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Bank of SC opens third branch

New location in the Plaza at Golden Valley

Posted: March 11, 2009 7:14 p.m.
Updated: March 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Construction managers, David Evilsizer, left, and Ken Green remove plywood sheets as the Bank of Santa Clarita ATM machines are unveiled in the Plaza at Golden Valley Wednesday.

  1. As public fear continues to escalate over shortfalls of major banks, Bank of Santa Clarita sweeps into the Plaza at Golden Valley with the "traditional" community banking feel of its third branch which opened today.

"It's the third addition to what we could see as a further footprint in this valley," said Executive Vice President Kim Altobello of the bank with two other branches at Tourney Road in Valencia and Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

"We have operated under a core background of sound banking," said Jim Hicken, the bank's president and CEO. "We're a bank that finances traditional needs. We stayed out of the real estate development that was highly speculative."
Bank of Santa Clarita, the only independent, full-service, commercial bank headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley, recently reported significantly improved earnings for 2008 from 2007. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 grew to $351,000 compared with $73,000 for the fourth quarter of 2007.

About two years ago, co-founders Hicken, Altobello and Frank Di Tomaso, a vice chairman, took a research road trip to visit various community banks throughout California.

"Bringing the best ideas of the best community banks to our community," was the goal, said Di Tomaso.

From the mahogany-based teller windows to the coffee counter and a comfortable reading area, the owners have tried to convey an atmosphere that reflects a community bank.

According to Di Tomaso, the bank is representative of what is being called "Main Street community banking," and it's the segment of the industry that's doing well, he said.

"When you have a relationship with your banker, it just makes a world of a difference. In today's time of uncertainty, having that personal relationship makes the difference between sleeping at night or laying awake with fear," Hicken said.

Hicken said the owners can relate with the small business owner who simply started with a vision.

"This isn't just a job, this is something we've built, developed from a concept to a dream," he said.

The new branch at 19045 Golden Valley Road will employ a staff of four but said it plans to adjust in the future, if client volume calls for an increase.

"I make a point in telling (the staff) no matter what their position is, they're all an important part of the team," Altobello said.


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