Stephen Friedman Named Regents Bank Regional President in San Diego County

Stephen Friedman headshot NEWIt’s official! Longtime San Diego banker and business executive Stephen Friedman has been promoted to Regional President in San Diego County. Stephen will oversee operations at our four San Diego offices, which include locations in downtown, La Jolla, Escondido and Vista. Stephen, who has been with Regents Bank since 2009, will continue to work from the La Jolla office.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead the charge for Regents Bank in San Diego going forward,” says Stephen. “Having been part of the leadership team here for many years, Regents Bank’s brand of what we call consultative banking is in my DNA. We have a seasoned team that is focused on providing customized banking solutions crafted to meet each client’s unique circumstances, but we don’t stop there. We seek to understand our client’s short- and long-term goals so that we can direct them to relevant resources to help them. My primary objective is to provide the leadership and support our team needs to execute on our mission of serving our clients at the highest level every day.”

As the former CFO of Bruegger’s Bagels – the national bagel chain, the former CFO of the Westwind Group – a large Burger King franchisee, and the former owner of a local commercial bakery, Stephen thinks entrepreneurially.

“Stephen combines his 20 years of banking experience with his past business experience to provide a unique level of business understanding not normally found in a banker,” said Rocky Laverty, President of Grandpoint Bank. “He has demonstrated leadership and success in consistently growing Regents Bank, primarily due to his ability to deliver valuable services and advice to Regents’ clients.”

Stephen is a resident of Carmel Valley and has been an active member of ProVisors, the Association for Corporate Growth of San Diego, the Rancho Bernardo Professional Group, Renaissance Executive Forums and the Business Executives Council. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Vermont, followed by a master’s degree in business administration from Boston College and a graduate banking degree from University of Colorado at Boulder.

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Defenses Against Cybercrime

Through our work in cyber and information security, we have formed relationships with professionals at Secure the Villagescreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and Citadel Information Group.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am They have kindly allowed us to post on our blog site some of the articles they have authored about cyber security. This articlescreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am provides a great overview of the business email compromise scam and how to avoid being taken in by it.

Business E-mail Compromise: Don’t Be a Victim

By Stan Stahl, PhD, President of Citadel Information Group, Inc. & Founder and President of Secure the Village

What to Do: Implement very strong controls on wire transfers

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 5.47.51 PMAssume all email or fax requests from a vendor to change bank accounts are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests from the company President or others are fraudulent. Assume all email or fax requests to set-up a new vendor are fraudulent. Pick up the phone, call the party in question and verify the request is legitimate.

If you discover you are a Business Email Compromise victim, immediately contact the FBI’s Southern California Cyber Fraud unit at sccf@leo.gov. They have established banking relationships and are often able to recover funds if they are notified within 72 hours.

And talk to your banker. Make sure they have your back.

It’s also a good idea to check with your insurance broker to ensure that business email compromise losses are covered.

Background

Not too long ago, email scams were relatively easy to detect. They were often from unknown contacts and referenced bank or credit card information which was clearly incorrect. Sometimes, the emails would simply contain a link. As time has passed, fraudulent attempts to gain control of your online banking, your critical information, and your identity have become more skillful and harder to spot. These days’ emails often appear to come from recognized accounts, are well written, and–at least at first glance–seem legitimate.

The newest — and one of the costliest — in a long line of fraudulent e-mail scams is “Business E-Mail Compromise” (BEC).

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a very sophisticated attempt to induce a business to willingly hand over their money to a cybercriminal. In Business Email Compromise (BEC), crooks spoof communications from executives or vendors at the victim firm in a bid to initiate unauthorized wire transfers.

According to the FBI, thieves stole nearly $750 million in such scams from more than 7,000 victim companies in the U.S. between October 2013 and August 2015. Business Email Compromise cost Ubiquiti Networks $46 million.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

Collectively, Business Email Compromise has resulted in actual and attempted losses of over a billion dollars worldwide. The FBI reports, “…since the beginning of 2015 there has been a 270 percent increase in identified BEC victims. Victim companies have come from all 50 U.S. states and nearly 80 countries abroad.”

BECs can target businesses working with foreign suppliers or regularly performing wire transfer payments, although they have also targeted some that do not strictly fit this criterion. In order to solicit unauthorized transfers of funds, the scams compromise legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques. Prior to making contact, the scammers learn enough about their target to create emails that use language specific to the company and request wire transfers that seem legitimate.

For more information on BECs, see https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/august/business-e-mail-compromise/business-e-mail-compromisescreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/08/fbi-1-2b-lost-to-business-email-scams/screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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A spotlight on one of our longest client relationships: Coffman Specialties, Inc.

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Coffman Specialties, Inc. (CSI) started with one woman’s entrepreneurial vision. Today, the construction company specializes in large public and governmental projects that are improving and expanding transportation infrastructure across the United States. CSI is headquartered in San Diego, California and operates offices in Phoenix, Arizona.

CSI was founded in 1991 by President Colleen Coffman. She works together with her husband Jim, who directs the activities of all CSI projects. Since its inception, CSI has completed nearly 100 major highway, airfield, bridge, railway and waterway projects. CSI specializes in cement treated pavements, mass excavation, structural concrete of all types, bridges and other complex infrastructure. Notable projects include the major runway renovation at LAX Airport, the completion of a 3.5-mile HOV addition to the 805 freeway in San Diego, and the repaving of the All American Canal — the largest irrigation canal in the world — in Imperial, California.

Regents Bank Relationship Manager Darla Clark has banked CSI since 1997. Colleen and Jim followed Darla when she joined Regents Bank as a founding team member in 2002. At that time, Darla and the Regents Bank team provided an operating line of credit that helped support CSI’s early growth. Since then, CSI’s expansion has been guided by the Coffmans’ entrepreneurial spirit, as they have vertically integrated their business by acquiring transportation and materials companies. This has enabled CSI to control costs when bidding for projects — a strategy that has driven the company’s substantial growth. During this time, Regents Bank has been on hand to provide CSI’s equipment and real estate financing for both personal and business investment — including the company headquarters building in San Diego.

“Over the past 20 years, I have been privileged to work with CSI and assist with its extraordinary growth,” says Darla. “CSI is a high-integrity company. They do exactly what they say they will do. I appreciate Colleen and Jim for this and also that they are very loyal to their employees and to their banker.”

The Regents Bank team has also assisted the Coffmans with financing assets that they will be able to use in their retirement. This comprehensive partnership between Regents Bank and the Coffmans effectively supports the Coffmans’ financial needs, both business and personal.

Today, CSI is one of Regents Bank’s largest banking relationships. As the company’s business continues to grow, Regents Bank can draw upon its substantial lending capacity, as part of Grandpoint Bank, to help them achieve their goals. Darla also brings a unique understanding of the construction industry to the relationship, which many banks do not have. Darla’s experience has given her the insight to cultivate and manage contractor relationships in a way that is beneficial for both clients and the bank.

As a thriving industry leader, CSI has many choices when it comes to banking. Colleen and Jim Coffman appreciate the longevity of the relationship they have with Regents Bank, particularly the way in which Darla and the team remained committed to CSI while all contractors were experiencing challenges during the last recession. In doing so, Regents Bank helped CSI create a foundation for future growth and prosperity. They choose to bank with Darla and the Regents Bank team because they value the ability to work with bankers who can get them what they need, while understanding the complexity of their business.

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Longtime San Diego Banker & Business Executive Joins Regents Bank

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 5.22.24 PMWe’re pleased to announce that Jim Kelley has joined our bank as Senior Vice President/Senior Relationship Manager. Jim will work out of our Escondido Office. A seasoned banker, Jim brings over 30 years of commercial banking and business development experience with an extensive background in commercial, small business administration (SBA) and real estate lending.

Jim worked for several successful commercial banks throughout San Diego in various capacities, ranging from Vice President/Branch Manager many years ago to Senior Vice President/Chief Lending Officer in the late 90s to President/CEO of Discovery Bank from 2000 to 2007. He most recently served as Senior Vice President/Group Manager for Comerica Bank.

In addition to his extensive banking experience, Jim served as CFO for the sports cards and memorabilia company Upper Deck and for the computer cable manufacturer C Enterprises—both headquartered in San Diego.

“Between my experience as CFO of multi-million dollar companies and my work as founding president of Discovery Bank, I understand what it takes to start and run a business,” said Jim. “I love that I can use that expertise to help a wide variety of San Diego businesses and that I’m doing it with a bank that forms such close connections with its clients.”

While he works with a wide cross section of businesses, Jim has specialized expertise working with manufacturing, distribution and service companies.

Jim resides in Vista. He earned his bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and received his executive MBA from Pacific Coast Banking School in Washington.

When he’s not working, Jim and his family enjoy sailing around San Diego Harbor or further afield off the San Diego coast.

We look forward to Jim’s contributions to our team. Welcome, Jim!

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Working with Junior Achievement to Provide Financial Education for Local Youth

Junior Achievement (JA), an organization committed to teaching students from kindergarten through high school about financial topics, has come to hold a special place in our hearts. Recently, Amber Santos and Tom Schmidt from our La Jolla office, as well as Darla Clark from our downtown San Diego office, visited JA’s BizTown (the only BizTown facility in California!) to help San Diego elementary school students operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks and vote for mayor.

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The goal of the program is to help kids connect the concept of dealing with the financial responsibilities of adulthood to the reality. Rene Wisch and Lisa Johns from our Vancouver, Washington office also volunteered with BizTown through Junior Achievement of Washington. Khellie Van and Devin Jackson have volunteered through Junior Achievement’s classroom programs in Washington.

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Junior Achievement offers dozens of different kinds of programs and many ways to volunteer. Kim Poole and Bill Scheffel from our Escondido office presented about the finances of cities to third grade students at Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School in Vista, for example. They covered topics like taxes, revenue, banking, small businesses, municipalities and how all of these parts work together. Their coworkers, Cindy Thomas, Erin Brosch and Taryn Diehl (as well as Bill Scheffel) also volunteered in a classroom at Willow Grove Elementary in Poway.

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The JA programs focus primarily on work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Most schools don’t dedicate much or any curriculum time to these topics. Since students at low-income schools may have even less opportunity for financial education, Junior Achievement focuses primarily on these schools, though not exclusively.

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Amber, who worked with fifth graders at BizTown said, “They worked hard, and their excitement was contagious.” She hopes to volunteer again.

For BizTown, the fifth graders have had in-class sessions with volunteers before they attend so that they’re prepared. “Prior to the day, they get some education from Junior Achievement presentations from kindergarten on,” says Tom. “BizTown is the reward for all that instruction.” The students and the volunteers also receive instruction booklets when they arrive at BizTown.

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Tom, who has volunteered with Junior Achievement for many years and in several capacities, including instructing the personal finance curriculum to high schoolers through Junior Achievement’s in-class program, says he continues to enjoy giving back to the kids. “It’s a win-win. I like working with kids, and it amazes me what some kids know and do. Some get so involved during BizTown that they don’t even want to go on break.”

Amber concurred, adding, “They were really responsible and took the experience very seriously.”

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Darla helped run the San Diego Union Tribune shop at BizTown with students from San Diego’s Jamacha neighborhood. Four of the kids published a newspaper, which included photos, an editorial article, an interview with the Mayor and articles about two of the businesses in Biz Town.

“It was a very busy and fun experience,” said Darla, who was impressed by the kids in her shop, saying they “were smart and did the work.”

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It’s easy to be a Junior Achievement volunteer. “Junior Achievement gives you all the materials in a packet, as well as all the lessons and video tutorials for classroom sessions,” said, Kim. “They walk you through it completely.”

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Kim was hooked after her first classroom experience volunteering for Junior Achievement. “I realized I have all the tools available to help teach these kids. They need to go out in the world with the financial strength to make the decisions they need to make and to understand them.” In addition to that, she says, “And it’s so much fun!”

“I was nervous!” Lisa readily admits feeling before her classroom teaching assignment through Junior Achievement. But, she says, “JA really prepares you for the classes. They have great training materials and it only takes about 20 minutes to read through them.”  Lisa taught a third grade class about city planning. The class met for 45 minutes once a week for five weeks.

One night, after the program had ended, Lisa experienced something that confirmed the impact volunteering can have. She was at a restaurant with her family when she passed by a table where two young girls were having dinner with their mother. One of the girls looked up at Lisa, smiled and said, “Hi!” Lisa immediately recognized her as one of her students from her JA class.

Lisa stopped to talk to her. Her mother asked who she was, and the young girl eagerly answered, “She is the Junior Achievement teacher!” Lisa felt so good that the student remembered her. “This made me realize how important volunteering is, and how much of an impact you can have in a child’s life.”

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To volunteer with Junior Achievement, contact your local chapter.screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am

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We’re celebrating 15 consecutive 5-Star ratings from BauerFinancial

march bauerIndependent rating and research firm BauerFinancialscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am has released its March 2017 bank ratings, giving Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, Regents Bank, Bank of Tucson and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, a fifteenth consecutive quarterly 5-Star rating for strength, stability and soundness.

Based on December 31, 2016 financial data filed with the government, only banks BauerFinancial considers to be the strongest in the nation earn the 5-Star rating. Four- and five-star banks appear on BauerFinancial’s Recommended Report.

BauerFinancial has rated banks since 1983 and is regarded as “the nation’s bank rating service.” Banks cannot pay to be rated nor opt out of being rated.

Criteria for earning the 5-Star rating include the strength of the institution’s capital ratios, profitability/loss trends, the level of delinquent loans and repossessed assets, the market versus book value of the investment portfolio, regulatory supervisory agreements, the community reinvestment rating (CRA) and liquidity.

Thank you to all our wonderful clients for your business and your trust. We’re a 5-Star bank because we work with 5-Star clients.

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Hanaa Zahran: An Influential Woman

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Congratulations to Hanaa Zahran, Senior Vice President in our La Jolla office, for being chosen as one of The Daily Transcript’s 2017 Influential Women in San Diego!

One quality that distinguishes Hanaa is her determination. Born in Egypt, she took on many challenges and learned to thrive in the U.S. Today, she is an important role model for women in finance, immigrants to our country and those motivated to contribute to the civic vitality of our community.

Hanaa serves on the annual conference committee for the Treasury Management Association of San Diego, she’s an active member of Business Executives Council, a member of the Risk Management Association and is heavily involved with Athena San Diego, the premier professional organization for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Hanaa also served as a board member at La Jolla Playhouse for nearly 10 years and participated on their finance, investment and audit committees.

Hanaa has joined both the steering committee and corporate involvement committee for a new STEM program the San Diego Fleet Science Center is launching for children interested in STEM disciplines. Fleet Science Center’s STEM Ecosystem Initiative is a program that brings executives in education, science and business sectors together to give students greater access to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

With a strong understanding and affinity for STEM disciplines, Hanaa has forged relationships with industry sectors new to our bank, including biotech and medical device firms. Her consultative banking approach has resonated with companies within these industries, as life science and technology firms are often led by researchers, scientists and engineers who rely on strong service providers to help them round out their business skills and strategies. It doesn’t hurt, either, that Hanaa speaks English, Spanish, French, Russian and Arabic, her native language.

Most importantly, Hanaa has also raised a remarkable son, who is now attending a global immersion college program at NYU Shanghai. Way to go, Hanaa.

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Roger M. Laverty Named President of Grandpoint Bank

grandpoint_rocky_laverty_993_cropPlease join us in welcoming the new president of Grandpoint Bank, (of which Regents Bank is a division) Roger M. “Rocky” Laverty. Rocky, a member of the Bank’s board of directors since its inception in 2010, has a distinguished business career, most recently serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of Farmer Bros. Co. He is also the former President and CEO of Smart & Final, Inc. and Diedrich Coffee, Inc., and he was a founding member and Chairman and CEO of Prime Advantage, Inc.

“Rocky is a remarkable businessman, and we are fortunate to have his leadership in guiding our bank’s growth across all of our markets,” says Don M. Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Grandpoint Capital, Inc., and Grandpoint Bank. “I’ve known Rocky for years, and his business acumen, his ability to identify and cultivate strategic growth opportunities and his track record of building successful businesses will be a tremendous benefit to Grandpoint.”

Rocky will remain on the bank’s board of directors.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the bank’s growth as a member of the board,” says Rocky. “It is now exciting to be on the frontlines, working with an exceptionally talented group of regional executives and their teams. I’m looking forward to contributing the experience I’ve garnered over the course of my career to support the bank’s internal growth and develop new product strategies.”

Rocky is a member of the Board of Trustees for Children’s Bureauscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and for the Jean Perkins Scholarship Foundation,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am which provides college scholarships to children of LA County Sheriff Deputies. He also serves on the board of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am which provides ocean therapy to wounded warriors and veterans as well as at-risk youth.

Rocky attended Stanford University and Stanford Law School.

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Grandpoint Bank Promotes Karen McGuire to Executive Vice President

karenCongratulations to Karen McGuire, manager of Grandpoint Bank’s Construction Lending Department, who just earned a well-deserved promotion to Executive Vice President.

Karen is responsible for helping Grandpoint Bank and our divisions, Regents Bank,  Bank of Tucson and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, expand our construction lending loan portfolio. She is based at Grandpoint’s Irvine office and oversees a seasoned and talented construction lending staff. Her duties include analyzing and underwriting all of the bank’s construction loan requests. This includes evaluating both standard and complex construction loan transactions, interfacing with clients, handling the construction loan disbursements once a loan is approved and visiting project sites.

According to Karen, currently, the demand for construction lending for multifamily properties is especially strong throughout the nation. In the markets that Grandpoint Bank and our divisions serve, Karen says the strongest demand is coming from Los Angeles and the Portland, Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington market. Karen’s team is also currently seeing a lot of lending activity and demand from the hospitality and single family real estate sectors in many of the bank’s existing markets.

Karen’s best advice for would-be loan applicants? If you’re looking for construction financing, start the loan application process sooner rather than later.  Assuming your loan application is complete, the approval process can be as short as 60 days, but compiling a complete loan application can take longer than many people anticipate due to the additional amounts of information and analysis required.

Your local relationship manager, along with Karen and her staff, will work with you to help you understand what is needed and what to include in your application. You’ll also benefit from the incredible depth of experience our loan underwriters have and can contribute to your construction project and process. You can depend on our team to bring a sophisticated understanding to your objectives and the business of construction.

“My team and I don’t consider our work done once a loan is approved,” says Karen. “Someone from our construction lending team will go to the building site once every two to three months so that we continue to understand not only the project but also our clients’ needs and achievements.”

Karen counts the AC Hotel Tucson by Marriott (currently under construction) as one of her most notable construction loans to date. Though it was a complex project, involving two different loans and some required environmental remediation, the loan was ultimately closed based in large part on the entire team’s “can-do” attitude. The 136-room hotel with 5,000-square-feet of ground floor retail will soon give new life to the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway in downtown Tucson.

“We are very fortunate to have Karen and her staff, all of whom have considerable previous experience in complex structured financing,” said Mark Phillips, Executive Vice President & Chief Credit Officer of Grandpoint Capital. “When Karen started with us, we had one construction loan on the books. Now we’re making construction loans in three states, with loans amounts up to $40 million and greater.”

For more information about construction loans, please contact your local banking office, your relationship manager or Karen McGuire at 949-483-8388.

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An Entertaining Group of Ukulele Players and a Patron of the Arts

In La Jolla, we celebrated the holiday season and our 15th anniversary by teaming up with our client La Jolla Music Societyscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am to host a client appreciation reception followed by a holiday performance at the MCASD Sherwood Auditorium. We enjoyed wonderful Greek food by Eclat Cateringscreen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am and wine before walking over to the museum across the street to enjoy the unique and amazing music of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain,screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-07-51-am as they performed their “Holiday Show.”

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The evening also featured a special appearance by Kristin Lancino (third from left), president and artistic director of La Jolla Music Society and festive caroling by Full Measure. Third from right: Regent Bank’s Hanaa Zahran.

As La Jolla Music Society described The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, they have “entertained British Royalty, jammed with George Harrison, performed with Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and rocked out at Glastonbury Festival…their hilarious, entertaining dash through all genres of music has led to sold out shows all over the world from the Royal Albert Hall to Sydney Opera House via Carnegie Hall.”

Our guests have since shared with us:

What a unique and memorable performing group!  I think I smiled nonstop through the entire concert!”   

“The concert was outstanding! Thank you for including us!”

“Great memory!!!!!”

“We had a fabulous time. I could not stop smiling and I am still enjoying the ukulele.”

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We’d also like to acknowledge our wonderful relationship manager and senior vice president, Hanaa Zahran, who established our relationship with La Jolla Music Society. Hanaa was recently featured as one of San Diego Business Journal’s finalists for Women Who Mean Business this past year, partly because she is tremendously involved with arts and education outreach programs.

Hanaa has joined both the steering committee and corporate involvement committee for a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program the San Diego Fleet Science Center is launching for children interested in STEM disciplines. The committees are supporting the Science Center’s endeavor to unite STEM programs throughout the city. The organization will act as a clearing house for corporations, parents and kids that want to be involved with or learn about K-12 STEM programs. Hanaa believes that San Diego’s kids can and should have access to the best STEM training and resources, and she is committed to making it happen.

Hanaa also served as a board member at La Jolla Playhouse for 10 years, only just recently leaving her role on the board. She also served on the theater’s finance, investment and audit committees. Of particular significance was her contribution on the Playhouse’s finance committee, which she chaired for four years. During that time, she developed the idea to create a royalty reserve account as a way to build up reserves from show royalties.

She is also involved with Water for Africa and Lifeline. She has boosted the fundraising activity of both organizations and spent nearly five years on the gala committee for Water for Africa. The organization has played a pivotal role in the development of sustainable water projects in over 120 villages in Africa. These organizations are especially important to Hanaa because she originally hails from Egypt.

Hanaa is thrilled to partner with the La Jolla Music Society. And as everyone who attended our client appreciation reception knows, this is an organization very deserving of San Diego’s pride and admiration. Cheers to a wonderful 2017 and our next 15 years!

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Regents Bank’s Darla Clark with carolers

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Jim & Colleen Coffman with Darla Clark

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(l to r) Rachel Maurais & Stephen Friedman, Ash & Lata Israni, Luis & Sally Maizel

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(l to r) Randy & Jennifer Minnier, Kim Poole, Michelle & Brian Hudak

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(l to r) Richard Leung, Hanaa Zahran, Isaac & Loraine Levy

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(l to r) Tamara Lafarga, Roger Joseph, Steve & Lori Sefton

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