Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

He Doesn't Play the Numbers Game

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

He Doesn't Play the Numbers Game

Article excerpt

Silicon Valley, home of the wealthy movers and shakers that drive much of the computer industry, is attractive to many financial institutions in California. But with suitors lining up outside its door, the valley can play hard to get.

James C. Wall, president of the Bank of Los Altos, a $70-million bank in Los Altos, Calif., which is contiguous to the valley, believes his bank will differentiate itself by adding a personal touch.

"Given the demographics of this area--where there is still a very strong market interested in people-to-people service--we feel the basic task of the community bank of the future is to deliver old-style, hands-on personalized service while still utilizing technology," says Wall.

Formerly known as Foothill Bank, the Bank of Los Altos was bought in February 1995 by a local investor group. The new owners were intent on transforming the bank from an institution that mainly serviced business-equipment leases generated by the former holding company into a community bank that offered a full array of services to the local communities. The investors changed the name to associate the bank with its primary market and recruited Wall to do the make-over.

"I am convinced there is a great opportunity for small banks as the big banks grow and start banging each other over the head for market share," says Wall. …

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