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Bank not content to rest on a year of success

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With its inaugural year coming to an end, it would be understandable if executives at Coronado First Bank leaned back to bask in the glory of a successful rookie season.

Yet Coronado First's leadership, all of whom are well-known, seasoned local bankers, realize that there's little time to rest on past successes in San Diego County's ultra-competitive banking industry -- no matter how rosy the financials might be.

The Island's only locally owned bank is already looking ahead to 2007 as its officers prepare to close the books on its debut year. Meeting the challenges of a new year should be as exciting as navigating the bank's first year, said Coronado First Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce A. Ives.

"It will be one year as of Oct. 3," said Ives, 41. "I'm pleased with how far we've come in just one year. We've laid a solid foundation that we will leverage going forward."

Continuing an aggressive growth pattern set down in its first year is among the bank's primary goals, Ives said.

"Our objective is to continue growing at a 30 percent to 40 percent clip," said Ives, who has spent more than a decade in the local banking industry-most recently at Cuyamaca Bank, and before that at Scripps Bank. "Nice growth numbers are 20 percent to 30 percent. But our goal, ultimately, which is stated in our prospectus, is to be at $100 million in three years of our opening."

Ives is confident about his target, yet he is realistic about the fact that achieving this objective will create a significant challenge that his team of experienced bankers will not shy from, but embrace.

"The banking environment in San Diego is extremely competitive," he said. "Deposits are harder to come by. Yet, we have a solid team in place that will work hard to hit our goals."

Nonetheless, the balance sheet looks good, Ives said.

"Our loan volume is strong," said Ives, a native San Diegan. "We're bringing in deposits. A level balance sheet is 80 percent to 85 percent loan-to-deposit ratio.

"Right now, we are at 83 percent, which is right where we need to be. As we grow our deposit base, we will allocate more loans. As of June 20, 2006 we've booked $10.5 million in loan outstandings and have $21 million in commitments."

Coronado First will also continue its pledge to serve the community, Ives said.

"We have become a key player in many activities in Coronado," said Ives, a director of the Coronado Hospital Foundation board. "Our directors are involved in numerous organizations and activities. The bank recently launched Coronado First Cares. People who open an account with $1,000 or more can direct a $100 donation by the bank to any non profit 501(c)(3) of their choice."

As Coronado First heads into its sophomore season, Ives expects residents to grow more comfortable with the bank.

"A driving factor in 2007 is serving our customers," Ives said. "People here are looking local, and understandably, there's still some skepticism. Going into our second and third years, we want to build our comfort level and trust. We're not going to flip it. We're here for the long haul."

To learn more about Coronado First Bank call (619) 437-1000 or visit www.coronadofirst.com.

Submitted by Renee Hinton for Coronado First Bank

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