Santa Cruz County Bank In The News
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
Local residents are responding to the call for Bank Transfer Day on Saturday, a grassroots effort started by a young Los Angeles gallery owner frustrated that reforms were possibly leading to new fees by Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase.Read the full story at www.santacruzsentinel.com
Santa Cruz County Bank posted a $766,600 profit for the quarter ending Sept. 30, up from $535,000 in the prior quarter and up 69 percent from a year ago.
Year-to-date earnings for the first nine months of 2011 totaled $1.8 million, up 61 percent from a year ago.
Earnings for the locally owned bank were 40 cents per share compared to 28 cents per share in the prior quarter.
Bauer Financial, the Florida-based independent rating service, has upgraded Santa Cruz County Bank from four stars, excellent, to five stars, superior based on its second quarter performance.
The only other bank in the county with the top five-star rating is Union Bank.
Bauer's ratings make a difference to people looking for security for their savings.
Read the full story at www.santacruzsentinel.com