Coast National Bank ready for growth after setbacks, CEO says

Nearly two months ago the federal consent order requiring Coast National Bank to strengthen its financial performance was lifted. But an informal agreement required it to make sure the bank maintains enough capital — cushion to protect against losses and support future growth.

It has now accomplished that.

Coast Bancorp, which owns Coast National Bank, said it has raised $6.8 million by issuing 4.8 million shares of common stock and arranging $2 million in loans. It closed the transaction Thursday.

For the past several years, like other banks, Coast National has been working to improve its credit issues caused by problem loans generated during the recession. It also has taken steps to cut costs and staff and invest in more efficient technology, said Anita Robinson, president and chief executive officer of both the company and Coast National Bank.

As a result, she said, Coast National is now poised to grow and take advantage of changes in the local banking market as one of the few remaining community banks in San Luis Obispo County.

It will continue its focus on small business lending, Robinson said.

For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013, Coast National Bank was the only lender in San Luis Obispo County to provide more than a dozen Small Business Administration loans, according to the SBA.

Coast National, established in 1997 in San Luis Obispo, reported 2013 year-end total assets of $120 million, up 6.9 percent from the year-earlier period, and total deposits of $111.6 million, up 6.7 percent.

Net profits were $1 million, up significantly from the $88,000 net profit reported in 2012.