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Community West Bank expanding into San Luis Obispo

By   /   Wednesday, December 30th, 2015  /   Comments Off on Community West Bank expanding into San Luis Obispo

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Goleta-based Community West Bank plans to open a new branch in San Luis Obispo.

Community West, which is owned by Community West Bancshares, looks to debut a full-service branch at 4464 Broad Street — its first in San Luis Obispo County. Its sixth tri-county location, pending approval from federal regulators, would open in the third or fourth quarter of 2016.

The new branch would replace its San Luis Obispo loan production office, which opened at 1977 Santa Barbara Ave. in September.

“There has been significant consolidation among community banks in recent years, and some of the regional and national banks have closed branches and cut back on service,” Community West President and CEO Martin Plourd said in a news release. “There’s room in San Luis Obispo County for the flexible and responsive service that locally owned and operated Community West Bank provides.”

Two of the most recent consolidations include Citizens Business Bank acquiring County Commerce Bank and American Riviera Bank merging with The Bank of Santa Barbara. Those deals are expected to close in February and January of 2016, respectively.

Like other banks that’ve snatched up area talent as they’ve expanded their Central Coast presence, Community West recently hired Bill Filippin as the executive vice president. He worked with San Luis Obispo-based Heritage Oaks Bank (and Mission Community Bank until it was merged into Heritage in 2014) since 2009. Community West also appointed James Lokey to its board. He has more than 42 years of bank management experience and ties to San Luis Obispo County.

“Serving San Luis Obispo is an integral part of our strategy to grow Community West Bank’s presence on California’s Central Coast,” Lokey said in the news release.

Several other banks, including Rabobank and Citizens Business Bank, are growing throughout the Tri-Counties. Ontario-based Citizens recently opened a downtown Santa Barbara branch while Rabobank recently unveiled a loan servicing office in Santa Maria and looks to expand further north. Both banks are focusing their lending on small- to mid-size businesses.

Community West filed its application for the new branch with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Dec. 21. The bank has about $600 million in assets and branches in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura and Westlake Village.

The bank closed its real estate lending division in August to concentrate on commercial lending and manufactured-home mortgages, Plourd said. The company did not specify if any employees were impacted.

The bank will continue to look for opportunities to grow in San Luis Obispo County, the company said.

• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]

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