October 6, 2022
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Heritage Oaks Bank names new CEO


Simone Lagomarsino will take the reins at Paso Robles-based Heritage Oaks Bank as president and CEO on Sept. 10.

Lagomarsino succeeds current CEO Larry Ward, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Heritage Oaks, the parent of the Business First Bank brand in Santa Barbara, is the third-largest regionally based bank in the Tri-Counties. It has 13 branches and had $967 million in assets as of March.

Like other community banks, Heritage Oaks has struggled with suffering housing loans and lost $17.6 million last year. Last March it faced a memorandum of understanding order to raise capital from regulators, but within days had raised $60 million and shored up its balance sheet.

Since then, the bank has focused on organic growth in the Tri-Counties.

“Community banking is part of the ‘fabric’ of our country and there has never been a better time for ‘back-to-basics’ banking that leads with service,” Lagomarsino said in a news release.

Lagomarsino, who will also take a seat on the firm’s board of directors, comes to the post following 20 years in executive positions including president and CEO for Kinecta Federal Credit Union; CEO for Hawthorne Financial Corporation; and chief financial officer at Warner Center Bank, Ventura County National Bank, First Plus Bank and Imperial Financial Group.

“We are ecstatic to find a professional who has it all – impeccable experience, razor sharp knowledge and management skills and dedication to the precepts of community banking,” Michael Morris, chairman of the bank’s board, said in a release.