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County bank expands again: Scotts Valley up next

October 7, 2004

The following is an article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel

County bank expands again: Scotts Valley up next By GWEN MICKELSON Sentinel staff writer SCOTTS VALLEY — In what’s been a flurry of bank activity in the past year, the county’s only locally owned bank is opening its second of three planned offices, this one in Scotts Valley. Santa Cruz County Bank opened in February. The Scotts Valley branch, at 4604 Scotts Valley Drive, will open in mid-November, according to Chuck Maffia, who will head the office. In August, Santa Cruz County Bank announced plans to open a branch in Watsonville in February. "We can truly say we’re throughout the county," Maffia said. The county has experienced high activity in the financial institution sector in the past year. It’s all a part of a decade of unprecedented prosperity for banks, according to John Rossell, Santa Cruz County Bank president and chief executive officer. In August 2003, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union opened a new main branch in downtown Santa Cruz. In October, Monterey Bay Bank was acquired by UnionBanCal Corp., the parent company of Union Bank of California. In November, Bay Federal Credit Union, the county’s largest locally owned credit union, was granted a charter expansion to provide retail banking services in Monterey and San Benito counties. In December, Bank of America opened a mortgage-lending office on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. In July, Salinas-based Community Bank of Central California opened a Santa Cruz branch. Rossell chalks up the activity to changes brought on by recession. "In California, since the banking industry came out of the very difficult real estate-centered recession of the late ’80s and early ’90s, banks have reorganized and improved greatly their loan portfolios, and have enjoyed about a 10-year period of unprecedented prosperity," he said. "This is particularly true of banks in California, where there has been a tremendous appreciation in the value of real estate." He attributes the growth in deposits in the county to some reshuffling from larger banks to smaller banks, but also to population growth. Scotts Valley is home to several bank branches, including Bank of America, Coast Commercial Bank, Comerica Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and World Savings Bank. Rossell said the bank always planned to open a Scotts Valley branch, and when they found both the right person to head the branch as well as a favorable lease, the idea jelled. But he also said management thought the addition would be profitable for the bank. Maffia’s experience includes 17 years as manager of the Scotts Valley branch of Bank of America. His career with Bank of America spanned more than 30 years, and he served for two years as a manager with First National Bank in Watsonville. His career, however, has not included opening an office, he said. "The challenge to build a bank in what I consider my hometown is a tremendous opportunity, and I’m energized and look forward to it," Maffia said. Rick Hofstetter, president and chief executive officer of Coast Commercial Bank, which has a Scotts Valley branch, said he was not surprised Santa Cruz County Bank was expanding into Scotts Valley. "It’s not unexpected that they would try to expand in the county and elect to expand in the Scotts Valley area," he said. "It’s a good market, and all the major institutions, including ourselves, are represented here." Santa Cruz County Bank has total assets of about $41 million after seven months of operations, according to Rossell. Deposits total $30 million. Rossell said the bank expects the Scotts Valley branch to experience a more moderate rate of growth than Santa Cruz or Watsonville because Scotts Valley is more consumer-oriented. The bank is accepting deposits for the Scotts Valley and Watsonville offices and is offering its customers courier service, online banking and other services prior to opening. The branch will open with four full-time employees and one part-timer. The branch will include parking, a walkup ATM and night depository. Contact Gwen Mickelson at gmickelson@santacruzsentinel.com. Santa Cruz County Bank WHAT: Privately owned community bank based in Santa Cruz with a Scotts Valley branch opening in November and one in Watsonville in February. HEADQUARTERS: 325 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. BACKGROUND: Opened in February after public stock offering. EMPLOYEES: 18. LEADERSHIP: John Rossell, president and chief executive officer. DIRECTORS: Chairman George Gallucci, vice chairman William Hansen, Kenneth Chappell, Thomas Griffin, Tila Guerrero, David Heald, Steven John and John Rossell. INFORMATION: 457-5000; www.sccountybank.com. STOCK PRICE: Shares, trading on Over the Counter Bulletin Board as SCZC.OB, listed at $14.80. It last traded July 27. The 52-week range is $10-15. FINANCIALS: After seven months, deposits were about $30 million with assets of about $41 million.

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