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Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

OC Insider: Local Banking

Of the 47 banks on this year’s list of largest commercial banks operating in OC, 28 saw their local deposits decline year-over-year, as investors placed their funds elsewhere amid a higher interest rate environment.

In total, the 47 banks on the list reported a collective 0.6% decline to $174.7 billion in OC deposits for the year ended June 30, 2023; see Peter J. Brennan’s story on page 28 for more.

One notable outlier on the list was Sunwest Bank, founded in 1969 in Tustin.
Sunwest, now with its HQ in Utah but still with substantial operations in Irvine, saw OC deposits grow 18% year-over-year to $1.9 billion. It ranks No. 15 on our latest list.

The boost adds another achievement to the résumé of Sunwest Chairman and CEO Eric Hovde, a “classic entrepreneur” who “has made a career out of rolling up his sleeves, getting businesses back on the right track, and building for the future.”

That description’s taken from Hovde’s new campaign website; last week he formally launched a bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate, representing Wisconsin.

The campaign site for the Republican—born and raised in Madison where he still has a home, a grad of University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Green Bay Packers fan—touts his success “buying troubled community banks and turning them around,” as well as his family’s extensive philanthropic efforts.

What it doesn’t highlight are his ties to California, ties that his opponents were quick to point out.

Opposition reports last week noted Hovde maintains a high-end residence in Emerald Bay, and “spends lots of time enjoying his luxurious life in Southern California.”

Orange County Soccer Club recently announced a new bank partner as it nears the start of its 2024 season, PNC Bank.

OCSC also has a much larger ownership base as it gears up for the new campaign in the United Soccer League. It recently concluded a first-of-its-kind fundraising effort that gave fans the chance to become stakeholders in the team.

OCSC said that nearly 1,500 fans invested close to $600,000 in the club through the crowdfunding effort, roughly $400 per person.

Notables pitching in were NFL QB and Newport Beach local Matt Barkley of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and John Devenanzio, aka Johnny Bananas, an MTV reality competition star who lives in the area.

OCSC’s first match of the season is March 9 in Sacramento, and its first home match is March 23.

Fundraising might still be in the cards for suitors of Irvine’s Vizio (NYSE: VZIO), despite a Feb. 19 announcement confirming that it had struck a deal to sell itself to Walmart (NYSE: WMT) for $2.3B.

“Walmart’s approach is aligned with Vizio’s mission and vision, and our technology will help bring a scaled, connected TV advertising platform to Walmart Connect,” Vizio CEO William Wang said in a statement.

Regulatory filings note that the TV maker and provider of internet advertisement services still has until April 4 to seek out a superior bid to what Walmart is offering.

Maybe competitor Roku (Nasdaq: ROKU) should consider a bid? The San Jose-based company, which relies heavily on Walmart for in-store sales, has seen its shares fall nearly 30% since news of a potential Walmart-Vizio deal emerged. It’s now worth about $9B.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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