Westlands Diversified Bancorp Inc., the Santa Ana holding company for Commercial Center Bank, said Thursday it has hired longtime San Diego banker E.G. Cunningham as president and chief operating officer in an effort to fatten up the bank for an eventual sale.
Cunningham, 49, who has 23 years of banking experience, takes over strategic planning for a company and a bank that have enough capital to nearly triple their current size to $1 billion in assets. Cunningham replaces Robert Heisz, who became a full-time consultant to the company.
Westlands is owned by the failed Canadian Commercial Bank in Edmonton, Alberta, which Canadian regulators closed Aug. 31. Cunningham said the court-appointed liquidator, Price Waterhouse Inc., brought him in to bolster the bank so that it can be sold several years from now.
Cunningham was the founder, chairman and president of First National Corp., the holding company for First National Bank in San Diego. That bank was the primary banker for J. David & Co., the La Jolla investment firm that collapsed in February, 1984. Owner J. David Dominelli was sentenced to 20 years in a federal prison after pleading guilty last June to three counts of mail fraud and bankruptcy fraud and one count of income tax evasion. Prosecutors said J. David investors collectively lost an estimated $200 million.