The Board of Directors and Management of Premier Business Bank ("Premier") continue to share with you 'OUR STORY'. The long and interesting road to becoming a successful community bank in a very difficult time in banking history.
2006 | Open for Business
Premier Business Bank opened for business in downtown Los Angeles, California as a full-service, high-tech business bank. With a client centric service philosophy, Premier's focus was on serving the small to mid-size businesses, family-owned and closely-held middle market businesses, real estate investors, professional management firms, and entrepreneurs.
As with most new (de novo) banks, it takes a few years to reach profitability after absorbing the organizational costs associated with building the operational foundation of a new start up bank. But, rarely does a new bank face the collapse of the local, national and world economies shortly after opening its doors. Although Premier did not have many of the problems that other banks experienced with loan assets, it was adversely affected by the recession as it took longer than projected to become profitable.
2010 | New Management and Profits
John Polen was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Premier Business Bank in April. Mr. Polen was most recently the Founder and CEO of The Bank of Palos Verdes (I.O.). Prior to that, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Malaga Bank in Palos Verdes, California. Mr. Polen is also a certified public accountant. With his extensive experience in bank management, lending, and finance, he immediately began re-engineering the bank's strategies and operational infrastructure. The result of this effort successfully improved operational efficiencies and reduced non-interest expenses (overhead). The combination of a performing loan portfolio and a lower cost of funds increased the net interest margins. This increase coupled with the reduction in overhead expenses allowed Premier Business Bank to become profitable.
In June, Premier reported it had not only passed the breakeven point to profitability, but also recorded its first quarter of positive earnings. By the end of the year, it had reported three consecutive quarters of profitability.
Looking back, the evolution to profitability was a significant milestone for Premier considering the economic environment and challenges faced by the bank as well as the banking industry as a whole over the past several years. Fortunately, Premier did not have many of the problems other community banks experienced with construction loans, land loans, or sub-prime loans. In fact in 2010 Premier had no non-performing loans or real estate owned, which is attributed to the prudent stewardship of the bank's loan portfolio since the inception of the bank and the continued commitment to maintaining excellent credit quality.
At the same time, Mr. Polen was building a strong Management Team. Randall T. Hata joined Premier as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer who helped strengthen Premier in the areas of accounting, finance, operations strategic planning and corporate administration. The same year, Kristy Smith was appointed Senior Vice President of Compliance and Operations. Ms. Smith brought extensive knowledge and experience in this area to the bank.
2011 | Building a Strong Platform for Growth
Premier's focus for 2011 remained on further developing the management and business development team to strengthen our banking platform and position the bank for growth. The strong Los Angeles business development team continued to effectively manage client relationships and develop new relationships for the bank. In March, Premier implemented the first phase of its expansion plan by opening a Torrance-based Loan Center in the South Bay. This market area was chosen based on the valuable long-term client relationships with our experienced executive management team and to build upon those business and community relationships in a familiar market place. Ms. Debbie Richardson joined Premier as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development to expand the bank's presence in the South Bay area. Her background included managing retail banking operations, marketing and community relations in this area.
At the end of the year, Premier announced four more quarters of profitability for 2011, and a record breaking six consecutive quarters of positive earnings in the bank's short six year history. Premier's consistent operating profits for the past six quarters contributed to the bank's strong capital position. With a stable platform of experienced management, consistent earnings, and quality assets, the goal was to advance the bank to the next level of becoming a valuable community bank franchise. The three critical components to achieving this goal were ; 1) growing the bank's assets to approximately $300 million to $500 million, 2) generating consistent earnings, and 3) ensuring a loyal client base. Focused on the strategic goals, Premier planned to open new offices, have another stock offering, and expand its presence into new markets.
2012 | Expansion and Growth
This was a very productive and successful year. First and foremost, Premier reported positive earnings in all four quarters of 2012, for a record breaking 11 consecutive quarters of profitability. In June and again in December, Premier earned the highest rating (5-Stars) from BAUER FINANCIAL, the nation's leading independent bank rating and research firm. To earn this TOP 5-Star rating, Premier had excelled in the areas of capital adequacy, profitability, and asset quality to name just a few. In July, MSN Money named Premier as one of the 359 safest banks in America, of which only sixteen of those banks were located in California. There are 251 banks chartered in California, and more than 7,300 banks in the United States today.
By September, Premier had expanded its footprint in the South Bay opening a new full-service retail branch on the Palos Verdes Peninsula located on the best corner in the business district. The new branch, named Premier Bank of Palos Verdes a division of Premier Business Bank, would offer a full array of banking products and services to both the business community and residents. Premier's client-centric focus on the individual needs of the client now extended to the Peninsula offering customized banking solutions, flexibility, and loan decisions made locally and timely. This truly unique banking approach continues to set Premier apart from local competitors and the one-size-fits-all banks. Please stop by the Palos Verdes branch to meet our professional banking team and experience the upscale and sophisticated service environment that our clients have come to know at Premier.
In 3rd quarter, Premier also launched its second capital campaign to raise funds for asset growth to fund excellent loan funding opportunities that continued to become available in the market place. This private placement offering to accredited investors resulted in over $3.0 million in new capital, which allowed Premier to further expand its asset base to generate increased earnings.
All of us at Premier are very proud of our accomplishments in 2012, and honored to be named one of the safest and top performing banks in America by MSN Money and BAUER FINANCIAL. As we move forward in 2013, we remain steadfast in maintaining a strong financial position and in ensuring your trust and confidence in Premier.
Our Story will continue to grow and we'll keep you informed of our progress. Thank you for your interest and support of Premier Business Bank and Premier Bank of Palos Verdes.
John R. Polen
President and CEO