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November 27, 1991|James S. Granelli / Times staff writer

The Latest Lowdown: Such optimism could bolster West Coast Bancorp.

The stock price for the bank holding company in Orange has been dragging bottom for the last few weeks, hitting 75 cents a share, another 52-week low.

William J. Mylymok, West Coast's president, said he doesn't know what caused the drop, but he acknowledges that the recent third-quarter loss of $1.1 million didn't help.

The company, whose holdings include Sunwest Bank in Tustin and Heritage Thrift & Loan in Brea, also has felt the strong arm of federal regulators. Its subsidiaries need federal approval to pay dividends, and only Sunwest received it.

"We're a commercial bank, so we deal with businesses," Mylymok said. "For the last year and a half it just hasn't been pretty. We think we've stabilized, but you never know."

The principal owners of West Coast also are the major owners of Centennial Group, the troubled real estate investment company that recently hired bankruptcy lawyers to help find a solution to its woes. West Coast, in fact, was called Centennial Beneficial Corp. but changed its name to avoid any link to the negative publicity surrounding Centennial Group.

There are no financial links between the two companies, Mylymok said.

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