Ten nonprofits from across th region received grants on March 14 as Montecito Bank & Trust prepared to celebrate its 37th anniversary and it 20th year of adding a philanthropic twist to the festivities.
The bank’s employees selected the 10 organizations, which included All for Animals, Alzheimer’s Association, American Heart Association, Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, FOOD Share of Ventura County, Life Without Limbs, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Santa Ynez Valley Fruit & Vegetable Rescue and Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care.
With assets of slightly more than $1 billion and nine branches from Solvang to Westlake Village, Montecito Bank & Trust will be the largest independent bank based in Santa Barbara County when Santa Barbara Bank & Trust’s sale to Union Bank, announced March 12, is completed later this year.
Michael Towbes, co-founder, owner and chairman of Montecito Bank & Trust, recalled how he started a commercial bank because an earlier effort to get a savings and loan charter faltered. He said that the bank, which started in a trailer on Coast Village Road, nearly didn’t open on time because the trailer was one inch too wide and failed to get approval from the California Highway Patrol to navigate the Conejo Grade.
He said a local assembly member was able to contact the CHP and get the necessary approvals so the bank could open on St. Patrick’s Day in 1975. The Anniversary Grants program was launched on March 17, 1993.