California United Bank (CUNB-OTC: BB)
March 5, 2010 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Exceeding Their Growth Goals, California United Bank Is Right On Track With The Aggressive Business Plan Established When They Opened Their Doors Five Years Ago
California United Bank provides a full range of financial services, including credit and deposit products, cash management, and Internet banking for businesses and high net worth individuals. The Bank operates from its headquarters office at 15821 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 100, Encino, CA 91436; West Los Angeles Regional Office at 1640 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 114, Los Angeles, CA 90025; Santa Clarita Valley Regional Office at 25350 Magic Mountain Parkway, Suite 100, Valencia, CA 91355; Conejo Valley Loan Production Office at 4333 Park Terrace Drive, Suite 215, Westlake Village, CA 91361 and South Bay Loan Production Office at 1025 W. 190th Street, Suite 225, Gardena, CA 90248.
David I. Rainer, age 52 and resident of Encino, California is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of California United Bank. He was previously California State President for US Bank and Executive Vice president of Commercial Banking for US Bank, in which capacity he led the commercial banking operations for US Bank in the Western United States, from Colorado to California. In February 1999, Mr. Rainer became President and Chief Executive Officer of Santa Monica Bank which was acquired by US Bank in November 1999.
Before joining Santa Monica Bank in February 1999, Mr. Rainer was President and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Century Bank, formerly California United Bank. Mr. Rainer joined California United Bank in June 1992 as Executive Vice President and was appointed Chief Operating Officer later that year. He was promoted to President of the Bank in 1994 and in 1995 was also named President and Chief Operating Officer of its parent company, CU Bancorp. Mr. Rainer was a director of California United Bank and CU Bancorp.
Mr. Rainer obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from California State University, Northridge. He earned a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
Mr. Rainer was a director of the California Bankers Association. He is a former director of the Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles, the Inner City Arts, Los Angeles Urban League, and Junior Achievement of Southern California, the Santa Monica College Foundation and Operation Hope. Mr. Rainer was honored by the City of Hope as the Man of the Year in 2002.
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFOinterviews.com, Published – March 5, 2010
Mr. Rainer: A little less than five years, along with a core group of banking leaders from the Los Angeles banking community, I began to notice the disappearing trend of high touch, old fashioned, customer service oriented banking institutions. We established CUB in order to provide small and medium sized businesses in Los Angeles an opportunity to bank at such an institution, and that is exactly what we have done.
CEOCFO: Where are you today?
Mr. Rainer: While you cannot turn on the television without hearing about another failed banking institution, CUB is in a completely different class. In every quantifiable measurement of a banks strength (including Tier 1 Leverage Capital) we not only meet standards set by the FDIC, we significantly exceed them. These are just some of the reasons why Bauer Financial rates us a 5-star banking institution.
CEOCFO: What types of business are your focus?
Mr. Rainer: We focus on three areas. First, we have traditional business banking products, and provide basic products and services (including credit and cash management services) for growing entrepreneurial, small, and medium sized businesses. Secondly, we provide private banking for entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals. Lastly, we do SOME commercial real estate lending, mostly based on our overall relationship with the principals. We are not a real estate bank, but rather a bank that can do real estate. Combining these three areas of focus with strong customer and personal service keep us diversified in relation to many of our peer banks.
CEOCFO: What does it mean to put the power of CUB to work for you; what do you do for your customer that is different?
Mr. Rainer: This slogan is summed up in one word: attention. We pay attention to our customers, to banking trends, to technology, and to our community. To that end, there are no 800-numbers in the bank, every account has a Relationship Manager that is engaged on a daily basis with the customer and the rest of the CUB team to ensure optimal service. Every client has access to all of the executives and decision-makers in the bank, including myself. CUB does not win our business by aggressive pricing or aggressive lending, we win it by convincing people that we can provide them a level of service where they feel like a person instead of a number. The results of this level of attention are evident daily when our customers refer us to their friends and associates.
CEOCFO: What, if anything, has changed in your approach over the last couple of years given the macro environment, and how do you reassure your customers who are dealing with the current economic climate?
Mr. Rainer: Things have changed a lot. Certainly when we put the bank together four and a half years ago, none of us really anticipated this kind of an economy. While it has presented us with some challenges, it has also given us some great opportunities. I think that the fact that we are small has not impeded our growth because we raised a record amount of capital at the banks inception. While CUB is not alone in receiving heightened scrutiny to our financial health and capital levels, we have turned that into an opportunity to leverage our strong financial position to take advantage of growth opportunities in the marketplace. Over the past two years while the economy was in a tailspin and the banking business faced more challenges than ever before, CUB has seen significant deposit growth. We may be on the small side, but our reputation and financial strength (specifically our capital ratios that are some of the best in LA), have really played to our advantage.
CEOCFO: What do you look for in a new customer as your relationship oriented approach requires a certain level of customer participation?
Mr. Rainer: Certainly, if there is an extension of credit involved, we look at many different things. We look at all the fundamentals of the business and the financial trends, the reputation of the company and the quality of the people that own and run these companies. I think that when you are dealing with small businesses, the most critical asset is the management, so we try to do a lot of analysis and assessment of the intangibles. After gathering all of that data, we look at a combination of management, cash flow, and collateral to drive the ultimate credit decision.
CEOCFO: You are doing some expansion into newer markets; what is happening there for you?
Mr. Rainer: That has been very exciting for us. The original game plan, which has been executed completely, was to raise a lot of capital and launch several locations during the first three years. However, because of turmoil in the industry, we have recently run across an opportunity to hire some reputable and experienced bankers. This has been done with special attention to our corporate culture and philosophy, as well as tying it to geographical regions that are primed for an institution such as ours to succeed.
CEOCFO: A lot of business-oriented banks don’t have much branch activity; do you need to increase your physical presence?
Mr. Rainer: We have very few people that actually come in and transact business in the branch because they are able to complete most of their business through remote deposit and couriers. Our branches really serve another purpose for us and that is why we like to have different locations. CUB uses our branches for meetings that bring community groups and businesses into the location for non-banking related activities. People are used to seeing banks appear and then disappear, so most importantly when a branch opens in a community, it signals that there is a long-term commitment on our part. Additionally, we have developed advisory boards in some of our regions, which include prominent business people in the community to keep a pulse on the area and represent our bank in public.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us more about giving back to the community?
Mr. Rainer: It is a big focus of ours and that comes from straight from the top. Our executive team has a historical record of heavy involvement in the community. This has been an ongoing commitment since CUB’s establishment. We believe that because banks benefit from local community based businesses, we should certainly be trying to do whatever we can to put our resources into making the region a better place. We do have a little bit of a bias towards supporting non-profits with kids, highlighted by our three-year commitment to the West Valley Boys and Girls Club (we raised over $400,000). At CUB, we have been able to balance the inside with the outside and made it a high priority for all of our people to spend time volunteering and serving on nonprofit boards.
CEOCFO: Do you find that many of your customers are doing their personal banking with CUB?
Mr. Rainer: For the most part, business owners are doing their personal banking here. When we take on a new account, we expect them to give us all their banking business, including the owners of the business; and they are generally willing to do that.
CEOCFO: What is ahead for the bank?
Mr. Rainer: As we navigate through this challenging environment, I believe we are going to see a variety of opportunities. Within the past few weeks, we have been able to bring on nine new employees, who are experienced bankers from a local bank that was taken over by the FDIC, and that typifies our strategy. As we move forward, we are going to continue to look for the best bankers in the greater LA area and if that allows us to get into an adjacent geographic area, we are going to continue to expand. The trick in our business is finding the A-players out there, and there is a finite amount of them. As long as we are successful recruiting the top bankers in town, we are going to go against the grain in our industry and continue to expand.
CEOCFO: In closing, why should potential investors pay attention to California United Bank?
When the economy fully recovers and the banking sector stabilizes, I think
there are going to be fewer banks and CUB is going to be one that not only
survives, but thrives. At this particular point in time, as evidenced by our
first four and a half years, we are growing each day. The history of this
management team is one of past banking success and it is a good bet that we
are going to be around for the long haul, and continue to be one of the
premiere banking institutions in the Los Angeles Market.
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