Magazine article American Banker

Group Raises $30M for Proposed De Novo in Southern California

Magazine article American Banker

Group Raises $30M for Proposed De Novo in Southern California

Article excerpt

Byline: Andy Peters

After the financial crisis led to a long nationwide drought in the creation of new banks, the second de novo bank application in less than a year has been submitted in California.

A group led by the Gallaher family of Windsor, Calif., has filed for approval of Blue Gate Bank, to be based in Costa Mesa, Calif. The group has raised $30 million of equity and hopes to receive regulatory approval in the second quarter, said Gary Findley, an Anaheim, Calif., attorney who is advising the group.

The Gallaher family is also the principal shareholder group of the $957 million-asset First Community Bank in Santa Rosa, Calif. The family also owns Oakmont Senior Living, which has a facility in Orange County, and they are familiar with the area, Findley said.

"They like what they did in Santa Rosa with First Community and they like the market in Orange County," Findley said. "They want to operate a long-term entity here and they feel they've got the management team to do it."

They have recruited Chris Walsh, former chief executive of the $938 million-asset Sunwest Bank in Irvine, Calif., to be Blue Gate's CEO. The group has also hired former executives from the $3.6 billion-asset Community Bank in Pasadena, Calif.

Blue Gate will focus on commercial and industrial lending, commercial real estate and small-business lending, Findley said. It will start with its headquarters office and retail branch in Costa Mesa, and also a loan production office in Roseville, Calif. …

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