SANTA MONICA, Calif.– Commercial Bank of California (CBC), a BauerFinancial Five-Star Superior Bank, has opened a new regional office at 805 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica.

This is the first new branch opening since the completion of the merger with National Bank of California earlier this year. The milestone was marked last week with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and a warm welcome from local dignitaries and the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

Ash Patel

Ash Patel

“Santa Monica is very a special place for Commercial Bank of California. Our connection with this community is very strong,” said Ash Patel, president and CEO of Irvine-based CBC. “Not only do we have relationships here with local residents and small business owners that go back decades, but the trajectory of Santa Monica as a hub of innovation is uniquely aligned with our mission as a bank founded by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.”

The new office in Santa Monica represents a homecoming for the branch’s leadership team, comprised of three experienced bankers who all have long histories in the city.

“It is truly a thrill to come home to Santa Monica,” said CBC Executive Vice President Richard Lawrence. “This community is like a family, and we look forward to providing our customers here with the best banking services possible.”
Lawrence was Executive Vice president and Chief Credit Officer for Santa Monica Bank from 1982 to 1993. He has also served as President of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Family YMCA, and Santa Monica College Associates. He was joined by the CBC Santa Monica team, including Regional Vice President Rick Mateus and Vice President Kathy Irby.

Mateus – a banker with more than 35 years of community banking experience in the region – has served in various positions with associations and organizations such as the Rotary Club of Santa Monica, Encino Chamber of Commerce, International Guiding Eyes and Calabasas Chamber of Commerce.

“Although Santa Monica is a leading destination within one of the world’s biggest metropolitan areas, it is still a small town in many ways,” Mateus said. “It’s a close-knit community full of small business owners and residents who have lived here for many generations. To be a banker and trusted advisor is our goal and a responsibility that we make a priority as we help our clients meet their business and personal financial goals.”

Irby has served several Santa Monica nonprofits, including the local Kiwanis Club and Police Activities League.
“We love the people of this community,” Irby said. “It is truly an honor to be here and work with them every day.”
Before moving to Santa Monica, the trio had worked together for 15 years and forged personal relationships with clients from all over the Westside, most recently from CBC’s Brentwood Regional Office. Joining in the move to Santa Monica are CBC Vice President Jennifer Irizarry, a loan underwriter and business development officer, and Assistant Vice President Chanthan Pom, the operations manager.

As part of the homecoming, the Santa Monica Regional Office is hosting open houses throughout its inaugural year to meet new clients and reconnect with old ones. However, the homecoming is not just about reuniting with friends from the past. It’s about forging new business relationships for the future as well.

Santa Monica is home to a thriving startup scene fueled by the mobile internet technology boom. Nicknamed “Silicon Beach” for its tech savvy and proximity to the ocean, the economic cluster spreads as far as Long Beach and rivals the celebrated Silicon Valley of the San Francisco Bay Area. It also shares the same entrepreneurial spirit of Orange County’s startup culture, which is largely rooted in the CBC headquarters city of Irvine.

Recognized as a “Five-Star Bank” by BauerFinancial, Inc. for its financial strength and stability, the new regional office solidifies Commercial Bank of California’s position as a market leader in Southern California.

IndUS Business Journal

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