Orange County Business Journal

Carpenter & Co. Economist to Plaza Bank Board

Jane Yu Thursday, August 16, 2012

Grace Wickersham of Irvine-based advisory firm Carpenter & Co. has joined the board of directors of Plaza Bank.

The Irvine-based community bank, with $387 million in assets, is one of the five owned by Carpenter Community Bancfund, the private-equity segment of Carpenter & Co.

The fund has a status of a bank holding company, which allows it to acquire significant stakes in more than one bank.

Its other holdings are Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bank, El Segundo-based Bank of Manhattan, Bridge Bank in San Jose and Mission Community Bank in San Luis Obispo.

Wickersham is a senior vice president and chief economist for Carpenter & Co., which she joined in 1991.

She has served as project manager on several of the company’s asset management contracts with the Resolution Trust Corp. during the savings-and-loans crisis of the late 1980s.

She was the chief economist and director of corporate planning for Glendale Federal Bank prior to joining Carpenter & Co. Glendale Federal at the time was the state’s fifth-largest savings and loans institution with $8 billion in assets.

She also has served on the Economic Advisory Committee to California’s Department of Finance, as well as on the board of the National Association of Business Economics.

She also has consulted for El Segundo-based nonprofit Aerospace Corp., a non-profit research organization for the U.S. Air Force.

Wickersham has a master’s degree in economics from the University of Southern California. She’s a trustee of Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, where she took an undergraduate degree.

Plaza Bank has grown its assets 20% over the past year. It recently posted second-quarter earnings of $950,000, up nearly 7% from a year earlier.