Santa Cruz County Bank In The News
Findley Reports has given Santa Cruz County Bank its highest rating, Super Premier Performing Bank, for its 2011 performance. The locally owned bank, founded in 2004, achieved that rating for the second straight year.
"Santa Cruz County Bank continues to deliver strong financial performance that ranks in the top 10 percent of all banks in the Western United States," said Gary Steven Findley, whose firm has been monitoring banks for 40 years.
A veteran Surf City banking executive has joined the board of directors at Santa Cruz County Bank.
Harvey Nickelson was appointed to the board of the Santa Cruz-based business lender, the bank announced Wednesday. He replaces Steve John, who is expected to leave the board in May due to his new position as CEO of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the nonprofit group that stages the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.
Eighteen months after Texas investors Carl Webb and Gerald Ford put $500 million into the troubled Pacific Capital Bancorp, where the price had fallen to 25 cents per share, their bet is paying off.
Union Bank, a subdiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, offered the new ownership $46 a share in cash, and the $1.5 billion deal was accepted by Pacific Capital Bancorp, which had rebranded itself Santa Barbara Bank & Trust in May.
Mike McMurry is not a number-cruncher. He became a firefighter at age 18, battled blazes for 13 years and is now a veteran fire chief in Santa Cruz County.
But after looking at pension costs a few years back, he knew this much: The retirement costs of his firefighters were rising fast, and he needed to do something.
He called a friend at Santa Cruz County Bank, asked if his Scotts Valley Fire District could get a loan, and inked a rarely used pension-financing deal — one that could help government agencies save some money and give banks a new line of business.
The City Council approved a plan Tuesday to pour fees paid by UC Santa Cruz when the university exceeds water use limits into a fund for off-campus conservation.
The move comes before a March 7 hearing by the Local Agency Formation Commission to finalize details of a city water service extension to an undeveloped corner of campus for future growth. LAFCO, under its own policy to approve only water-neutral projects, has requested a formal plan to designate overage fees for conservation.
On the east side of 41st Avenue, between Capitola Road and Betty Burger, nearly every shopping center has a “for lease” sign, and the Blockbuster movie rental shop will close Feb. 26.
The Capitola Mall has six vacancies, including Abercrombie & Fitch, which closed last month, and space in the Mercantile, a prime location in Capitola Village, has been empty for two years.
Before the recession, space on 41st Avenue was hard to get, and the Mall and the Mercantile were full.
Santa Cruz County Bank posted a profit of $2.4 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, up 33 percent from the year before.
Loans by the locally owned bank totaled $191 million, up 5 percent from the previous year and up 8 percent from the previous quarter.
"We had a really good year," said David Heald, Santa Cruz County Bank president and chief executive officer. "Loan production for the fourth quarter was exceptional. We wrote $27 million in new loans in the fourth quarter."
It's been two years of recession since the housing bubble burst, followed by two years of excruciatingly slow recovery. Local business owners, government officials and residents all continued to keep an eye on the plodding economy in 2011.
Bank profits have rebounded dramatically but the same can't be said for unemployment, which stood at 10.6 percent last month, down from 12.7 percent a year ago. It's still higher than anyone would like.
At this year's employee holiday party, employees brought gifts and gift cards for children of CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocates] of Santa Cruz County. The effort was lead by Santa Cruz County Bank Vice President Doug Fischer and resulted in more than $700 in gift cards and more than a dozen presents being donated to CASA children.Read the full story at www.santacruzsentinel.com
Bauer Financial, the independent rating service, lowered ratings on three banks serving Santa Cruz County for the third quarter, and raised the rating for one bank and two credit unions.
Liberty Bank, which serves San Lorenzo Valley, and Valley Community Bank, which has a Santa Cruz loan office, dropped to two stars, signifying troubled.
The Sentinel earlier reported both banks signed regulatory agreements in the third quarter, and Karen Dorway of Bauer Financial said that was the reason for the change in the ratings.Read the full story at www.santacruzsentinel.com