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Janice Kassebaum Patterson

Bank veteran keeps focus on the client

Janice Kassebaum Patterson got her first taste of the banking business at the age of 16.

"I babysat the children of a bank president, and wound up working at his bank part time during high school," she said. The job provided good pay and flexibility, so she continued working at banks throughout her college and high school years.

All those years in the industry have paid off; she is now president and chief marketing officer of San Diego Private Bank, a small financial institution that primarily serves entrepreneurs and their business and family interests. In her role there, she wears multiple hats -- throughout the course of a typical day, she plays an administrative role, is involved in community outreach and has regular one-on-one client contact.

An integral part of the executive team that founded the bank in August 2006, she has seen it make "remarkable progress toward its goals in just a year." This is commendable, she said, "given today's unpredictable marketplace."

Since the bank was formed, it has expanded from eight to 13 employees, and continues to add new staff. Initially capitalized with $12.4 million from shareholders, its overall assets have mushroomed to $60 million, with deposits at $50 million.

"We've really experienced success in the community since our inception," she said, attributing the bank's growth to a keen focus on cultivating client relationships and customer service. "We're proving a good solution for our community and introducing people to options -- such as professional introductions and wealth management -- customized to their specific needs," she said. "When it comes to money, there are no black and white answers."

Their success, she says, is "also indicative of what's happening in the marketplace. People are not certain where to invest." Real estate is uncertain and economic conditions are not stellar, and "we offer a safe and secure alternative."

Despite its phenomenal success, San Diego Private Bank can only grow so much. "We are all about customer service, so our client base is limited," she explained.

During her 30-year banking career, Patterson has climbed her way up the ranks and held the gamut of positions -- from commercial lending to new accounts, from bank manager to senior executive -- working at institutions including Security Pacific Bank, San Diego Trust & Savings, Union Bank and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC).

Prior to helping form San Diego Private Bank in 2006, she was executive vice president of La Jolla Legacy Bank for four years.

A native of Los Angeles, she is a graduate of San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in business management and Spanish, and also received her degree in retail banking from the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is a graduate of the LEAD San Diego program.

In addition, she is actively involved in the community and serves on the board of directors for the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park and the Corporate Directors Forum, which focuses on education and training for directors of public, private and nonprofit companies.

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