Daniel J. Geary Jr., the president and chief executive of Warner Center Bank for the last four years, has been dismissed, officials of the Woodland Hills-based bank disclosed Monday. Geary was replaced by Terry H. Downard, a vice president for commercial loans since September, 1982.
Geary could not be reached for comment. The board, in a prepared statement, said he left over "philosophical differences."
In an interview, however, Downard said the bank's board fired Geary last Tuesday after he declined to resign. Downard said Warner Center Bank's board clashed with Geary over such issues as setting the bank's prime lending rate, the posted interest rate banks charge their most credit worthy borrowers.
Geary wanted to freeze the rate at 9%, Downard said, whereas other members of the board wanted to continue to follow the trend of major financial institutions. Warner Center now charges a prime rate of 8 1/2%, in line with the market rate.
The bank also disclosed that John M. Lyons, 50, senior vice president and senior loan officer, resigned last week. Downard said Lyons' departure also stemmed from philosophic differences. He was replaced by Gary L. Nudell, 43, who was a vice president for commercial loans.
Downard, 39, got started in banking in 1965 as a management trainee at the Provident Bank in Cincinnati. In 1974, he moved to Southern California and became assistant vice president of Home Bank in Signal Hill. Later, he managed the bank's Brea office.
Downard moved to Wells Fargo in 1976, and was recruited by Geary in 1981 to join the West Coast Bank in Encino. At the time, Geary was senior loan officer with West Coast. Downard opened the bank's Beverly Hills office as a regional vice president.
In September, 1982, Downard joined Warner Center Bank as director of marketing and vice president for commercial loans, the position he has held until becoming president this week.
Geary, 47, was Union Bank's regional manager in North Hollywood before becoming senior loan officer for West Coast Bank in 1979. In early 1982, Geary left West Coast, which was closed by regulators in April, 1984, to join Warner Center.
Warner Center Bank was founded in 1981. The bank earned $89,000, or 13 cents a share, during the first quarter, down 45% from the same period a year earlier. Assets were up 12%, to $48.3 million, on March 31. Net worth was up 9%, to nearly $4.5 million.
For 1985, the bank earned $538,558, or 74 cents a share, down 2% from the previous year. Assets were up 3%, to $49.3 million, on Dec. 31. The bank's net worth increased nearly 12%, to $4.4 million.