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OC Sees Shake-Up Among Top Banking Executives

Changes Made at US Bank First Foundation, Nano Banc

Acquisitions, regulatory demands and performance questions caused quite the shake-up among the top executives at banks operating in Orange County.

About a fifth of the 48 banks with OC operations on the Business Journal’s annual list (see page 28) reported new executives leading their businesses in Orange County.

The most significant change occurred at No. 6 Union Bank, which was acquired Dec. 1 by No. 10 U.S. Bank.

“We are actively in the process of putting the two units together across all our lines of business,” said Brian Mulvaney, who was Union Bank’s market president for commercial banking in the Pacific Northwest and is now regional executive for California commercial banking at U.S. Bank.

“I’m super busy. It’s fun. We’re putting all the pieces together. It’s been a wild 60 days since we put the deal together.”

The combined bank will be the fourth largest in commercial banking in California, said Mulvaney, who is based in Newport Beach. Joseph Hensley, who represented U.S. Bank for many years in Orange County, continues as market president.

Union Bank customers will transition on Memorial Day weekend to U.S. Bank, Mulvaney said.

“We’re really excited about being able to deliver a lot of the U.S. Bank payment services to our existing union bank clients and prospects,” Mulvaney said.

Turnovers

Among other executive changes in the past year:

• No. 7 First Foundation Inc. had several recent management changes including the departures of President David DePillo, Chief Operating Officer Lindsay Lawrence and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Thompson (see story, page 1).

• At No. 30 Nano Banc of Irvine, R. Scott Racusin became its new chief executive, replacing Mark Troncale who was president.

The online bank, which began in 2018, came under criticism for growing too fast and regulators forced executive changes at the bank.

Citibank was unable to provide the name of its top executive by press time. Prior Market Director Patrick Evans left that post in 2021.

BMO spent $16.3 billion to acquire Bank of the West, whose local top official for many years was Dan Wilson, who joined the bank in 1976. U.S. regulators in January approved the acquisition by BMO, whose top local official is Michael Bennett, managing director of California Commercial Banking. Bennett worked for 17 years at Wells Fargo, including a stint as a market executive in Orange County.

• At No. 16 City National Bank, Jason Gwin has taken over the top local slot from John Wheeling, who has retired.

  • James Ligman took over top spot at No. 23 First Citizens Bank, replacing Mark Mitchell.

Timothy B. Chelf is now the top representative at No. 26 First Bank, replacing Bruce Young, who is now an executive director at No. 3 JPMorgan.

• No. 45 Commonwealth Business Bank named James Hong as its top OC banker, replacing Joanne Kim, who continues as CEO of the Los Angeles-based bank.

Correction: This article has been corrected to show First Bank’s top local representative is Timothy B. Chelf.

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Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.
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