Magazine article American Banker

Western Alliance, Investor Group Join Forces on Start-Up

Magazine article American Banker

Western Alliance, Investor Group Join Forces on Start-Up

Article excerpt

Western Alliance Bancorp in Las Vegas is teaming up with an investor group to start a bank in Oakland, Calif.

The Oakland group, led by the banker Arnold T. Grisham, filed an application late last year to open Alta California Bank late this year. However, on Wednesday the $3.3 billion-asset Western Alliance announced a deal with the group for the start-up to become a subsidiary, with Mr. Grisham serving as its president and chief executive.

Mr. Grisham and his group would ante up $7 million to $9 million of capital for Western Alliance, which in turn would capitalize the start-up with up to $25 million.

Robert Sarver, Western Alliance's chairman and chief executive, said it had been eyeing the San Francisco Bay Area, particularly markets east of Oakland in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, where there are many new small businesses.

It was opportune to be able to team up with Mr. Grisham and his group, Mr. Sarver said. "They've been able to put together a great group of officers, directors, and organizers who will provide a good foundation for the bank."

Alta California Bank would be Western Alliance's third start-up. In 2003 it opened Alliance Bank in Phoenix and Torrey Pines Bank in San Diego. The two banks combined now have close to $1 billion of assets.

Since raising $85 million in an initial public offering in June, Western Alliance has also been acquisitive. Last month it bought the $463 million-asset Intermountain First Bancorp in Las Vegas, and this quarter plans it to complete a deal for the $254 million-asset Bank of Nevada, also of Las Vegas. …

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