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Santa Cruz County Bank earns excellent rating

March 19, 2009

By Jondi Gumz - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz County Bank is one of five banks singled out as exceptional in a difficult market by Findley Reports, an industry newsletter.

The other four operate in other areas of the state.

The rating, which takes into account the size of the bank's assets, is based on year-end 2008 financial information and performance since inception.

Santa Cruz County Bank, founded in 2004, was rated tops in the under $200 million in assets category. Although the bank ended the year with more than $200 million in assets, its average for the year was under that amount.

Gary Findley, who pens the Findley Reports, cited these factors in recognizing the bank:

* Growing asset base, about $229 million "without going crazy on the loan totals, currently approximately $136.7 million."

* Aggressive loan loss reserve provisions - $1.7 million - to be prepared for the market place.

* Solid deposit growth, with deposits in excess of $207 million at year's end.

* Funds available to loan, with a loan-to-deposit ratio of approximately 66 percent.

* A relatively clean balance sheet, with no non-accrual loans and no loans 90 days past due.

Though the bank ended 2008 with only $17,000 in income, Findley sees it as well positioned for the future.

"This is an entity that will be able to grow its loan portfolio as well as continue to build its franchise," he said.

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