Friday, January 30, 2009

Valley Republic Bank: Local bigs go against the grain and open new local bank

What do these guys know that we don't? At a time when the financial industry is in shambles, some of the biggest names in Bakersfield have formed a new bank: Valley Republic Bank. Led by folks like former Aera CEO Gene Voiland and Tejon Ranch CEO Bob Stine, (pictured here) the bank wanted to raise $20 million but instead managed to raise an easy $25 million, reflecting what Stine told me was "real faith that the people of Bakersfield have in their community" during hard times. The Board of Directors reads like a "who's who" in Bakersfield: besides Voiland and Stine, it includes developer Greg Bynum, Bolthouse Properties LLC president Tony Leggio, oncologist Dr. Shawn Shambaugh and Warner Williams, VP of Chevron North America. Insiders say these guys will compete with locally owned San Joaquin Bank for commercial accounts, but that once the Central Valley starts to grow again, there should be plenty of room for both to succeed. Bruce Jay, a longtime Bakersfield banker, will serve as president and CEO.

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