YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


City National Seeks Out Sage Advice on Doing Business Here


As bank customers have discovered in recent years, mergers between financial institutions take a little getting used to. But it's not just an awkward period for the customers--the bankers also need time to adjust.

Officials of Los Angeles-based City National Bank, which took over Ventura County National Bank this year, are attempting to ease their transition period with the help of an advisory board made up of longtime Ventura County business leaders.

Headed by former VCNB president and chief executive Richard Cupp, the panel is designed to help acquaint bank officials with Ventura County's economy and the banking needs of the community.

"We think this is a terrific method for City National Bank, a new entrant into Ventura County, to maintain and sustain the close knowledge of the market that Ventura County National Bank enjoyed," said Cupp. "I think it's just a good business decision and shows the bank is interested and enthusiastic about maintaining local support."

Cupp is joined on the panel by Mission Produce President Steve Barnard; Carolyn Leavens, a principal with Leavens Ranches; Ralph Bennett, vice president of the Andreini & Co. insurance brokerage firm; Joseph Brown of Brown Commercial Property Management; Vic Carlson, a principal with the R.C. Dudeck & Co. electronics distributorship; accountant James Davis of American Express Financial Advisors; Dave Hight, a principal in HMH Construction Co.; and Alfredo Plascencia, owner of Radio Lazer, KXLM-FM (102.9).

Former Ventura County National Bank chairman James Hussey, owner of Hussey Insurance of San Pedro, is the only board member from outside Ventura County.

Cupp said City National Bank, the largest independent bank in Southern California with 23 branches, established similar advisory boards when the institution moved into San Diego and Riverside in past years. Such a panel of consultants seems particularly valuable in Ventura County, he said.

"I think in the case of the individuals on the board, they can all bring to the table a knowledge of their own businesses and the industries they operate in--that's the most important thing," Cupp said. "Clearly, agriculture and agribusiness is an important area, and real estate and real estate development."

Cupp said the varying backgrounds of the board members should provide City National Bank officials with a good range of perspectives.

In the case of Brown, of Brown Commercial Property Management, it will be both a business and banking perspective. Brown was a founding director of Thousand Oaks-based First State Bank of the Oaks, which in 1994 was purchased by First Interstate Bank.

"I recognize the value of having local people who have a background of banking and also know the community," Brown said. "Having an advisory board in Ventura County gives them the eyes and ears they wouldn't otherwise have."

Los Angeles Times Articles