Pacific Capital Bancorp, the parent company of First Bank of San Luis Obispo, closed its $500 million investment deal with a private equity fund headed by Texas billionaire Gerald J. Ford, the company announced Tuesday.
“We are very pleased to join the Pacific Capital family,” said Ford, managing member of the Ford Financial Fund, in a news release. “We are career bankers committed to the long-term operations of our banking partners. This is an outstanding community bank operating in some of the best markets in California. Combine that with Pacific Capital’s long history, deep community roots, and exceptional employees, and you have a very powerful formula for long-term success.”
The infusion of capital from SB Acquisition Company LLC, a subsidiary of Ford Financial Fund, came at a critical time for Pacific Capital Bancorp. The company had been under the scrutiny of federal regulators and in May, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — regulator of nationally chartered banks — gave the company until Sept. 8 to submit an acceptable capital plan or face having to sell, merge or liquidate.
The company recorded a net loss of $61 million for the second quarter of this year, compared with a net loss of $362 million for the same period a year ago.
The deal has again positioned Pacific Capital as “one of the strongest community banks in California,” said Carl B. Webb, senior principal with Ford Financial Fund.
Webb added in a statement that the company will be able to offer “a full selection of products and services that are competitive with those at much larger financial institutions.”
He has been appointed chief executive officer, member of the board of directors of the company and chairman of the board of the bank.
George S. Leis, former CEO of Pacific Capital Bancorp, has been appointed president and chief operating officer of the company and the bank. Leis said in a news release that the closing of the deal signaled an important day “for all stakeholders in our bank — customers, community partners, employees and shareholders.”
“Our loyal customers retain their longtime local bank, our local nonprofit organizations continue to receive much-needed financial support, our employees continue in their jobs, and our shareholders now have the opportunity to make investment decisions about a company that is once again among the strongest community banks in California,” he said.
Pacific Capital Bancorp, which has $7.1 billion in assets, is the parent company of Pacific Capital Bank, N.A., a nationally chartered bank that operates 48 branches under the names of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, First National Bank of Central California, South Valley National Bank, San Benito Bank and First Bank of San Luis Obispo.
There are three First Bank of San Luis Obispo branches in the county, the only such branches under that brand. As of May 11, the bank employed 31 people in the county out of 1,068 employees’ companywide, a company spokeswoman told The Tribune last month.
— Julie Lynem
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Local business experts will present topics to Atascadero Main Street members through a new effort to help local business. The meetings, held by Main Street’s board of directors, are planned for 5:30 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at 6550 El Camino Real in Atascadero. The first meeting, planned for Thursday, will feature Mike Manchak of the Economic Vitality Corp. discussing ways the group supports new and existing businesses in San Luis Obispo County. Those interested in attending can call 462-0177 or e-mail email@example.com.
— Tonya Strickland