growth.”

Although he will be working out of the Santa Clarita office, Johnson said his focus will be on helping businesses with any and all banking needs throughout the region in Southern California.

“I’ll be finding good people, that have a good business and helping them succeed,” Johnson said.



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