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Michael Perry

Founder, President and CEO, San Diego Trust Bank

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When Larry Willette agreed to meet with Mike Perry in April of 2002 to discuss the idea of forming a new bank, he did so mainly out of professional courtesy.

Willette had retired as president of the much-heralded Peninsula Bank of San Diego after a distinguished 25 years with that institution. He had received numerous offers to join other groups, but declined them all. Willette spent a considerable amount of time with Perry over the next year and found himself quite intrigued by the former Scripps Bank executive.

Michael Perry

"Mike had put together a very exciting strategic plan, assembled a top-notch team, and was totally committed to making San Diego Trust Bank a reality," Willette said. "His passion and enthusiasm for this venture could not be ignored."

When San Diego Trust Bank opened on Oct. 30, 2003, Willette was chairman of the board and Perry was president and chief executive officer.

Perry's charisma and energy was a magnet for investors and employees alike. The Valhalla High School valedictorian and San Diego State University graduate dedicated months to assembling what many consider to be one of the strongest teams ever put together under one roof. Many of San Diego's finest bankers, past and present, joined him in his quest for excellence.

"Our goal was simple: create the finest bank this town has ever seen," Perry explained. "To be the best, you need to hire the best -- it's that simple."

Of all the banks with local ties, no institution draws from local banking history quite like San Diego Trust. The board and staff combined have more than 350 years of experience in banking San Diegans, significantly more than any other bank in town.

"There's no substitute for experience," Perry said. "This team truly understands the San Diego market and its specific needs."

The San Diego native and former semi-professional soccer player credits his years of experience on the athletic field for his never-ending drive to succeed.

"You'll never win by just showing up," Perry said. "We operate in an extremely competitive industry with some very well-run banks, so we have to be on top of our game every day to succeed."

"Mike is a true leader in every sense of the word and brings a winning attitude to the organization," said Toby Reschan, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of the bank. Reschan was the chief administrative officer of Peninsula Bank of San Diego and was one of the first to sign on with Perry more than three years ago.

The bank has already been recognized by industry associations for its unprecedented performance, but Perry is quick to downplay such kudos.

"It's not about collecting awards and plaques to hang on the wall," Perry said. "We're here to fulfill our promise to our shareholders, our staff and the community -- nothing less will do."

Submitted by San Diego Trust Bank

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