Category Archives: Grandpoint Bank
Members of our Grandpoint Bank family, which includes Regents Bank, recently toured the Long Beach campus of U.S. Vets, an organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families make a successful transition to civilian life by providing housing, counseling, career development and comprehensive support. Our visit included the presentation of a $10,000 donation to the organization.
According to U.S. Vets, about 50,000 vets in our nation are homeless – men and women who have served valiantly for our country and now find themselves sleeping on the streets.
“Beyond the essentials, what I saw during our visit is that U.S. Vets is giving veterans back their self-respect,” says Darlene Esquerra, Senior Vice President & Community Development Office of Grandpoint Bank. “Everyone is treated with kindness by staff members and volunteers, who, in many cases, have had the same experiences as the veterans.”
U.S. Vets is the largest organization of its kind addressing the needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families in the U.S. Their Long Beach facility is located on 25 acres of former Naval housing and offers a variety of permanent and transitional housing – including a building for women veterans with up to two children and housing for homeless vets — dining facilities, community center, clinic, classrooms, recreational facilities and even an urban forest where residents can pick fruits and vegetables.
“Grandpoint Bank’s support of our programs across Southern California makes it possible for us to fill the gaps and really meet the unique needs of each one of the veterans we serve,” said Laney Kapgan, Vice President of Development and Communications for U.S. Vets. “With more service men and women coming home than ever before, this investment will help us continue to expand not only housing but also key employment and mental health programs for our veterans.”
Grandpoint was introduced to U.S. Vets through our Executive Vice President and CCO Mark Phillips, who struck up a conversation with U.S. Vets National Director of Programs, Larry Williams, on an airplane. Mark was so impressed with the program, he referred the information for consideration as a Grandpoint Bank Community Reinvestment Act-qualified donation. The rest, as they say, is history.
You can find more information about U.S. Vets on their website usvetsinc.org.
We’re proud to salute U.S. Vets for helping so many vets and their families, and we thank all the members of our armed services, past and present, for their dedication and selflessness.
Please 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 Bureau and for the Jean Perkins Scholarship Foundation, which provides college scholarships to children of LA County Sheriff Deputies. He also serves on the board of the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation, 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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Congratulations 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.
Securing a business loan can be vital to a company’s growth or even survival. Senior Vice President Leticia Scearce, head of Grandpoint’s Government Guaranteed Lending division, shares some great loan options that are available through various government programs which can be facilitated by the Bank and its divisions, Regents Bank, The Biltmore Bank of Arizona and Bank of Tucson.
Q: What should people know about the government guaranteed lending programs that are available?
LS: Government guaranteed loans are there to help small- and medium-sized businesses, since these loans require less cash investment up front and offer longer loan terms. Government guaranteed loans can help bridge the gap for small- and medium-sized businesses that otherwise would not have access to capital. Also, many businesses that could qualify for conventional loans opt for government guaranteed loans instead because they require less money down and have longer terms. When opting for guaranteed loans, clients usually pay two percent more in fees for 10 to 15 percent cash down versus the 30 percent down for conventional loans.
The most well-known government guaranteed loan programs are those offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. These loan programs can include financing for owner-occupied real estate purchase or construction, refinance, equipment, business acquisition, exporting and short term working capital (revolving lines of credit).
Another very attractive loan program is available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Eligible USDA loans can be for real estate and equipment (including renewable energy projects) in rural or farming areas and can have a loan term up to 30 years. In addition, there are a few subprograms under the USDA loan program umbrella that allow us to finance projects in urban areas that have a local foods component – food manufacturing, distribution, retail, etc. The USDA loan product is attractive because it offers the longest term of the government guaranteed loan programs; is more flexible in pricing and prepayment penalties; has less oversight with franchises and dealer agreements; and has less regulation overall. It needs to be mentioned that even though the program is offered under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the financing of eligible projects / properties under this program do not need to be agriculture related. Rather, its availability is contingent on the current population levels of a specific census tract in which the business or property will be located.
Q: What is the current status of government guaranteed lending?
LS: We’re hitting record levels of government guaranteed lending as the economy is improving. One reason is that the banks’ lending standards for conventional loans haven’t changed much since the recession, which makes guaranteed loans more attainable and attractive.
Q: Have you seen any big changes in the government guaranteed lending programs that business owners should know about?
LS: We saw a big change recently in the SBA 504 program. This product offers low cash down and a 20-year fixed rate on the client’s second loan, which is financed by the SBA. The agency now allows the client to refinance existing loans on owner-occupied real estate and allows some cash out provisions, helping the small business owner access capital for long-term working capital.
Q: How do the members of the government guaranteed lending program for Grandpoint Bank and its divisions work together to assist clients?
LS: We are tasked with helping all our regions expand our government guaranteed lending, which is a combination of SBA loans, USDA loans and export loans. I’m based in Phoenix at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, along with Debbie Lindsay, our loan administrator. My team’s loan specialist/underwriter, Marchette Wesley, and portfolio servicer, Hector Palomares, are in California, and I travel to our offices throughout Arizona, California and Washington to train our staff about our guaranteed loan platform. We assist our relationship managers in deepening their knowledge base with the different loan products we have available. We also train our credit staff so they can recognize when a conventional loan isn’t suited for a client and a government guaranteed loan could offer a great alternative.
Mark Phillips, Grandpoint Capital’s chief credit officer, and David Ross, Grandpoint Bank’s chief credit officer, and our regional bank presidents have been very supportive of our division and expansion.
Q: How is Grandpoint Bank, and its divisions, differentiating itself in this type of lending?
LS: Our Southern California and Vancouver, Washington markets do a lot of export business, so with our large geographic footprint and sizable lending capacity, we can target more middle market customers. In Arizona, we have more rural opportunities, and thus the USDA programs are a great fit. We are already one of the top lenders in the state for USDA loans. We are looking forward to expanding our footprint in USDA lending in all of our markets. Seventy to 90 percent of government guaranteed loans don’t count against a bank’s legal lending limits, so we have more capacity to service larger companies as well.
Q: How did your career lead you to becoming the head of the government guaranteed lending division?
LS: I was drawn to SBA lending in 2007 when I was working in commercial lending at a community bank here in Scottsdale. I further progressed into this niche lending sector during the recession when the credit markets froze and guaranteed loans became even more essential. When I joined The Biltmore Bank of Arizona in 2011, I helped established the SBA department, and a year later I pushed for expansion into other government guaranteed loan programs such as USDA loans and export financing. A diverse, more inclusive platform was important to our brand and to our customer base, and I was fortunate that key management at Biltmore trusted and supported my recommendations. In 2012, Biltmore Bank was acquired by Grandpoint Bank, and with the backing of a larger bank, it allowed us to expand our lending efforts even further. Personally, Grandpoint gave me access to a larger platform with great management resources to help expand and develop this lending niche. Prior to the acquisition, our government guaranteed lending activity was small, but many of the banks acquired by Grandpoint around the same time had SBA loan portfolios, so my servicing and liquidation role increased. Soon thereafter, our senior management team decided to expand this niche of lending for the whole family of banks. I’m pleased to have a very amazing team. We all have to stay up to date on policies and procedures for all of these programs. This type of lending makes you a better banker, because it requires a complex level of understanding and mastery of detail; it makes you sharper.
Q: Are you involved in any civic work?
LS: I serve on the City of Phoenix Investment Advisory Board, which advises the city on its entire investment portfolio.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
LS: My husband and I are into cycling, and I love to hike. I also enjoy cooking and baking, and I’m a wine connoisseur. We have visited more than 100 wineries, and I’d love to become a sommelier someday. More immediately, I’d like to look at growth and loan opportunities in the wine industries throughout the various regions we serve. I also enjoy reading, gardening, and I am a big tennis fan!
We’re happy to announce that we have expanded our service offerings once again.
Multifamily properties represent an important part of the housing market, especially as cities become denser and land constrained. Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, Regents Bank, Bank of Tucson and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, now has a multifamily lending division, managed by Senior Vice President Karen Kim.
According to Karen, 2016 is expected to be another good year for the multifamily sector due to favorable demographic trends and economic growth, based on the Multifamily Outlook study completed by Freddie Mac.
“Demographically, the strong multifamily market is further bolstered by Millennials and empty nesters, who are increasingly choosing multifamily over single-family residences in many cities,” Karen says.
Karen’s multifamily lending team is comprised of experts in multifamily lending who have previously worked at institutions that have produced a large volume of multifamily portfolios for the past two decades or more.
Multifamily property owners and investors can access three-, five- and on a very limited basis, seven-year hybrid loans from our bank, as well as a six-month ARM loans. Qualifying properties include five or more units in Class A or B buildings, with Class C-type properties considered on a deal-by-deal basis. As portfolio lenders — meaning most of these loans remain with our bank — we have more control over our products and pricing, which is a huge advantage.
We’re working with a network of seasoned mortgage brokers throughout the markets we serve to educate them about how Grandpoint Bank and its divisions can help their clients finance or refinance properties up to approximately $15 million in loan value. Karen and her team are currently cultivating additional mortgage broker relationships in Greater Los Angeles area, San Diego County, Ventura County, Orange County, Portland, Vancouver, WA, Greater Phoenix area and Tucson.
Please contact Karen to inquire about becoming an approved broker with Grandpoint Bank. You can also ask her to connect you to an approved broker already working with Grandpoint Bank.
Karen H. Kim, SVP, Multi-Family Lending Manager email@example.com or (213) 542-2727.
Grandpoint Bank and its divisions, Regents Bank, Bank of Tucson and The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, received a 5-Star rating for strength, stability and soundness from independent rating and research firm BauerFinancial, based on December 31, 2014, financial data. This is the seventh consecutive quarter Grandpoint has earned a 5-star rating, which BauerFinancial awards only to banks that are considered the strongest in the nation.
BauerFinancial is regarded as “the nation’s bank rating service,” and has been analyzing the performance of banks and credit unions since 1983. Ratings are determined by the bank’s capital strength, asset quality and profitability.
BauerFinancial’s analyses are made using quarterly financial reports filed with the government by each bank or credit union, with historical comparison for consistency. Its star-rating is assigned based upon a scale of zero to five stars. Banks cannot pay to be rated nor opt out of being rated.
Grandpoint and its divisions also received an A+ rating from DepositAccounts.com,↗ an independent bank health monitoring publication covering banks and bank deals for nearly a decade. This rating was also based on fourth quarter 2014 financial data.
DepositAccounts.com provides information about bank health free of charge to consumers. The company’s ratings are an indication of more than 14,000 banks’ and credit unions’ strength and stability based upon DepositAccounts.com’s proprietary algorithm.
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As part of the Grandpoint family of banks, we want to share this informative article that ran on Grandpoint Bank’s blog so that Regents Bank clients can learn about the systems we have in place to help protect you from cybercrime.
Our clients are our top-most priority. You entrust us with your personal information, your money and your confidence. We, in turn, have designed and implemented systems to make sure we help protect you and your business from cybercrime.
With new technologies come exciting new opportunities but also new risks and vulnerabilities. That’s why bank regulators require us to collect identifying information about you and your business. All that information helps our risk management team build a summary so that we understand your business and your projected account activity.
With the account summary, we can analyze the activity flowing through your account in order to red flag transactions or requests that seem out of the ordinary and bring these to your attention. Our objective is to prevent fraudulent activity, including people who illegally obtain your personal and financial information, through phishing, computer hacking or other illegal schemes, from using it to defraud your bank accounts.
We also continuously reinforce our protection systems. We regularly conduct audits on our firewalls and retain outside agencies to perform vulnerability penetration testing on our electronic and personal communications systems.
We appreciate the effort you make to assist us in building a summary for you and your business. This detailed information allows us to construct a system to keep your information safe and secure and reduce the threat of cyber and other crimes.
If you’d like to know more about how our risk management systems and strategies are helping to protect your accounts, please feel free to speak with your Grandpoint banker.
Susan Wahba joined Grandpoint Bank in 2012 as Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Officer. She was named EVP & Chief Risk Officer in 2013. She has over 20 years of banking experience, including a regulatory background. She spent 13 years as a risk management examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). She led examination teams on both safety and soundness and Trust Department examinations of numerous FDIC-insured financial institutions. During her time at the FDIC, Susan became a subject matter expert in BSA, fraud, and trust. She is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and has been a member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) since 2010. She currently sits on the Executive Board of the Southern California Chapter of ACAMS.
We are very proud to announce that Mark Anderson has moved from head of operations for Regents Bank to step into a newly-created role of Branch Operations Administrator for Grandpoint Bank. Mark will continue to be based in La Jolla and will be responsible for all branch operations at Grandpoint and its divisions Regents Bank and Bank of Tucson, and at The Biltmore Bank of Arizona, a subsidiary of Grandpoint Capital. He will direct operational efficiencies in the banking offices, manage audits and oversee customer service.
As our banking family continues to grow, offering new resources to our clients and increasing demands upon our operations staff, Mark’s strong management experience is a tremendous asset. His leadership and focus on our banking office operations will help us maximize efficiencies and ensure that clients continue to receive a high level of service.
Mark joined Regents Bank when California Community Bank merged with Regents more than a year ago. He worked at California Community Bank for more than nine years, where he served as Executive Vice President/Operations Administrator.
Mark and his wife Debbie live in San Marcos. They have three grown children. Mark and his family have given back to the community by taking part in the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the last two years and hosted fundraising events in their home for the charitable organization. Additionally, Mark and his family host an annual food raising party to benefit Angel’s Depot, which delivers food supplies and meals to seniors.
Congratulations, Mark, and thanks for the great work you’ve already been doing to help us build a strong foundation upon which we will continue to build an exceptional banking organization for our clients.
In a press release dated January 31st, Grandpoint Capital Inc., Regents Bank’s new parent company, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bank Capital Corporation, the parent company of the The Biltmore Bank of Arizona. Following the acquisition, The Biltmore Bank will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Grandpoint Capital and will continue to operate under its existing name with its current management and staff. The Biltmore Bank has offices in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
“Grandpoint already has a presence in southern Arizona through its majority ownership of the Bank of Tucson, which is the largest community bank in that region,” said Dan C. Yates, president of Grandpoint Capital, Inc., and president and CEO of Regents Bank. “The acquisition of The Biltmore Bank will provide a complementary foothold for Grandpoint in the Phoenix area.”
Grandpoint Capital officially completed its acquisition of Regents Bank on January 24th and is scheduled to complete its acquisition of California Community Bank during the 3rd quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval. When that transaction closes California Community Bank’s four San Diego County offices will be merged into Regents Bank.
“With each of its acquisitions, Grandpoint has selected merger partners that share a similar client-focused business philosophy and specialize in serving small to mid-sized businesses,” adds Yates. “They’re also managed by experienced bankers who are especially well qualified to guide Grandpoint’s growth in their markets.”
Regents Bank operates branch offices in La Jolla, San Diego, El Cajon and Carlsbad, CA and also has a branch office in Vancouver, WA.