|Copyright: </td>||(c) 2010 SourceMedia Inc , Source: The Financial Times Limited|
|Source:||Financial Times Limited|
Formerly the president and chief executive of the failed
Mitchell said in an interview Tuesday that the failures of banks like his former one have left a fragmented
“In this transaction, we capitalized the thrift in a way that allows it to flourish just through organic growth,” he said. California National capsized after massive securities writedowns torpedoed its out-of-state parent.
“There are a lot of smaller institutions that maybe are not profitable or whose business plans are no longer viable in the new regulatory framework,” he added. “Many of them will choose to partner with us. We don’t have the capacity to take them all, but we hope four or five will join us on the journey.”
Familiar faces have already signed on. This week Mitchell hired for key roles at First PacTrust four former executives from California National’s growth years. He even recruited the
With new capital, an experienced team and a hunger for growth, First PacTrust joins a group of companies with deep pockets that are looking to consolidate in
The group includes
“It sounds like they are looking to become a strong force in
“Although we are seeing more of these sorts of deals, there is still a need,” Levenson said. “There are plenty of banks that are scratched up and dented that are going to need an alternative.”
That is particularly true in
“He will be a good guide for us as we navigate the arena of struggling banks,” Mitchell said.
If the right opportunities come along, he said, he would like to expand to
The company also filed a registration statement last month to raise as much as
Mitchell said that, though he has no immediate plan to raise more capital, the company wants to be prepared should a golden opportunity arise.
“We want to keep our powder dry,” Mitchell said. “The shelf [registration] makes capital readily available should we need it.”
Mitchell and his reunited colleagues are experienced builders. They expanded California National’s asset size from
Mix said Mitchell has a good reputation and that regulators would not have approved him to lead another bank if they had linked California National’s failure to his management.
“From what I know of the bank, they were conservative in their practices, which made the failure all the more unexpected,” Mix said.
Mitchell is not only interested in acquisitions. First PacTrust is poised to grow to
Customers and employees of failed banks are often unhappy, Mitchell said, particularly if their bank is bought by a larger bank. These customers and employees are First PacTrust’s prime targets.
“If you are a community banker that likes ‘Mayberry,’ and you are suddenly thrust into a money-center bank, you miss that connection,” Mitchell said. “If you look at the number of assets that have changed hands in the last two years, you can see how much opportunity there is.”