Magazine article American Banker

Banc of California Is Ready to Return to Offense, CEO Says

Magazine article American Banker

Banc of California Is Ready to Return to Offense, CEO Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Allison Prang

Banc of California in Irvine is ready to put its best foot forward.

The $10.4 billion-asset company is in the early stages of "reorienting" itself, CEO Doug Bowers told attendees at a Tuesday banking conference in New York hosted by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

Bowers, a former Bank of America executive who took the helm in May, said management is focused on reducing its reliance on brokered deposits, booking more loans and hiring new staff.

Any hint that Banc of California is ready to play offense is notable given the struggles it has faced in the past year. Certain investors last year accused executives and directors of questionable insider dealings, including a potential conflict of interest tied to the company's decision to buy the naming rights to a soccer stadium.

Steven Sugarman abruptly resigned as CEO in January, around the time that the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating whether the company made false statements in an October press release.

Several corporate governance changes ensued. Directors separated the chairman and CEO roles and added representatives from several investors to the board. An independent investigation launched by the board in February absolved the company and its independent directors of any improper third-party dealings.

During Tuesday's presentation, Bowers portrayed the company as one that is now focused on the future. He said he wants to turn Banc of California into more of a "spread-based" institution in a period of rising interest rates. …

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