Area bank back on solid footing

Pacific Capital Bancorp, parent company of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, continues on a sound financial path since it received a much-needed capital infusion from a Texas-based private equity firm last year.

The bank reported net income of $20.5 million in the third quarter of this year, which ended Sept. 30, compared with $21 million in the previous quarter, which ended June 30.

The bank’s total net income is $84 million since the closing of the $500 million investment from a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Financial Fund on Aug. 31, 2010.

Pacific Capital bought First Bank of San Luis Obispo in 2005, and in July of this year rebranded its branches to the Santa Barbara Bank and Trust name.

The bank has increased its regulatory capital ratios and is considered well capitalized under federal regulatory guidelines.

It also continues to execute its strategic plan, focusing on core deposit growth, increasing loans to private and commercial clients, and enhancing technology and operational infrastructure.

“We’ve achieved strong earnings performance, effectively managed credit issues from the company’s legacy loan portfolio, reintroduced lending products within our footprint, and continue to grow our core deposit base,” said Carl B. Webb, chief executive officer of Pacific Capital Bancorp. “At the same time, our capital levels have continued to grow stronger each quarter, and today, our capital significantly exceeds the regulatory levels to be considered a well capitalized financial institution.”

With $5.8 billion in assets, Pacific Capital Bancorp is the parent company of Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, a nationally chartered bank based in Santa Barbara, which operates 47 branches on the Central Coast.

There are three branch locations in San Luis Obispo County.

In 2009, the company entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency -— the government agency that regulates nationally chartered banks — to ensure that it maintained certain ratios for capital and managed the risk in its real estate portfolios.

Last year’s capital infusion came at a critical time for the bank. Regulators had given the company until Sept. 8, 2010, to submit an acceptable capital plan or face having to sell, merge or liquidate.